Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Your Questions, My Answers

Finally, my Q&A post. Answers to your questions. Enjoy!

Q: How do you fuel for a training run or ride? Do you have a strength or stretching routing? How do you like to balance all the types of fitness routines you do?

A: Fueling.
My fueling techniques have changed over time. I started out drinking Gatorade, no Gu, no bloks, no food of any kind. Then Gatorade started to bother my stomach so I switched to water and Gu. After much trial and error, I finally found two Gu flavors that I actually like, Vanilla Bean and Espresso Love. I would normally take them every 4-5 miles and sip on my water every mile, mile and a half. Most recently, I discovered Cliff Shot Bloks and have been testing those out on runs. I haven’t done anything over 10 miles in awhile so I can’t say if they will work for really LONG runs or not. For now, I’ve been taking a block every 2-3 miles and sipping on my water—so far so good.

On the bike, I’m still in process of trying new stuff. I feel like I crave more substantive food than just Gu or bloks while I’m riding. I just put a Bento box on my bike and plan to test out granola bars/power bars on my next few rides. I am still learning how much fluid I need on the bike too. I tried Perpetuem on my last ride and really didn’t like the taste until about half way through the ride, then it tasted like ice cream. Weird, I know.

A: Strength training.
I’ve been much better about strength training the last few months. I go to one, usually two, weights classes a week at my gym (24SET and 24LIFT). I have a hard time doing weights on my own so, going to class helps me fit in a good weights workout. If you’re looking for a routine to do at home, I highly recommend Jillian Michael’s 30-day Shred DVD. For a 20 minute workout it’s surprisingly sweat inducing.

A: Stretching.
Uh, this is a MAJOR weakness for me. I went through a yoga phase for awhile but since then (like a year ago) I haven’t been good about stretching. I try to stretch a little bit after any exercise but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Bad!

A: Balancing all my activities.
This is tricky. Since this is my first time training for a long distance triathlon I’m not really sure how it’s going to go. I’m in the “base” period right now where I’m still allowing myself plenty of flexibility since come March, I’ll be on a more regimented schedule. I’m enjoying trying new classes like Zumba while still trying to fit in swims, bikes, runs and weights. I went “rogue” for awhile after the San Diego marathon because I’d been on a schedule for too long and needed a break but, in general, I’d rather be on a schedule. I like to know that on Wednesday I’m going to do X and Thursday Y. I’m not a spontaneous person by nature and I prefer being on a schedule. I do think I’ve learned to allow flexibility since at some point because at some point life will get in the way of the schedule.

Q: What do you like best about running in the Portland area? worst?

A: I love that there are so many good places to run in the city and in the surrounding areas. From where I live (as long as you don’t mind a few hills) you can run to two different paved trails, one downtown and one in a park. I also have to say my running buddies are pretty fantastic! I don’t think I’d be half as motivated or excited about running and trying new routes if I didn’t have them. Thanks guys!

I still really hate running in the rain. It is better this year than last year probably because I have better rain gear but I still dislike being wet from head to toe. I also find it difficult to fit in running this time of year because there are such limited daylight hours being as far north as Portland is however, I have a good headlamp and running buddies (see a theme) that will tough it out with me.

Q: Favorite local races?

A: I’ve had a few inquires about local races. I must caveat that I’ve really only done three running races in Oregon (one in Eugene and two in Portland). I’ve done two triathlons (both near Portland) but I won’t say anything about them other than I liked them both.
Portland Running: I really enjoyed Race for the Roses ½ marathon (there is also a 5k and this year a 10k too). Race of the Roses is held in April. The race goes through downtown and around the Pearl district/NW (one of my fave areas of Portland). There is really only one hill near the beginning, though there is a bridge on ramp at the end that is brief but killer since it’s at the end. Another great thing about the race is its spectator friendly. Mr. Pi was able to see me off at the start, meet me at mile 5-6ish, see me again around mile 10 and then at the finish line. There is one boring stretch that every longer race in Portland (except Shamrock) runs through in the NW industrial area BUT it’s flat as a pancake. I may have good memories of this race because the weather was PERFECT (little chilly but SUNNY) and because this course still holds my PR (thanks to Julianne). I must say the race medal was cheesy but the race shirt (a snug fitting, in a good way) tech tee was a plus.

I also ran the Shamrock Run in March. I ran the 15k but there is also an 8k and 5k option. I’m not sure if it is was the horrendous weather (rain and wind) or if it was because the race (the 15k) was pretty much uphill for the first 5ish miles but I didn’t really like it. I run on Terwilliger (the hilliest portion of the race route) about once a week now and don’t find it all that bad anymore but I don’t think I’ll ever do the Shamrock 15k again. I didn’t feel like there were enough water stations and it was not a very spectator friendly course.

Eugene Running: This fall I ran the EWEB Run to Stay Warm ½ marathon. It was a great course (much of it followed the Eugene marathon course), it’s flat and scenic along the McKenzie river. It was a small race so I was running alone for much of the race. It was a relatively cheap race but that also means no shirt included and not a ton of course support. I would run this race again but it is a bit of a drive from Portland (2 hours). The late start (9:30) helped make the morning commute not too painful and Eugene has a great beer and sandwich shop called “The Bier Stein” that is worth sticking around for lunch.

Other Portland races that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t personally run:
Portland Marathon and this year Inaugural Half Marathon (early October); Run Like Hell 5k and Half Marathon (late October); Bridge to Brews 10k (April); Pints to Pasta 10k (spring?); Hood to Coast Relay (summer)—I really want to do this race sometime!; Helvetia Half Marathon (June); Destination Races is putting on an inaugural Oregon Wine Country ½ marathon in fall 2010. It definitely looks intriguing. I ran Healdsburg down in CA and enjoyed it.

Q: What kind of bike trainer do you have?

A: Mr. Pi really did all the research on bike trainers so I should have let him do a guest post-answer. At the end of the day, he narrowed it down to the Cycle Ops Fluid and the Kinetic Fluid. Ultimately, we chose the Cycle Ops because we have the trainer set up in our living room and the Kinetic was bright green and the Cycle Ops is gray. We went with the slightly more pricey fluid trainer mostly because we live in an apt and were concerned about sound. (Remember we have a grumpy neighbor.) I also wanted a trainer that I could shift to vary my resistance but I think some magnetic trainers allow shifting too.

Q: Do you like Zumba?

Love Zumba! It’s a crazy combination of dance and aerobics. Every time I’ve been there has been a different instructor so that makes things interesting. If they have Zumba at your gym, try it!

Q: What are your thoughts on RnR races?

A:I’ve done three Rock n Roll marathons, Arizona and San Diego twice. I have nothing to compare these marathons too since I’ve only run in rock n roll marathons. For me, I like big races, especially marathons. Since I’m a back of the pack marathoner, I like to always have people around me and I don’t want the aid stations to run out of water. There were always people around me during all three races, never did I feel alone. The aid stations were always fully stocked and the volunteers still cheerful and spirited. The organization of the expo and race day were excellent.

The course in Arizona was definitely flat as a pancake BUT it was also rather boring. Instead of running through pretty parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe you essentially ran past strip mall after strip mall.

Q: What type of music do you listen to when you run?

A: I’m a hip hop girl. Right now, I’ve been diggin’ the Shock Value 2 album by Timbaland, even the collaboration with Milley Cyrus is good. Oddly enough, I also have several songs from the Mamma Mia! Soundtrack on my running playlist right now. Really, I’ll listen to anything with a good beat. I can’t say I listen to lyrics much when I’m running.