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Archive for the ‘Biking’ Category

To make up for my absence on this computer diary of life, let’s play a game called: What’s Fit Fun Mom Been Up To? Has she:

(A) Been kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, trail running, doing yoga, standup paddle boarding, biking, and running,

(B) Narrowly avoided being bitten by a dog on a bike ride (I mean, Fit Fun Mom on a bike ride, not the dog on a bike ride — now that would really be something to write about),

(C) gotten lost on a 70-mile bike ride (gee, maybe the title of this post is a hint?),

(D) panicked about the fact that the Santa Rosa Marathon is less than seven weeks away, or

(E) all of the above.

If you picked E, you are a winner!

While I would eventually like to talk about A, B, and D, let’s start with C because dude, 70 miles on the bike! A new personal distance record! And it was awesome. By which I mean that at mile 20 all the Legos were dancing in my head and singing “Everything is awesome!” and I worried that by mile 60 I would be dragging. But at mile 40 the Legos were still dancing and singing, and at mile 60 they were still dancing and singing. Even when I realized that yep, I had indeed missed the turnoff for the correct trail and there was no way I was going to make it home in a total of 63 miles as planned, and I needed to call my husband to tell him I’d be a little longer, and could he maybe finish making the kids breakfast and come pick me up somewhere between where I was and where I wanted to be (our house), depending on how far I made it in the next half hour? K thanks bye.

I had carefully plotted out a 63-mile loop from my house to the Santa Ana River Trail, along the Huntington Beach Path and Pacific Coast Highway to Seal Beach, up the San Gabriel River Trail to the Coyote Creek Trail and back to my house.

My bike, Bullet, next to the Santa Ana Water Bottle Filling Station. How cool is that?

My bike, Bullet, next to the Santa Ana Water Bottle Filling Station. How cool is that?

I had mainly been concerned about riding on the roads, because I simply do not trust cars not to squish me, so I’d paid particular attention to how to get to the dedicated bike paths on side roads or roads with bike lanes. That meant I didn’t pay much attention to how the Coyote Creek Trail breaks off from the San Gabriel River Trail almost immediately after the trailhead in Seal Beach, so the singing Legos and I happily followed the San Gabriel River Trail for miles and miles, wondering where the turnoff would show up and suspecting I’d missed it but who cares because Everything Is Awesome! The funny thing is that my husband and I had ridden the Coyote Creek Trail to the San Gabriel River Trail and back before, just to go to Seal Beach for Thai food (isn’t that why everyone bikes 35 miles?) So I thought I knew where I was going. Except the path was in pretty poor condition when we rode it, and it passed through some ugly industrial areas, and yet on this ride the path was newly paved and mainly followed a pretty garden nursery, the San Gabriel River, and horse properties. I kept celebrating how they’d repaved the path and done such a good job beautifying the trail, and I kept waiting for the industrial section to appear. But of course that was never going to happen because the “newly paved trail” was actually a section of the San Gabriel River Trail I’d never ridden before.

Eventually, about 18-19 miles up the San Gabriel River Trail, after I was pretty darn sure I wasn’t going the right way because I should have reached the other trail by then, and I kept getting closer and closer to the mountains and knew I’d have to turn right sometime, I came to a trail exit on a road I recognized and I knew how to ride the roads until I got to the Whittier Greenway Trail and get home. Mike ended up meeting me at mile 70.09 (4 hours and 21 minutes into the ride) and driving me the remaining three miles home. At that point you might think, “What’s another three miles?” but when I was only supposed to ride 60 for my plan, and 63 was pushing it, and I’d actually ridden 70, it was, I think, smart to stop there and not ride another mile or three.

And that’s how I inadvertently rode 70 miles last Sunday. I texted my friend Seth who has ridden a century (a 100-mile bike ride) before and he confirmed that a 70-miler is indeed enough to train and taper for a century. It’s one of my goals to complete a century someday, and there are two Bike MS century events in Southern California coming up in October. I’m tempted!

Are you an avid bike rider? I ride two to three times a week, either in spin class or on the roads/trails. Each ride is at least 20 miles.

Do you ride as part of your running training? Yes, for a long time I have followed training plans from Run Less, Run Faster or Smart Marathon Training, both of which call for three runs plus at least two cross-training workouts (biking and/or swimming).

Have you ever ridden a century? Nope, but Everything Is Awesome and I totally believe I could do it.

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With ten more weeks to go until the Santa Rosa Marathon, my training plan has kicked into high gear. This past week, I laid down my highest training volume ever with 13 hours of running, spinning, and strength workouts, capped with this ride to the beach and back yesterday:

That's a personal distance record on the bike!

That’s a personal distance record on the bike!

My legs felt great after the ride but my everything else hurt! Today my shoulders and neck remind me that they held a helmet up yesterday for four hours, but no other body parts register any complaints. I am still grateful though that the plan calls for just 30 minutes of core work today.

Generally with marathon training I put in about eight hours of exercise a week, so this plan is taking me into new territory. The plan actually called for about 10 hours of exercise, but I had to bump the long run to Monday instead of Sunday and that put the total for the week at 13 hours. I’m on high alert for overtraining and/or injuries but so far so good. Putting a lot of miles on the bike allows me to increase the training time without increasing the strain on my legs.

Bike: 105 miles (25 miles on Tuesday, 20 miles on Thursday, 60 miles on Sunday)
Run: 37.75 miles (long run of 18 miles that got pushed from a week ago Sunday to Monday, plus the killer 12.25 mile ladder workout on Wednesday, plus 7.5 “easy” miles on Friday)
Strength: 30 minutes (I’ve been doing at least two strength workouts per week for an hour total but this week I traded one of the strength workout days for the long run)

Saturday was a “rest” day if you call five hours of housecleaning “rest.” I celebrated the accomplishments of the day by harvesting the apples from our trees:

These are the low-chill varieties of apples called Anna and Dorsett Golden.

These are the low-chill varieties of apples called Anna and Dorsett Golden.

Yes you can grow apples in Southern California! The Annas grew to a nice size this year and the Dorsett Goldens are tiny but tasty.

How many hours of exercise do you generally get in a week?

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Personally I like Pi Day, March 14 (3.14, get it?):

Chocolate meringue pie that I baked for the 6th graders to celebrate Pi Day

Chocolate meringue pie that I baked for the 6th graders to celebrate Pi Day

But National Running Day is also a day I can get behind. I celebrated it today with Rice Krispies Treats. No, I’m only kidding, I celebrated it with a whopper of a speed workout (and then I ate some Rice Krispies Treats).

I budgeted an hour for my run this morning, not realizing that this was the King of All Speed Workouts:

1 mile warmup

(400m, 800m, 1,200m, 800m, 400m) times 3,
at 10K pace (7:41, 7.8 mph)

rest interval of 400m jog in between each repeat

1 mile cooldown

= 12.25 miles in 1:55:45.

So, I celebrated National Running Day twice, running the first 6.25 miles in the hour I budgeted before my youngest daughter’s swim lessons, and running the last 6 miles after we got home from getting frozen yogurt. (Yes, fine, I had frozen yogurt and Rice Krispies Treats today, but only because the girls got Yogurtland coupons from the summer reading program at the library and this is the Summer of Yes, as in “Can we get frozen yogurt at Frozen Yogurtland?” (that’s what my 5-year-old calls it). Answer, “Yes.” (Within reason of course. “Can we watch eleventy billion hours of television?” Answer, “No.”)

What’s up with the 12.25-mile speed workout? That’s a long run by most people’s standards. But I’m following the Smart Marathon Training intermediate marathon training plan, and I think it called for the King of All Speed Workouts because this week’s “long run” is replaced with a “long bike” of 60 miles. That will be a new personal distance record for me on the bike, by the way. Just a few weeks ago I did 50 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes. I confess that during that time there was never a moment that I said, “Gee, I really wish I were running 20 miles instead of biking today.”

If I prefer biking to running, then why do I run?

National Running Day I Run

Did you celebrate National Running Day? Why do you run?

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Well hello! I’ve been so busy with my latest project — Get All the Laundry Washed AND Put Away at the Same Time — that I’ve got a lot to catch up on around here.

The year 2013 ended in a whimper with a serious case of the flu that wiped out most of my family for over a week. There’s nothing like wrapping Christmas presents on Christmas Eve when both my husband and I had a fever of 102. The one kid who didn’t get sick declared the next day “the best Christmas ever” in spite of the fact that we had frozen burritos for Christmas dinner (well, those of us who felt like eating, anyway). Good times.

It took me a while to crawl back to my prior level of fitness. After conquering three full marathons in one year (Santa Barbara, Mountains 2 Beach, and Long Beach) I tried to be a good girl and cut back on working out in an “off-season.” Basically that meant I went from working out seven hours per week to four, and cut back my long runs from a max of 20 to 6 miles. Unfortunately, then I got hit with a cold and then the flu and I stopped working out altogether for that week of the flu. Not only did I feel miserable physically, I felt miserable mentally. I seriously look at working out as a (near) daily pill for mental health. So, I slowly scraped my way back to running and biking, in spite of the fact that my legs felt anything but rested and fresh and my lungs screamed in protest.

Thankfully, now I’m back on track and even managed a PR of 24:09 in the 5K at the iTry 5K trail race in February, where I came in first of eight in my age group.

My girls surprised me with a cake to celebrate my 5K race. It says "Go M!" for Go Mama!"

My girls surprised me with a cake to celebrate my 5K race. It says “Go M!” for Go Mama!”

Then I raced the Brea 8K — the only race I’ve ever done three times — and came in 6th of 174 in my age group with a time of 38:46 (a 7:47 pace for nearly 5 miles). In 2012 I came in 5th of 180 but that’s okay because the person who knocked me out of 5th place is Boston Bound Brunette (who, by the way, just rocked the LA Marathon in spite of the heat on race day).

The year 2013 turned out to be a great year. I cut 10 minutes off my full marathon time to 3:52:42, putting me within seven and change of a Boston Qualifying time (3:45).

My total mileage breakdown for the year?

Swim: 13.67 miles.

Bike: 829.54 miles.

Run: 1132.64 miles.

Strength training and other workouts (DVDs, skiing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding): 49 hours.

Up next?

I run my first one-mile race next weekend at the Encinitas Mile. The next weekend I race the La Habra 10K (recap from the first time I did that race). On May 3 I’ll do the iCureMelanoma 5K in Fullerton for fun and fundraising (see my team’s page to sign up to join our team or make a tax deductible donation toward melanoma research!) At the end of May I’ll do a hilly but beautiful half marathon in Santa Ynez, the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half. At the end of August I’ve got full marathon #4: the Santa Rosa Marathon. After watching people struggle in the heat for the LA Marathon last week, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Santa Rosa in summer isn’t scorching hot! Finally, I’ll take on my first Ragnar Relay from San Francisco to Napa Valley with the Ragnaritas!

Any tips for me on racing the mile? My strength is long distance and if I left my body to its own devices it would settle in at marathon goal pace of 8:35. Based on recent speed workouts I think I can do the mile in under 7:00 but I’m really nervous. The course is a half mile out, half mile back and I have no idea how to keep myself from going out too fast and not blowing up in the first quarter mile. It will be a learning experience for sure!

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When last I wrote, I had just finished my second full marathon, the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, in 3:57:29 (marathon recap Part I and Part II), and signed up for my third full marathon in Long Beach this coming October.

Since then, while I haven’t been blogging, I have been swimming, biking and running and I’ve got the miles to prove it!

May, June and July Miles

Swim: 2.75, 4 and 2 miles for a total of 3.86 hours in 10 workouts

Bike: 54.47, 97.97 and 111.17 miles in 17.87 hours in 20 workouts

Run: 110.32, 73.16, 110.4 miles (interesting to me that the mileage went down in June as I recovered from the May marathon, then picked right back up in July as I started training for the next marathon) for a total of 49.93 hours in 36 workouts

Strength training: 1.65 hours, 2.9 hours, 2 hours in a total of 24 workouts (an average of 2 per week).

Add in a few other amazing workouts hiking, kayaking, and even stand-up paddleboarding (LOVE IT)!

With the kids out of school for the summer I logged a lot of miles at the gym while the kids stayed in the gym day care. That explains the bump up in the bike mileage as I cranked out mile after mile on the gym stationary bike while I listened to audiobooks and/or played backgammon on the bike computer.

I also had the opportunity to travel all over the country this summer and I took full advantage of it to run in Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco, and the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.

Random Summer Photo

This view was my reward for running 20 miles along the trail by Crystal Springs Reservoir in the northern Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County, California

This view was my reward for running 20 miles along the trail by Crystal Springs Reservoir in the northern Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County, California

Fall Goals

Right now I’m in my ninth week of marathon training for Long Beach. Seven and a half more weeks to go until the marathon on October 13th! Training is going exceptionally well. Yesterday I cranked out two 7:11 miles in my speed workout followed by 2 800m repeats at 8.6 miles per hour. My goals for the marathon are simply to improve my fueling strategy and beat my PR of 3:57:29.

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Calling all cyclists of all levels to check out a great new book that comes out today: Bicycling Magazine’s 1,100 Best All-Time Tips: Top Riders Share Their Secrets for Maximizing Performance, Safety, and Fun. For the list price of $12.99, you get 224 pages packed with advice on a wide range of subjects: bike set-up, maintenance and repair, cycling safety, racing, nutrition, riding positions, training techniques and skill building. The book is bound to please every kind of cyclist, from mountain biker to road racer to distance rider.

I learned a lot from the book and I know it’s a resource I will consult again and again as I grow my skills in cycling. Right now I’d say I’m a beginning intermediate rider (as in, I am a newly intermediate level rider who can stand to learn a few things). I road a mountain bike for several years on the trails in Michigan and got to the point where I could handle the bike pretty well. Now I mainly ride my road bike to train for triathlons — two sprints and two Olympic distance races so far where I averaged up to 19.6 mph on the bike — and to cross-train during marathon training. I especially appreciated the tips on road safety, riding etiquette for group rides, and training techniques. I hope to put to good use many of the tips on maintaining and repairing a bike as well.

Disclosure: Same old same old. I received an advance digital copy of this book for review. I did not receive other compensation. Will someone please use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to buy me a print copy of this book? Thanks.

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A new month begins and that means it’s time to check in with last month’s goals:

Resist racing the La Habra 10K. I resisted and I’m glad I did. I ended up having a cold and ran a lackluster, slow 13 miles for training that day. It’s better for me to focus on my training plan and not get distracted by racing. Racing is fun but it comes with some stress, even if it is good stress.

Heal my darn adductor magnus/groin strain once and for all. Yes! The right-butt-crease-groin-strain is gone after about four months of babying it with massage and hot baths and also strengthening the muscles with weight training. Now I’ve got some nagging hip flexor / inner groin issue going on with the left leg but the nice thing about that little nuisance is that it feels better the longer I run! I don’t feel it during a run and I feel better after a long run, not worse. It’s aggravated by speed workouts though, so I’ve got to be careful during those.

Do two 20-mile long runs, two 18-milers, and one 13-miler. No (April) foolin’ — I did complete all five of the long runs on the calendar for March. I couldn’t do them all at the prescribed pace, but gosh darn it I put in all those miles and didn’t bonk.

March Miles

Swim: 0 miles. I blame the limited open swim hours at the gym. Since I’m not currently training for a triathlon, I’m not willing to go at the crack of dawn or after 8 p.m. in the evening.

Bike: 97.94 miles in 5.57 hours in 7 workouts.

Run: 140.25 miles in 23.53 hours in 14 workouts. *Head slap.* Duh. This is why I’m feeling a little tired and creaky in my joints. That 140.25 miles is about 30 miles more than I’ve ever run in a single month. I’ve only ever run more than 100 miles in a month three times, counting this March. And how incredible that out of the 31 days in March, I spent nearly ONE WHOLE DAY, A WHOLE 24 HOURS running. My training plan is no joke. If I can get through the remaining eight weeks before the marathon, I’ll be in serious shape to run 26.2 miles on race day.

Strength training: 3.17 hours in 10 workouts. I enjoy doing sit-ups, push-ups, and weight machines that work the adductor, abductor and biceps muscles. I think the time I’ve spent on strength training over the past couple of months has made a huge difference in how I feel and it has definitely changed my body shape (even though my weight remains the same).

Random Photo for March

Since my husband’s iPhone is holding my Easter egg dyeing photos hostage, I’m going to share a new billboard campaign I absolutely love:

Metro is running a bicycle traffic safety campaign in anticipation of Bike to Work Week May 13-17, 2013. Under California state law, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as car drivers, and that means that they may use any lane and might need use of the full lane to navigate the road conditions safely. Share the road everyone!

Goals for April

Book the hotel for race weekend. Why have I not done this before? Did I have some mental block? Did I not think I’d remain healthy and ready to race? Or do I just hate calling people on the telephone to try to negotiate a discount rate (I do not wish to stay in the host hotel)? The race is Memorial Day weekend. I’ve got to get on it. Put it another way. This is April. The race is NEXT MONTH. It’s getting real, people.

Focus on meal planning. I eat relatively well but could stand to focus more on nutrition. Turning the month’s focus to planning meals will help me improve my diet and make full use of the CSA boxes of farm produce I get each week.

Run two 20-milers and two 15-milers. I just need to keep putting the miles in even if I cannot hit the pace target. Perhaps my pace will improve as I recover from last month and completely get over the cold I had.

What are your goals for April? Do you have any races on the calendar? No races for me this month. My eye is on the big race on May 26th.

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