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Posts Tagged ‘biking’

For my fifth (?!) round of full marathon training I’ve kicked it up a notch and taken on the competitive marathon training plan from Smart Marathon Training. To be honest, it’s kicking my behind. It didn’t help that my youngest daughter got sick, as in so sick that she needed my help a few times a night to steam her up in the bathroom so that she could breathe and recover from her croup-like cough and chest congestion. Then, of course, in my sleep-deprived state, I came down with the cold/cough too, albeit in a much milder form. So the last few weeks have been a muddle of trying to juggle sick kids, sick me, and the rainy (?!) weather here in Southern California. Today the training plan called for 80 miles on the bike. I mapped out a loop from my house that stayed off the roads as much as possible, taking the Santa Ana River Trail to the Huntington Beach Path to the San Gabriel River Trail and back on the Whittier Greenway. It came out to 73.3 miles and I called it good.

The 73.3-mile bike loop I mapped out on MapMyRun.

The 73.3-mile bike loop I mapped out on MapMyRun.

I left at 7 a.m. just after the sun rose and I completed the first half in just over two hours. The second half proved much more challenging. I went from a relatively easy 3:20 pace to a tough 4:00-4:20 pace as I went back uphill (slightly) into the wind. My legs and lungs were fine but I do most of my biking on the spin bike so I wasn’t used to holding my head up with my helmet on, and now my neck and back are really sore!

It proved to be an absolutely gorgeous day out though and I have no complaints. I’m so lucky to be able to get out on the bike in mid-December, and to have family members that support me on a bike ride that took 5 hours and 24 minutes (including all the stops at stop lights and for water refills etc.) On my ride I saw an incredibly wide range of things:

– The Christmas tree farm where we cut down our tree each year.

– A strawberry field.

– Angel Stadium.

– The Pacific Ocean, and lots and lots of surfers!

– Oil drilling platforms and massive cargo ships from China. šŸ˜¦

– Catalina Island. šŸ™‚

– From the beach I had the best view of the snow-capped mountains in the east behind me.

– The naval ammo base in Seal Beach.

– Pelicans skimming across the top of the water over the San Gabriel River as they hunted for fish.

– It was 47 degrees F when I started my ride at 7 a.m. and the best chalk sign I saw on the beach path was “The cold never bothered me anyway!” No matter that I couldn’t feel my toes for about 2/3 of the ride. Note to self: wear wool socks and consider investing in bike shoe booties!

When I got home I immediately refueled with some leftover rouladen baked by my wonderful mom who was in town visiting from Idaho. My favorite meal and the perfect mix of protein and carbs when paired with some leftover mashed potatoes! I took an ice bath (much as I didn’t want to) and propped my legs up while wearing some compression socks. I’m not taking any chances here!

What did you do on your workout(s) this weekend? What’s the longest swim/bike/run/walk you’ve ever done?

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Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it. I started my morning off the way I like to start most mornings — with a workout! Thursday is “ride 25 miles + strength train” and I usually hit the gym to ride on the spin bike. Of course, today the gym was closed and that meant I needed to put on my big girl panties (some people call them bike shorts) and get back on Bullet, my silver road bike. I haven’t been out on the roads in a long time, and I literally had to learn how to ride a bike again. Just the shifting part. I couldn’t remember which side shifted up with the big handle and which side shifted down. It’s crazy because I actually love riding my bike and if I had all the free time in the world I would probably choose riding over running for my main workouts. But I don’t like to ride on the roads much (because I do not like for cars to squish me, go figure), and that means driving to a trail. Today I decided to risk it, figuring traffic would be light on Thanksgiving morning, and the drivers out there wouldn’t be drunk (yet). Which is a long way of saying that I got in a lovely 20-mile, hilly ride in the 90-degree heat. Yes you read that right, it’s 90 degrees here in LA/Orange County.

I’ve spent the rest of the day cleaning to get ready for my middle daughter’s 10th birthday party tomorrow. Mike is a very good cook so he’s on turkey duty.

Alright, let’s wrap this up with a game from Hungry Runner Girl (and Shut Up + Run):

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

1. Ange (NOT Angie, a fine name but not for me)

2. Mama (usually not Mom or Mommy)

3. Princess Efficiency. (I’m not kidding, this was my nickname at the law firm eons ago).

4. Boston Qualifier! (Okay fine, no one calls me that except me.)

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Temp (this was my favorite — I never got bored and I had just the right amount of responsibility, never taking my work home with me).

2. Newspaper section editor (in college).

3. Camp counselor. (Okay, I take it back. This was my favorite!)

4. Tax and estate planning attorney (I hated this. Lasted three years).

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1. The Princess Bride.

2. When Harry Met Sally.

3. Big.

4. Top Gun.

Four books I’d recommend:

1. Pride and Prejudice (classic).

2. The Secret Garden (my favorite children’s novel).

3. Eleanor and Park (young adult).

4. A Life Without Limits (sport).

Four places I’ve lived:

1. Minneapolis, MN.

2. Ann Arbor, MI.

3. Boston, MA.

4. Palo Alto, CA.

There were more sets of 4 but that’s all I have time for because dinner is served! Now you play along in the comments or leave a link to your blog! I’d love to read your answers.

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My husband Mike and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a trip to Napa Valley last weekend. We stayed at the Inn on Randolph, a lovely bed and breakfast in the town of Napa itself.

We clean up OK after a 10-mile run, wouldn't you say?

We clean up OK after a 10-mile run, wouldn’t you say?

I get pretty sentimental when I think back to when Mike and I started dating in high school 26 years ago. I knew he was the one for me, but I could not have imagined that we would go on to have three girls (now 6, 9 and 12) and be so lucky to have the life we do now.

Our first night in Napa we went to Mustards Grill, where I had best duck I’ve ever eaten (and that’s not just because I consumed it with a flight of red wine, where I managed to choose the most expensive of the three selections as my favorite — maybe I’m not such a cheap date after all!)

Back in town we walked to Frati Gelato Cafe for dessert. Their chocolate is not my favorite but the sorbets are incredible. We sat along the riverfront and listened to live music in the park nearby.

The next day we rented bikes from Napa Valley Bike Tours in Sonoma. There’s also a shop in the upscale town of Yountville and we could have ridden from there on the Silverado Trail, but we preferred to shy away from the tipsy drivers and instead chose to ride on the back roads in Sonoma. Our first stop was at one of the smaller wineries, Homewood.

At the Homewood Winery, our first stop on our self-crafted bike tour.

At the Homewood Winery, our first stop on our self-crafted bike tour.

Mike got to chat up the Homewood vintner David, who happily answered our questions about when to harvest the grapes from the two Cabernet Sauvignon vines we have growing at home. We loved David’s wines, and the 2010 late harvest Semillon dessert wine turned out to be our favorite wine of the many we tasted over the course of the weekend.

After our first tasting we rode across the street for lunch at The Fremont Diner. The service was terrible (a 45-minute wait for our to-go order of food?!) but the Whole Hog sandwich and mac and cheese were delicious!

Next we headed to Gundlach Bundschu, affectionately called Gun Bun. It’sĀ a gorgeous 153-year-old estate vineyard with an interesting family history. It offered a totally different tasting experience inĀ a large tasting room withĀ a bit of a crowd.

We ended up riding 14 miles total and loving the whole thing. You can take a more expensive, organized bike tour but the bike shop helped us create our own route and tailored a unique, private ride that suited us better.

We turned the bikes back in just before 5 p.m., picked up the wine we’d bought from Homewood, and headed to FARM Restaurant at The Carneros Inn for the best meal of our trip. We sat outside on the gorgeous patio and splurged on the 7-course tasting menu with wine pairing. It was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary!

One might think that seven wine pairings might not be the best way to prepare for a long run the next day — and one might be right — but Mike and I woke up at 6 a.m. and got right out to AlstonĀ ParkĀ for a run on the trail through the dog park:

The clouds kept the temperature at 61 in the morning, and burned off to reach the 90s later in the day!

The clouds kept the temperature at 61 degrees in the morning, and burned off for blue skies and temperatures in the 90s later in the day!

followed by an out-and-back up Dry Creek Road.

Nothing like a giant T-Rex to motivate you to run!

Nothing like a giant T-Rex to motivate you to run!

We stopped to pick nature’s best fuel — wild blackberries!

picking blackberries

Mike ran 10 miles with me and you’d never know that it was the first time he’d run that far! We finished the run on the downhill along Dry Creek Road and hitĀ 8-minute mile times for the last three miles!

After a quick clean-up in the whirlpool tub in our room and quinoa salad for breakfast at the B&B, we headed out for our last wine tasting, this time at Frog’s Leap Winery in Rutherford. The B&B owner knew we would love going to a mid-size winery that practices sustainable agriculture to grow organic grapes without watering (a huge plus for them and us in this extended drought in California).

View of the organic gardens that border the vineyard at Frog's Leap Winery

View of the organic gardens that border the vineyard at Frog’s Leap Winery

It’s funny because the Frog’s Leap wine labels do not say anything about the wine being organic — you can tell that the winery simply wants to be known for making greatĀ wine, and it does! We ended up buying some Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a unique, heritageĀ red blend.

We ended our trip with lunch at Bottega in Yountville. I highly recommend it for an excellent meal for a (more) reasonable price in Napa. And you can’t leave without going next door for chocolates and gelato at Kollar Chocolates!

Have you ever been to Napa? Confess, do you own a “Will Run for Wine” or “Will Bike for Wine” t-shirt?!Ā 

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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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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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