Sunday, July 27, 2014

HTC Training Week 2 & Triathlon Training Week 6


Monday: Easy/active rest day - bike 6.15 miles (11.8 mph) (to/from a friend's house) + core work

Tuesday: Run 3.6 miles (12:29 pace) + TRI Team swim practice 1,200 yards

Wednesday: Unintentional rest day - slept in too long before work, busy after work.

Thursday: Run 3.6 miles (12:43 average page) - track workout
Warm-up (to track) 1 mile - 12:03
4 x 0.25 (goal = 9:30 - 9:45 pace) - 9:32, 9:39, 9:39, 9:37
0.15 recovery after each, walking
Cool-down (to home) 1 mile - 12:59

Friday AM: Run 5.0 miles (13:27 pace) - HTC practice run 1 of 2
I did a point-to-point run (to a MAX station to ride back home), so as to maximize the uphills without also getting the corresponding downhills. Also played with run/walk intervals, which I think I'm going to have to do on my second HTC leg to survive it at all (see elevation profiles of my HTC legs here).
Mile 1: warm-up, net elevation loss 138 ft, 13:13 pace
Miles 2 - 4: 3:1 run:walk intervals, net elevation gain 354 ft/total elevation gain 777 ft, 13:53 pace
Mile 5: cool-down, net elevation gain 62 ft, 12:41 pace

Friday mid: Bike 11.1 miles (12.4 mph) + swim 1,650 yards (1 swimming mile!) (adapted from 0 to 1650 week 4) - 4 x 25, 600, 300, 4 x 100, 5 x 50

Friday PM: Run 4.0 miles (13:02 pace) - HTC practice run 2 of 2

Saturday: Semi-deliberate rest day - was hoping to fit a swim in, and maybe a short run but just didn't happen.

Sunday: Brick workout - bike 20.4 miles (14.5 mph! fastest ever ride, even shorter distances!) + run 1.15 miles (10:54! Also a really great pace for me!)

Total swimming: 2,850 yards
Total biking: 37.65 miles
Total running: 17.35 miles

No strength training this week, just cause I knew I'd be busy and hard-pressed to fit in enough swim/bike/run workouts as it was. Not quite the volume I'd like to be at right now - for running in particular, with Hood to Coast coming up, and for the other disciplines as well. But for everything going on currently (you know, that little event coming up this afternoon where we're getting married), not too shabby. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Toastmasters Speech: Ice Breaker

The first speech you give upon joining a Toastmasters club is called the Ice Breaker. It's a 4 to 6 minute speech about yourself. Now, that sounds easy enough, to talk about yourself for a few minutes, but you also have to make it an organized speech, with an introduction, middle, and conclusion, and an overarching theme/story line keeping the facts connected. 

It's pretty hard to weave your life into a neat little package like that! It was finally during a conversation with Abe in which I commented how surprised I was that I hadn't had any kind of breakdown yet over the wedding combined with all the other new things I was trying, that I realized that there was a general correlation between my physical location and my openness to new experiences, that lent itself to a narrative.

From previous speaking experiences, I knew my biggest problem would be speaking too fast, followed closely by ahs and ums. Both remained true - plenty of ums, and when I practiced I only got to about 4:45, and somehow ended up at 6:33 for the actual speech! But was still told I spoke too fast. But was told that I did a really good job, and was even voted best speech of the day (out of 3)! I was especially glad to hear that my humor noticed - I know I think I'm funny, so it's nice to know that other people think so too. :) 

(Below is my speech as prepared to present, with a few details altered/omitted for internet privacy.)

Title: Exploring Larger Limits

I grew up in a small town in the southeast corner of Washington state. It’s a fairly small town - though surrounded by even smaller towns. The nearest “big city” is Spokane, a few hours away. I knew I didn’t want to stay there forever, but was quite content in its small boundaries while I was there. 

I left to go to college in Oregon. It seemed like a good distance from my parents - not too close, not too far. I also liked that it was *near* Portland. I can’t say I took much of advantage of it yet, though. Adjusting to college, making new friends, deciding what to do with my life, was enough outside my comfort zone. I’ve always been introverted and a bit of homebody, so dealing with more unknown, even to explore a fun new city, wasn’t at the top of my list. 

My major was accounting, and after graduating went to work at a local CPA firm. Though I enjoyed my job, it definitely has a steep learning curve when you start. One of my coping mechanisms, though, was concentrating on the CPA exam - I’d always been a good student, and so studying for this was a familiar pasttime. By January after graduation I had taken all four sections. 

Around that time my roommate was moving, so I decided to live closer to work. By then work was my safe spot. I was starting to get the hang of things there, but a bit lost elsewhere. I no longer had classes or the exam studying to focus on. I started losing touch with friends from high school and college, and found it hard to develop new friendships as an adult. 

Eventually, though,I reconnected with a more social college friend, and met friends of her, including joining a bowling team.I felt pretty adventurous with the bowling team, in part because it was in *Portland* Portland, and so I had to drive “in the city”. At least one time I got lost trying to get out of the parking lot. 

It was also an adventure, meeting new people, and ended up dating a guy from the team. After a fairly short time, we got engaged, but it ended almost as quickly. We realized we were both settling for something that wasn’t good enough, not wanting to risk not finding anyone at all. 

After the breakup, I increased running, which had been a casual hobby, and trained for my first half marathon. This required me to explore new roads and areas, as I increased my long runs. I even made friends on my own - not through existing friends - by chatting at races.

I was able to branch out in other ways too. Not sure if running a half marathon gave me the confidence, but it did give me a conversation starter, when I was on an online dating site, and messaging with Abe. We went on our first date, and things went well from there. By last this past fall we knew this was a good thing; the wedding is on Sunday. 

 Wedding planning certainly has the potential to be stressful - both the entering a new stage of life/relationship, and planning the largest event of your life, and although I’ve had a couple moments of frustration, I’m rather surprised I haven’t had a meltdown of anxiety yet. 

Not only because of the wedding, though - in the past several months, I’ve been trying a ridiculous number of new things. I’ve joined a triathlon group, re-learning how to swim and bike, after not doing either since I was a kid. I’m finally to the point on bike rides that I’m not *convinced* I’m going to crash and die - it’s just a strong possibility. 

Abe and I moved to an area closer to downtown, which puts us on the MAX line. You can imagine that my hometown didn’t have public transportation. So using it can be a bit nerve wracking for me, but I’ve even been riding the MAX, exploring new parts of town and enjoying how close and convenient to so many parts of Portland are. 

And joining Toastmasters. This is way outside my comfort zone. Which, of course, is the whole reason for doing it, to more easily open up, speak, connect. It’s just one more change and new habit I’m trying to form, out of many. I’ve gone through many times in life with fewer, or less significant, changes, and not coped at all. But over time as I learn to appreciate the novel experiences and exploring the unknown, a meltdown seems less and less likely to be forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lately in Photos

(I meant to post this last Friday, for a better alliterated title of Friday Photo Dump, but didn't get around to writing the captions until today.)

One of the reasons I like renting: you can enjoy landscaping like these pretty hydrangeas (I think? I'm fairly garden-illiterate), without doing any of the work to maintain them. (Or paying any extra money.)

A couple adventurous treats eaten lately:

A wine float on a hot summer evening - made with Barefoot Bubbly red moscato (a ridiculously sweet wine - i.e., really good by my tastes).

Ice cream and berries with chia seeds added for a little bit of redeeming nutritional value. They're actually pretty tasteless, I just pretended they were extra crunchy vanilla bean flecks.

First practice wedding hairdo - I liked it, but it seemed to be a bit blah. I wanted the underlying curls to be more apparent in the bun, but I think my hair is still a bit too short for the idea. Abe said he'd rather my hair be at least partially down, so going with a different idea for the day of.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who Forms a Marriage?

Abe and I picked up our marriage license a couple weeks ago. The gist of the process is: You fill out your information on an online application. Go to a DMV-like office and take a number. They pull up your application and print it on a government form. You sign it in the presence of the clerk. Your qualified officiant signs it after the ceremony. Your two witnesses print their name on it. Your officiant mails it back to the county office, and a county official signs it. 

A few initial thoughts:

1. Why do the parties getting married have to sign it at the county office? I want to fill out the license during the ceremony, but apparently that doesn't include us, the bride and groom, signing it during the ceremony.

2. The witnesses don't actually sign anything. They just print their names. Actually, it doesn't even say that the witnesses have to do it. Again, I wanted to have our sisters come up and sign the license during the ceremony - and we still will have them come up and print their names, even though apparently we or our officiant could just print their names instead.

3. I'm fairly certain that the certified copies you can get after the license has been filed is of that government form. Again, assumptions.... I always pictured the wedding license being more certificate-y, like a birth certificate or car title, kind of aesthetically pleasing. But I think it's just a copy of a very government-form-like government form.

Supporting the assumption that that last assumption is common, though, is that they also provide you with this non-official "commemorative certificate". So, I suppose that's the solution to wanting something pretty that you, your officiant, and your witnesses sign during the ceremony. But, first, that's silly because it's unofficial and doesn't actually mean anything. And second, take a closer look at its text:

In case you can't read it well in the photo, it says:
This is to certify that the undersigned a, [title of person solemnizing marriage], by authority of a license bearing the date [   ] day of [   ], 20xx, issued by the County of [     ], State of Oregon, did on this [   ] day of [    ], AD, 20xx, at [     ], join in lawful wedlock [groom] and [bride] with their mutual consent and in the presence of the witnesses undersigned below.
Um, what. I read that as the officiant stating: I, a person allegedly "ordained" by some random internet religion because the state said that counts, joined these two people in marriage - oh yeah, and fortunately they consented to it cause apparently I could do so even if they didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled Oregon allows internet ordained officiants, because I wouldn't want some random government official, or religious officiant that isn't relevant to us, to be our officiant, but if you're opened it up so that virtually any citizen of any country can meet your requirement, maybe you just shouldn't have the requirement in place?

I can't sign that certificate. I don't want that statement hanging in a frame on my wall. No one is going to marry us, as in impose an action on us, with or without our consent. Fortunately the actual license doesn't have any such nonsense on it - the officiant signs to the statement: "I certify that the above named persons were married on the date listed above." This license statement is consistent with the underlying Oregon law, which merely requires that the two parties to a marriage declare, in the presence of a qualified officiant and two witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife* (§106.150). Basically, the officiant is just a "super-witness". 

*Obviously limiting it to "husband and wife" is a whole other outdated-government-stance issue.

Honestly, my dream wedding (which wouldn't be possible for a variety of reasons, including logistics and compromising with parental desires) would have been to fly our immediate family members to Colorado, rent a B&B for the weekend - and do a self-solemnizing ceremony. It just feels so much more right. (Sorry for the abuse of italics in this post, and this paragraph in particular.) Getting married isn't something that anyone else can do to us. It's an agreement between me and Abe. Period. Yes, we want the government to recognize it, but ultimately, what are they recognizing? A self-made agreement.

This is what we're putting in a program to explain our choice of officiant, and some of the wording that will be used during the ceremony: 

Oregon law to solemnize a marriage simply requires that the parties declare, in the presence of a clergyperson, county clerk, or judicial officer and two witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife (ORS §106.150).

While we want our lifelong commitment to be recognized by the government for legal purposes, we believe that no one other than the involved persons can truly solemnize the agreement and form a marriage. It is not up to a religious officiant or court official to declare that we are binding ourselves to each other.

Having our ceremony facilitated by a moderator who is legally a qualified officiant, but leading our own promises and declaring ourselves married to each other is our compromise to comply with the requirements of the law but also follow our own philosophical beliefs.

What do you think of this certificate's wording? Who did/do you feel had/has the right to marry you, and does it jive with your state's laws?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

HTC Training Week 1 & Triathlon Training Week 5


Monday: Bike 10.0 miles (11.4 mph) + core work + K-Fit weeks 1/2 workout #1

Tuesday AM: Run 2.0 miles (12:46 pace)
Tuesday PM: TRI Team swim practice 1,200 yards

Wednesday: Run 4.55 miles - track workout (12:52 average pace) + K-Fit weeks 1/2 workout #2
Track workout: 
1.15 mile warm-up (to the track) - 12:49, 12:20
4 x 0.25 (goal = 9:30 - 10:00 pace) - 9:25, 9:53, 10:21, 9:52
0.25 recovery after each interval 
1.40 cool-down (back home) - 13:18, 12:07 (mostly downhill, weeee!)

Thursday: Bike 6.15 miles (11.3 mph) + swim 1,450 yards (adapted from 0 to 1650 week 3, plus 3 extra laps) - 4 x 25, 400, 200, 4 x 100, 4 x 50, 3 x 50

Friday AM: Run 4.0 miles (12:53 pace) - HTC practice run 1 of 3 + yoga class (90 minutes)
Friday PM: Run 3.0 miles (13:18 pace) - HTC practice run 2 of 3, with hills

Saturday AM: Run 3.15 miles (12:55 pace) - HTC practice run 3 of 3
Saturday PM: Bike 6.5 miles roundtrip to/from pool (9.2 mph) + swim 1,350 yards (same workout as Thursday, with just one 50 after the 4 x 50)

Sunday: Bike 20.4 miles (13.8 mph)

Total swimming: 4,000 yards
Total biking: 43.05 miles
Total running: 16.7 miles

I did my first HTC training of multiple runs in 24-ish hours... dang, my legs were tired! I actually meant to make the second and third ones closer to 4 - 5 miles, but it just wasn't going to happen. The second run was hilly, since the second leg in the race will be basically 900 feet straight up. Perhaps I need to practice/race with run/walk intervals for that kind of climbing?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Foot Traffic Flat Half

This race... kind of sucked. It wasn't my worst ever half marathon, but it was a personal worst on this course, despite being the third year in a row of doing this race.

It was a pretty perfect day for a race, too. The temperature started in the upper 50s, and was maybe pushing 70 by the time I finished. Absolutely lovely.

I started out feeling pretty good for a few miles, but then starting having some digestive discomfort. 

Miles 1 - 5: 12:30, 12:31, 12:40, 12:50, 12:28

By mile 6, I decided I needed to a bathroom stop - unfortunately there was a bit of a line here. I was stopped for a solid 3 minutes before even getting into the porta potty. (In the graph below, you can see I always stop in this mile - but there usually wasn't as long of a line!) 

Miles 6 - 10: 17:14 (bathroom stop), 12:42, 13:41, 14:16, 14:12

After that I felt better briefly, but then just felt fatigued and weak for basically the rest of the time. After a while I started trying to speed walk, and was just as fast doing that as when I was running. 

Miles 11 - 13.1: 15:24, 15:27, 15:44, 2:15 (for 0.2, 11:01 pace)

Total: 3:03:57, 14:02 pace. At least I continue to improve my recovery time after a distance race, though? I did ride 22 miles the next day and 24.5 the day after that.

I'm not completely sure what the deal was. I'd been a bit sporadic in taking my meds and supplements for a couple weeks before hand. I take things for conditions that can have a big impact on my energy level (thyroid and other endocrine related things), so that might have been a relevant factor. Although I'd kept up my total mileage to almost where I wanted it to be for the training cycle (close to 20 miles/week), I didn't do nearly as much speed work or hill work as I should have. 

Like last year, I thought it'd be interesting to compare my mile splits, since I've done this race each year since I started doing halfs. As always, I found a little energy to kick it up a notch for the last bit. I always take a bathroom break in mile 6 (usually it's a lot shorter line than the earlier stops - not so this year). In the second half, the trend was more similar to my first year doing the race (when it was only my second half marathon), than last year (when I was in the middle of marathon training).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Triathlon Training Week 4


Monday: Core work

Tuesday AM: Run 3.0 miles (13:24 pace) - well, not completely horrid for un-fueled, un-caffeinated, first thing in the morning.
Tuesday PM: TRI Team swim practice 1,100 yards

Wednesday: TRI Team track practice 3.05 miles

Saturday: Swim 1,300 yards (0 to 1650 week 3, plus an two extra laps waiting for Abe) - 400, 200, 4 x 100, 4 x 50, 2 x 50

Sunday: Bike 27.9 miles (12.8 mph)

I thought we were going to be in the middle of a heatwave (90+ degrees = a heatwave in these parts), but apparently that got pushed out til tomorrow. Instead, there was a lovely downpour in the middle of my longest bike ride to date. Plus hills, and riding in parts of Portland I'm not familiar with, trying to keep up with the group so I wouldn't get lost. Basically the worst conditions to bike in I could possibly imagine.

And I went across a wet traintrack at the wrong angle and completely crashed. Not crashed crashed, like truly injured myself or the bike, but fell down hard enough to knock the chain off the gear. Fortunately I'm less scraped up than I would have expected - one knee took the brunt of it, with scraps and what I'm thinking will be a significant bruise by tomorrow, but nothing all that bad.

Total swimming: 2,400 yards
Total biking: 27.9 miles
Total running: 6.05 miles

I intended for this week to be a bit of a break, to recover from the half marathon and psych myself up for Hood to Coast. Also had a lot of social stuff going on, so I didn't prioritize as many bike and swim workouts as I normally do. 

At track practice on Wednesday, I was feeling my ankle a little bit - this is a recurring sorta-injury (happened the first time around the time I was doing the couch to 5k program), and has most recently been acting up for a couples. It didn't hurt terribly, though, and I didn't think I was adjusting anything for it - but once I finished the workout, the coaches immediately asked if I was injured, as I appeared to be limping during it.

They think it's tendonitis, so I need to rest, ice, epsom salt soaks, compression, etc. I can't take too much time off running - I have Hood to Coast coming up! But I nonetheless took off the rest of the week form running. I attempted a run this morning, and though I think my ankle would have felt better once I got warmed up, I turned around after 100 yards, and plan to continue to abstain from running until Tuesday.