Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Bootie Buster Challenge (MBBC)

Chandra from Chandra's Shenanigans modeled a challenge after Run to Finish's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (HBBC), called the March Bootie Buster Challenge (MBBC).

Points are awarded for the following:

Exercise Points:
- 1 point per mile walked/ran
- 1 point per 15 minutes of “other” cardio (ie spinning, kickboxing, step, etc…)
- 1 point per 15 minutes weight training or pilates
- 1 point per 30 minutes of yoga or stretching or abs

Healthy Eating Points:
- 1 point for every 3 servings of fruit/vegetable eaten
- 1 point per 24oz water drank (max of 16oz can come from tea/coffee)

Unfortunately, I had racked up pretty much 40 points within the past 48 hours prior to today. I guess they don't count. With tapering, I don't know if I will be able to accumulate too many points, but at least this will motivate me to do other cardio and exercise.

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LOG

Week 1 (Sunday - Saturday) / Cumulative = 71 pts.
- 3/1: walked 1 mi while out (1 pt); various fruit/veggies eaten (1 pt); water (3 pts) = 5 pts
* Note: This was a rest day.
- 3/2: ran 6 mi (6 pts); 15 min various str trng (1 pt); fruit/veg (1 pt); water (4 pts) = 12 pts
* Note: Yes, I drink a ton of water.
- 3/3: ran 6 mi (6 pts); 15 min on weight machines (1 pt); fruit/veg (1 pt); water (4 pts) = 12 pts
* Note: Nearly same workout... bleh! Had no fan so sweated a truckload.
- 3/4: ran 6 mi (6 pts); 15 min various str trng (1 pt); fruit/veg (3 pts); water (4 pts) = 14 pts
* Note: Oatmeal and fruit/veggies (not same meal) sicken my stomach. Maybe I have IBS. =/
- 3/5: 1 hr elliptical (4 pts); 30 min abs/stretching (1 pt); 15 min playing (jump rope, hula-hoop, fake b-ball and volleyball) (1 pt); fruit/veg (2 pts); water (3 pts) = 11 pts
* Note: Foot arch has been aching for a few days, and toe issues galore. =/
- 3/6: bike 45 min (3 pts) , ran 4 mi (4 pts); walk 2 mi (2 pts); f/v (2 pts); water (3 pts) = 13 pts
* Note Approximate times/distances as part of BBR competition; walk was evening shopping.
- 3/7: fruit/veg (1 pt); water (3 pts) = 4 pts
* Note: This was a day of rest.

Week 2 (Sunday - Saturday) / Total = 81 pts. / Cumulative = 152 pts.
- 3/8: ran 2 mi (2 pts); walked 5 mi (5 pts); fruit/veg (1 pt); water (3 pts) = 11 pts
* Note: Was supposed to run 12 miles but felt drained. Will run a bit tomorrow to compensate.
- 3/9: ran 6 mi (6 pts); 15 min str trng (1 pt); f/v (2 pts); water (4 pts) = 13 pts
- 3/10: 1 hour of various cardio (4 pts); f/v (2 pts); water (4 pts) = 10 pts
* Note: Very tired today for some reason.
- 3/11: ran 6 mi (6 pts); 15 min bike/stretch/wts (1 pt combined); f/v (3 pts); w (3 pts) = 13 pts
* Note: I was trying extra hard to get fruits/veggies in today. 'Twas too many, I think.
- 3/12: ran 8 mi (8 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (4 pts) = 14 pts
* Note: Longer note today... "The Ukrainian" has gone snowboarding for a few days, so I feel like I have nobody except my blog to keep me company! The fruit/veggie count for today is projected, but I doubt it will be any more than that. Had to run in the middle of the day, as I have a meeting during my normal late afternoon gym time. I have been soooo drained lately in spite of all the fruit and veggies I've been getting, better-than-usual sleep patterns, relatively less sugar, and no caffiene. Last night, I took an iron pill along with my glucosamine and multivitamin and slept from 9-5:45... it felt sooo good, better not get too used to that. I might take iron for a few days just to make sure that's not the issue. Oh yeah, and apparently I need to start looking for another place to live this summer. The place was perfect, but she offered it to another person because they were staying for a shorter time, as this was her first time subleasing. If it is any consolation (not that it is... still crushed), she said I'd be a perfect tenant and that she would be in contact with me at the end of July, which is too late. Depression mounting... I need to sleep for 1243 hours now. =(
- 3/13: 1 hour of FitMoves/weights & 15 min elliptical (5 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (4) = 11 pts
- 3/14: 1 hour biking (4 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (3 pts) = 9 pts
* Note: Biked to the mall, and Indian dinner. =] Still tired for some reason.

Week 3 (Sunday - Saturday) / Total = 72 pts. / Cumulative = 224 pts.
- 3/15: f/v (2 pts); w (4 pts) = 6 pts
* Note: I did absolutely nothing, and it was weird and somewhat painful.
- 3/16: ran 6 mi (6 pts); 30 min strength (2 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (4 pts) = 14 pts
- 3/17: ran 3 mi (3 pts); 30 min elliptical/bike (2 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (4 pts) = 11 pts
- 3/18: ran 6 mi (6 pts); f/v (3 pts); w (4 pts) = 13 pts
- 3/19: 1 hr elliptical (4 pts); 30 min strength (2 pts); f/v (1 pt); w (3 pts) = 10 pts
- 3/20: f/v (2 pts); w (4 pts) = 6 pts
- 3/21: f/v (2 pts); w (4 pts) = 6 pts

Week 4 (Sunday - Saturday) / Total = 80 pts. / Cumulative = 304 pts.
- 3/22: ran 26 mi (26 pts); f/v (1 pt); w (4 pts) = 31 pts
- 3/23: f/v (2 pts); w (2 pts) = 4 pts
* Note: Yep, tons of resting lately. I went on a mini-vacation with "The Ukrainian" that has involved a 4.5 hour car ride and no gym to use foam rollers for my sore legs. Surprisingly, I never got the post-race ravenousness that is typical of me. Anyway, water consumption is hard when away from home.
- 3/24: f/v (1 pt); w (2 pts) = 3 pts
* Note: Although the points are low, I feel infinitely better today, as walking is no longer painful. I think about three-quarters of my soreness is gone, and the huge chafe mark on my outer thigh is scabbed over and less painful (TMI, I know!). I can't wait to go the gym tomorrow!! P.S. Swearing in people is nerve-racking, but cool!
- 3/25: walked 1 mi during lunch break (1 pt); ran 2 mi (2 pts); 25 min elliptical + 10 min bike + 10 min alternating jump rope/pushups (3 pts); 15 min strength (1 pt); f/v (2 pts); w (3 pts) = 12 pts
* Note: I went on a walk because I wanted to get some stuff to bake with tonight. This was my first run since Sunday, and I kept it short and sweet. I felt mostly fine running at a 10 min/mi pace. I wanted to go faster by the end but didn't want to push it since I did still feel that my legs, although not sore, seemed fatigued. I think I was fatigued over all, as I had to lower the weight machines 5-10 lbs and felt more tired than usual throughout everything. It's okay; this is the fastest recovery I've had so far from a marathon. Not to say that I'm recovered, but I can forsee myself running normally by next week. I will hold back on true speed work until that following week. I can't wait too long, though, as I have races in early May that need to be trained for, but at the same time, I don't want to hurt myself like I did last year. Oh yeah, and I used a foam roller today finally. Doing that the day after the marathon hurts (in that good way, I guess), but since I waited until day 3, it felt quite good and relaxing.
- 3/26: ran 3 mi (3 pts); biked 15 min (1 pt); 15 min elliptical (1 pt); 30 min strength (2 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (3 pts) = 12 pts
- 3/27: ran 4 mi (4 pts); 35 min FitMoves + 20 min elliptical + 10 min stretch (3 pts); f/v (2 pts); w (3 pts) = 12 pts
- 3/28: biked 45 min (3 pts); f/v (1 pt); w (2 pt) = 6 pts
* Note: Baked the same thing as I did for my co-workers the other day (cherry pie filling bread) because "The Ukrainian" liked it so much. Ended up making a pasta dinner and then biked over to Fry's, though it was dark by then. I'm getting pretty comfortable on my bike now, as I've noticed at how close I ride to him without fearing that I'd ram into his bike. Bike tour, here I come! Also, I've had a pretty active week. We'll see how this goes next week as I start living out of my trunk. I wonder how my reassignment will go. On my last day at my other job, I was taken out to lunch and managed to eat like 1/4 of the huge salad at Charlie Brown's. When we got back, they got the whole department gathered with a cake and "Is Elvis Alive?" CD (it's an inside joke within our department). I never knew how many people I helped until they came out to thank me. Anyway, I'm meeting someone for a bed/bath in her apt. She seems really nice. The only bummers are that the laundry is vended and the the room unfurnished. But the location is perfect, so "The Ukrainian" told me that if I think it is nice enough, I should just take it. He (and even the girl who could potentially be my roommate) offered to help me look for furniture. We might be going to Ikea today to see how much beds are. The only other things I might need are a desk/chair, hangers, sheets, and towels. But for now, I am just going to browse and see how the commute goes.

Week 5 (Sunday - Tuesday) / Total = 27 pts. / GRAND TOTAL = 331 pts.
- 3/29: walked 1 mi while out (1 pt); f/v (1 pt); water (3 pts) = 5 pts
- 3/30: ran 7 mi (7 pts); 15 min strength (1 pt); f/v (2 pts); w (3 pts) = 13 pts
* Note: I don't know why, but I felt really good running today. It's like running is suddenly fun again... not that it got un-fun, but for once I wasn't tired or struggling. Probably the waking up at 4:30 am had something to do with my numbness. On another note, I got an e-mail back from my thesis reader/chair saying "almost done. please correct the minor errors, and send the final clean version." I opened the attached draft, and there were really just tiny corrections such as putting a word in past tense, deleting extra spacing, and adding more detail to just one statistical statement. Is she for real?
- 3/31: ran 3 mi (3 pts); biked 15 min (1 pt); f/v (2 pts); w (3 pts) = 9 pts

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Have You Ever Bought a Race Photo?

...That is the Question

A question to anyone who might read this post:

Have you ever bought a race photo from those photographers that show up at races (e.g., Brightroom or MarathonFoto)??

I am considering ordering this time around. In my 11 half-marathons and 3 marathons, and three other races that had professional photography, I have not bought a single photo yet.

Besides the two proofs in my Pasadena Marathon post, I am considering getting one or two other photos I did not post. In one of them, I am holding hands with "The Ukrainian" while running, and in another, we are cheerfully peace-signing the camera. So that would be four photos, which at ~$15 each for unprotected printing is not cheap.

They also sell a digital CD for ~$50, which would contain all the pictures. I would have to print them if I wanted a physical copy, though. I've blown money away on worse things before, such as eye makeup and electronics that turned out not to work so well. And when will I get to run nearly a full marathon with someone again?

Misc

On another note, I have been packing up my stuff for transport to my new assignment at work. It is weird leaving a job exactly one month from when I left my second job. This one is tougher, since I've almost been there for three years (and I'm still 23). I realize how many people I have helped in my department, and people were actually wondering how my boss could let me go. I may be back in a few months, but it may not happen. Anyway, I ended up baking a cherry pie filling bread and some no-bake cookies, which got good reviews by my colleagues.

Also, I raised ~$100 for the Public Counsel. Yay! This is good, considering I didn't think I was going to get anything.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Joint Juice

I've been seeing lots of this product being handed out at the races I've run recently. A crew with huge crates/boxes of these blue bottles waits at the finish line, just waiting for those thirsty runners to undo the joint damage they just did.

In fact, I am drinking one right now.

Joint Juice is a fitness water that has a full day's supply of glucosamine (1500 mg, which is supposed to help joint lubrication). It also contains some vitamins like niacin. This stuff does not work immediately -- like any supplement, one would need to drink it daily for best results.

I've only tried the kiwi strawberry flavor. The taste is good, a bit sweet and fruity. The whole bottle is 10 calories thanks to the sucralose (the only artificial sugar that doesn't sicken me too much) it contains. The bottle advises to drink it cold, but it is just fine at room temperature.

I am down to just drinking water now, even on very long runs. I tried tea once, which wasn't bad. So I haven' t had any sports drink whatsoever in a very, very long time. Joint Juice is a good treat for me as a recreational drink, though.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pasadena Marathon -- Inaugural Redux

EVENT: Pasadena Marathon
DATE: Sunday, March 22, 2009
LOCATION: Pasadena, CA
RACE BEGAN: 06:30 am
FINISH TIME: 04:19:14

On Sunday, November 16, 2008 when this race was supposed to take place, the smoke from Southern California wildfires forced the event coordinators to postpone this event. I was up and already dressed for the 26.2 mile struggle when I caught wind of the news. While I was disappointed, I think it was the right thing for them to do. No need to give myself unnecessary respiratory damage, right?

While I did not get my "lucky" 888 bib number again, I was back and raring to finally run this race, which was rescheduled for March 22, 2009. Meanwhile, we were sent the medals we did not earn...

I was a bit hesitant to re-register, as I could not imagine going through all that training again, especially on my schedule. But I had to, in a way, since I already had a "sunk cost," and this could be my only chance at a 2009 marathon.

So I found myself training very sparsely, going to the expo again, and carbo-loading again (at Souplantation). On race morning, "The Ukrainian" and I headed out at 4:30 AM for Pasadena and sat in the parking lot until shortly before 6 AM. I had a bit less than half a banana and 2 cubes of Clif Shot Bloks at around 5:30 to make sure I wouldn't get hungry during the race.

As we were waiting in line for the port-a-potties, what was just cold weather became a mist, drizzle, and then a downpour. I was trying to keep my shoes dry with the mylar wrap I was using to keep warm. My stomach was still unsettled and gave me trouble pretty much the whole race (and for more than 24 hours afterward!).

The race started with cheers as the rain got harder (crazy runners!). It was a little congested the first 2 miles. "The Ukrainian" and I were keeping a conservative pace. I definitely would have taken off faster had he not been there. I don't recall too many details, but around mile 5, we reached Old Town Pasadena, which was nice because that place is usually packed with cars.

I didn't make too many water stops, mostly so I would not slow "The Ukrainian" down, and because the rain usually makes it hard to know when you're thirsty. We reached the Rose Bowl, ran a loop around it, and encountered a short, steep hill at around mile 9. It was sooo hard and painful for some reason, but "The Ukrainian" grabbed my hand so I wouldn't trail too far behind. I heard someone cheer "Yeah!" when they saw that.

The next point I knew, it was mile 15, and by this time, the rain was either pouring or steady, wind blowing, and I was tired. My clothes were sticking to me, and I could see people who were close to finishing whiz the other way. (Note to race people: Out-and-back sections of races are very demoralizing!) The rest of the way, I recall seeing lots of nice houses whose residents did not bother to come out and cheer. I don't blame them, in that kind of weather!

I had two gels -- one at mile 12-14 the other at 17-20. My arm was too tired to feed myself anything else after that point. The course had ample PowerBar Blasts and gels, but I did not fall for them (I would not eat anything I did not train with).

My feet were hurting, as my skin had swelled inside my wet socks. Around mile 21, my hips were getting sore, and by each mile, something else started to twitch/hurt. Read this for more details on the last six (difficult) miles. Basically, this was NOT an easy course, as I've never done a non-flat marathon before. The elevation profile and wind made it considerably more difficult to proceed, but at least heat did not plague me like usual.

You can see my time above. I did not include splits, since they were a bit odd (taken at weird distances). Anyway, this is quite a big PR for me. I obviously have no complaints. I never thought I would ever even beat 4:30. While I was running, I saw what kind of good pace I was keeping but somehow felt that I would still have some issue and crawl to the finish line. Not the case this time. In fact, I felt really bad@$$ as I saw (finally) some crowd support near the finish line (see me running toward the end, which is more than I can usually muster).

I crossed the finish line gleefully, grabbed my medal, and cruised to the picture-taking area. This is a stark contrast to my usual -- cross the finish line and stand there feeling sick. There was not much post-race food... only a slice of orange, 1/2 banana that I was too tired to eat properly, and some Joint Juice refuled me.

This was probably a fluke. I trained little and really think that the only reason I didn't take 5+ hours to finish was because I didn't want to be left alone by "The Ukrainian" on the course. Someone said that I at least had the physical capability to do that, but a huge part of these runs is mental.

Either way, I learned a lot in this race, which I will hopefully remember the next time I hit the pavement. I'm not sure when that will be... it has taken me two days to feel good enough to write a race report.

I would like to thank the marathon people for getting their act together and re-doing this race. The course was beautiful and hit most of the city's landmarks, which helped with some of the uneasy parts. Thanks also to Kathy for her work on the crew and for her texts/Facebook messages. Obvious thanks goes to "The Ukrainian" for running the vast majority of this race with me, as he slowed himself down to do so... in his first marathon. Looks like we got a couple of marathoners on our hands! =P

Also, I am grateful for my sisters coming out to support me at the finish line, even in the miserable weather, with a shirt of mine to keep warm!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hooray Spring Six-Miler

RunningLaur hosted a virtual race that was officially supposed to "take place" on March 20 (the first day of spring), but I was in class that day and had a marathon two days later.

Thus, I decided to write about the last 6.2 miles of the Pasadena Marathon and leave these details out when I finally get around to writing a race report for it (you can read the details of the rest of the race in the other entry).

So this story begins at Mile 20, going down a lonnnngg straight path in the residential streets of Pasadena, watching the runners who were miles ahead of me running in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. It was cold, slightly windy, and slightly drizzling. I had my iPod on quietly, but at this point, it wasn't really helping. I had just finished my second Accel Gel and was hoping that I would be able to get through this last part of the race.

I've been running these 10k-type distances for nearly all of my weekday runs for the past few weeks, and they have gotten very do-able and fast. But these 6.2 miles seemed daunting. My legs were tired, my energy levels were low, clothes stuck to me, my skin swelled inside my soaked shoes/socks, and the side of my thigh and calf muscles started to cramp every time the wind blew.

"The Ukrainian" asked me how I was doing periodically. Sometimes, I said I was doing well, and the other times, I whined, grunted, or breathed loudly. He asked me for for my Garmin data once in a while (how far we've gone, time, pace, etc.). As the hills came, he grabbed my hand so that I would not start walking. I am really bad at hills, so this was extremely helpful. Miles 21-23 were rough, as there was a lonnng incline with the wind blowing against us. The roads were sloped, which made it hard to even find a level surface to run. I apologized for any cursing that came out of my mouth as I struggled to keep moving, telling him how difficult this is every single time at this stage of the marathon and why I keep putting myself through this.

We slowed down dramatically. At mile 23, I was too tired to eat more than a few jelly beans and was having a lot of trouble controlling my cramps, so I told "The Ukrainian" that I was going to walk and that he go on ahead of me. I was already riddled with guilt because he probably could have taken off miles ago, but he decided to stay with me until I told him to go on ahead. I walked/ran until mile 25. The wind was blowing straight against my path, making it excrutiating. People around me were walking.

At around mile 25, I think the gradual uphill stopped, even going slightly downhill. Somehow I was able to run without much cramping, and before I knew it (really!), I was at mile 26. I turned a corner and high-fived a young spectator. The cheering made me soooo happy because I realized that this was it. The finish line still looked so far away, but I actually had some strength to keep running and thought to myself that it was almost over. I crossed the finish line amid lots of cheers and an announcer reading off the names of others who finished around me. I even had the energy not to completely stop moving once I crossed that line. I believe those last 6 miles took a smidgen above an hour, which is not too bad for me!

So that is my attempt at a race report. With the rain involved, I'd say it was a true spring run! I chose and added this virtual award which best describes my run:



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds

I don't blog about food too often, perhaps because I'm trying to stay on topic. But come on... food is as much a part of running as an energy gel or pair of shorts. Also, I've been thinking about food more this week due to my impending race and more free time... at least at work.

I have had a thing for flavored almonds lately. I've actually tried a few varieties since then, which I will review in turn. Eventually, I hope to make some myself, but meanwhile, food companies can do it for now.

So this one, from Emerald, was on sale at Target. As a side note, I've had other 100-calorie pack things in my lifetime, and they often leave much to desire. These almonds looked appealing because they looked like they would cure my almond fix as well as my chocolate fix, and the portion-control is spectacular for someone like me who likes to eat out of bags.

The taste is heavenly (the chocolate taste is more than subtle) and the serving size is ample, both satisfying cravings/hunger. Best of all, no dairy is hidden in them, though it looks like there is a little bit of sucralose (Splenda). Fortunately, that's the only kind of fake sugar I can tolerate a bit.

I started off with Emerald because they have been a presence in events such as LA Marathon. They had some brownie-flavored walnut samples, but these are way better. Perhaps I am biased against walnuts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Taper Madness?

I am but (less than) a week before my third marathon, and it doesn't look like it is going to be canceled like last time.

The week before these things is usually if-fy. Do I start slacking off? Stop going to the gym everyday? Eat more/less? Weight train? And then there's the multiple weather.com queries. Showers on marathon day? Never happened before, although there's a first time for everything. Will it be bad?

This time around, I am a lot calmer than usual because I really think this marathon is only one of many things resting on my proverbial plate right now. Running is but a hobby, and whether or not I do better or worse than other people is not a concern of mine. I'm 23 years old and will have done 3 marathons and 11 half-marathons come Sunday. So I should remove pressure and stop comparing myself to other people, right??

Oh yeah, and I was encouraged to raise money for Public Counsel again, though by the time they got to me, it was really too late to pull my act together in my opinion. I've raised a whole $10 so far, though each $1 renders $16 of free legal services to the abused, elderly, disabled, and those who otherwise would not be able to afford it, so YAY! I was just told by our law department that I can join their team, so "The Ukrainian" and I will get to fuel up at their booth post-race. Either way, by posting about Public Counsel, I hope I spread just a little awareness and do my part that way.

NOTE: If you comment on this post, I'd appreciate it if you'd *holla' at my boy* (a phrase they use in hip-hop that I'm using quite literally), "The Ukrainian," as he sets off to run his first marathon (finally) this Sunday! Not that he needs luck, as he's done three half-marathons so far and PR-ed at 1:42, but still...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

YouBar

I HAD to write about this now, even though I should be asleep.

I was doing one last Facebook check before bed after a night of homework and television when I stumbled upon one of their advertisements for custom bars.

Here, you can make bars of different sizes with different bases (nut butters, etc.), nuts, fruit, seasonings, grains, vitamins, sweeteners, and protein. I had SO much fun creating my bar, which has dates, blueberries, soy protein, brown rice syrup, cocoa, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, ginger flavoring, oat bran, and almonds.

A box of medium bars is about $39 (plus $8 shipping) for 13 bars, which is steep, but where else can you make your own designer bars? My stomach was growling (at 11:15 PM) just thinking about this nice vegan bar I made. No, I did not order it yet, as my credit card bills were painful this month due to tuition.

UPDATE: 3/16/09 - RuntoFinish is hosting a giveaway of these bars!



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Link: http://www.youbars.com/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bench-Bike-Run (BBR)

EVENT: Bench-Bike-Run (BBR) IV
DATE: Friday, March 6, 2009
LOCATION: Irvine, CA
RACE BEGAN: 01:00 pm
FINISH TIME: 01:19:30
("bench": 36, bike: 49:00; run: 30:30)

By writing about this race, I risk people finding this and pointing and/or laughing. But just like any other race I've done, I need to report on it...

BBR is an employee-driven event (not at my company) that requires competitors to bench their body weight (push-up for women) to get a head start (30 seconds per repetition). An out-and-back 10-mile bike portion, which is mostly not in traffic, follows. The third part is a 3.8 mile out-and-back run.

I thought this would be a fun race to do, since I've never done any race that involved more than running. As much as I like being known as a runner or marathon girl, (after nerd) that's not all I want to be. So I signed up with my sister and brought "The Ukrainian" along with me on a Friday afternoon.

I did 36 push-ups, which is three times as many as I was able to do just a few months prior. This gave me an 18-minute edge compared to a scenario in which I would do none. It was nice to have people encouraging me, cheering, and counting my reps. Meanwhile, the men were benching their body weight.

The bike portion was not easy. Most people had road bikes, so my commuter hybrid was not really a match for them. Additionally, I often did not know where I was going. However, I had never ridden faster on my bike and found it fun to see how it was easier or more difficult to handle based on the conditions and gears. By the end, I was distraught and wanted to quit but felt fortunate that I had not gotten lost for long.

I got off my bike, unstrapped my helmet, got a sip of cold water, and took off running. My legs were so tired from the biking that they felt wobbly with every step I took. I had trouble getting my watch going and my iPod earphone buds inside my ears but did not slow down since my legs were churning away as if they were on a bicycle. My main goal was to keep moving so they did not collapse and not pass out from my heavy breathing.

I was motivated to keep running each time I passed someone. I actually passed a lot of dudes, which was motivating. I was getting really warm by the turnaround point, as I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and singlet underneath. Toward the last mile and a half, I almost tripped because my legs were just tired of being upright. I kept going up and down the minor hills just so that this could be over. I was thinking how much endurance this took. Finally, I saw some colorful blobs and realized I was near the finish. I came in with my sister and "The Ukrainian" to tell me to "walk it off."

My sister won the competition for the females and was recognized during the awards "ceremony." They also gave medals for performance in the individual sections (for which overall champs did not qualify), so I got a medal for the run section. Overall, I came in 4th (out of 9 women).

Although I am disappointed with the outcome, I enjoyed stepping up to the challenge and testing my fitness in a new way. I may be back next year. Here are some "BBR" pictures for my own embarrassment.

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Photo credit goes to "Joey."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bike Gear

(Continuation of "Bikes" post...)

The next step entailed getting a helmet. My head, being watermelon-sized, could not fit any of the ones at regular stores, so I ended up getting this one from Performance Bike Shop on sale, which was nice. This is a Bell Ukon FS in a men's universal size. I had wanted a cooler-colored helmet, but this was the only choice. I guess there's nothing wrong with black.

Then to remedy my aching behind, I got a gel seat cover similar to the one pictured here (from Target -- brand name = Backtrails). It works decently, though I think riding a bike is just something that will always be uncomfortable and butt-bruising. I will keep adding on the gear I'm getting for my bike here. Since this is a running blog, I will try to parse my bike and running gear.