I Hate 5ks

Jul 25

I Hate 5ks

After threatening to sign up for three or four different marathons since last fall, I finally pulled the trigger and plunked down the registration fee for the Tunnel Lite Marathon September 15th. It’s a point-to-point with a net elevation loss, so pretty easy-peasy as far as marathon courses go. My running volume lately has thus increased as Coach T has started prepping me to haul my chubby ass 26.2 miles. Fitness-wise (and weight-wise) I’m still not where I was last season, but at least now I have a race to train for. My return to a regular training schedule got my coach’s seamless, sweat-wicking undies in a twist and she excitedly instructed me to find two 10ks to run as part of my marathon training. July has been a hectic month for me — Jason and I traveled to a wedding in Philadelphia earlier this month, plus he’s racing his first 50 mile ultramarathon this weekend — so I only had a couple weekends free to find a potential race. After informing Teresa of my dilemma, she said I could find a 5k to run this month and a 10k in August. Crap. 5ks suck for one reason: they hurt. If you’re intent on doing a 5k as a fun run, that’s fine, 3.1 miles is a fine distance for a walk or a jog or a combination of the two. But if your coach wants you to “race” the 5k, you’re essentially tasked with sprinting the entire distance and are a half-burp away from horking up one or both lungs at any given moment. There’s nothing “aerobic” about a 5k. From the moment you take off to the moment you cross the finish line, you feel like you’re going to die. Another reason I don’t like 5ks is because my SALS (Stumpy Asian Leg Syndrome) don’t make me much of a sprinter. I always tell people that I’m built for duration. I’m not terribly fast, but when you stretch out the distance long enough, my sheer stubbornness pushes me to maintain a somewhat decent pace until I manage to finish. For short distances, however, I’m no Usain Bolt. Whenever we do sprint work at track, teammates who I’m...

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Training Episode VI: Return of the Bec-i

May 04

Training Episode VI: Return of the Bec-i

I’m writing this post from hot, humid, and sunny (well, not right now — it’s pouring rain) St. Croix, nursing a mild sunburn and a round belly (don’t worry, it’s just the food baby) on the eve of Ironman St. Croix 70.3. I had grand plans to run a marathon before kicking off my triathlon season by tackling the Beast, but the marathon never happened and neither will the race tomorrow (for me, anyway). Truthfully, the months after Ironman Canada have been tough for me mentally as well as physically. After my crashtacular finish, I took some extra time to recover and focus on work. Unfortunately, that focus made me realize how unhappy I was at my new job, and that realization caused a lot of stress and headaches through fall and winter. I’ve noticed this in past seasons: my happiness levels in my personal life greatly affect my success in training and races. Whenever there’s a big imbalance, my motivation suffers and my training swiftly circles down the shitter. So this past fall and winter have been somewhat difficult for me as I struggled to keep it together professionally and drove Jason crazy with typical Quarter Life Crisis freak out laments: Me: “All of our friends our age have ‘grown up’ but us! We should be grownups!” Jason: “What the hell does that mean?” Me: “I don’t know, we should travel more! Or buy a house! We should get married soon! When should we have kids?!” Jason: “So, to be clear, you think we should buy a house but still travel the world, but we should get married first and crap out a few kids? Before the house and travel stuff or after?” Me: “I DON’T KNOWWWW HOW DO GROWN UPS DO THIS?! I need a better job! One that makes me happy! Should I open a Roth-IRA? What the hell is a Roth-IRA? I need to train for a marathon! Everyone on our team is getting faster and having an awesome season and I’m getting fatter and slower by the day! Can we get a dog? I really want a dog! I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M SAYINNNGGGGGG!!!!” I was depressed. I isolated myself from my friends and...

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Mt. Rainier Duathlon 2012 Race Recap: It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

Jun 12

Mt. Rainier Duathlon 2012 Race Recap: It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

The Mt. Rainier duathlon was May 6th, so it’s a bit belated to be churning out a race report but I’m doing it anyway so DEAL WIF IT. It was the fourth year I’d be doing the short course, and I’ve grown to enjoy the race quite a bit (it doesn’t hurt that I’ve placed in my age group every time I’ve done it, largely due to the fact that there’s no swim segment to substantially drag down my overall finish time). I thought for sure this year Teresa would finally succeed in forcing me to do the long course version of the race (I’d managed to dodge it in previous years due to 1. Being a noob, 2. Being stubborn, and 3. Being injured), but she surprised me by encouraging me to do the short course race because I had enough long distance races on my plate this season and she thought a fast, short race would be good for me. Over two consecutive weekends I drove to Enumclaw and rode the duathlon course. The once-mighty Mud Mountain Road climb now seemed totally manageable thanks to experience/familiarity with the route and because I’ve grown to become a halfway decent cyclist. A week before the race I felt comfortable and confident and was looking forward to the event. And then, as what often happens, three days before the race life decided to kick me squarely in the ladyballs. I won’t go into details but basically an unexpected and profoundly shitty event occurred and my focus immediately shifted from racing to dealing with this sudden hardship. I abandoned my workouts and drowned my sorrows in lots and lots of booze. Thursday and Friday night consisted of drinking with friends and stumbling home from the bars. On Saturday I pinged Teresa and told her that I wasn’t in the best mindset for the race, that I had skipped workouts and was boozing it up instead of taking care of my body, and whether I should still do the duathlon. She talked me off the ledge and, ever the optimist and eternally my ardent cheerleader, encouraged me to “get back on the horse” and “channel my rage” on race day to push...

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My Own Worst Enemy

Jul 08

My Own Worst Enemy

Most of my posts on Mediocre Athlete contain self-deprecating comments and faux-negativity about my workouts or my races. I do it for the lulz, but the truth is that nobody is harder on me than myself. At the end of the day, I am my own worst enemy, an exceptionally tough critic. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way; after all, a big reason you train for a race, no matter the distance, is to push yourself outside your comfort zone to see what you’re truly made of. For me though, I often push myself so hard that it can end up being detrimental. I’m like my own overbearing Asian mother (“Why you no run faster during race? And how come you not doctor?”). Ever since I had a taste of my first half Ironman three years ago, a big goal for me is to go sub-6 hours. I feel that it’s something I can easily accomplish. Each year I’ve continued to improve and become more familiar and comfortable with the sport. After four half Ironman races thus far, however, my personal best is a 6:29 from 2010’s hellishly windy Boise 70.3. I know that everyone was much slower that day, that I couldn’t control the weather, that I would have cycled much faster if conditions were better, that I actually placed decently in my age group. But I was focused on that time goal like Gollum’s fixation on that seemingly innocent little ring, so I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. Then Ironman Canada came and went and I had a race that exceeded my expectations. I would have gladly traded in every bad race or training workout that year for the day I ended up having, and after my biggest race of the season I was at an all-time high. I had just done an Ironman, for schmuck’s sake — I could do anything. No, I could crush anything. I was going to do a marathon and I was going to kill it. I was going to do a bunch of 70.3s next year and they’d all be under 6 hours. Hell, I’d be creeping up on 5:30s. I’d improve across the board and...

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My First Triathlon: Flat Tires and Lessons Learned

Jun 03

My First Triathlon: Flat Tires and Lessons Learned

Tomorrow I’m doing the Issaquah sprint triathlon. Fun fact: the Issaquah sprint was my first-ever triathlon three years ago. In typical Mediocre Athlete fashion, my first race didn’t go so well. Basically, I should be able to PR tomorrow by about 45 minutes unless my leg falls off or I get abducted. I thought I’d offer up an exceptionally belated race report so you have an idea of how my first-ever triathlon went way back in 2008 — enjoy! Back in 2008, I was training for my first half Ironman, the not-quite-half-Ironman-distance New Balance race in Victoria. I was a sorry sight, riding on a borrowed road bike with mountain bike pedals and swimming even more terribly than I do now. I was basically the Tai to Teresa’s Cher if this were the movie Clueless. Teresa urged me and Jason to do the Issaquah sprint triathlon so we’d have a little bit of race experience going into the Victoria half Ironman. Since it was my first tri, I was ridiculously nervous. Swim Summary The swim was a teeny tiny 400 meters — it would take you longer to get your wetsuit on and off than it would to actually swim that distance. Of course, I was convinced I was going to drown. I swam with a handful of other girls in my age group, stopping at every buoy to gasp for air and gaze longingly at the shore. Swim time: 10:29 (2:37/100 meters) As embarrassingly crappy as my swim was, it marked the only time I’ve beaten Jas during the swim portion of a race. Since this was his first ever open water swim, he panicked and flailed in the water and I ended up edging him out by a minute or so. (Check out the only Mediocre Athlete post my lazy boyfriend has ever written for a recap of his swim from that race.) Transition 1 My transitions have always been decent, even from the get-go, and my first race’s T1 was a respectable 2:14. I think I’m just anxious to get out of my stupid wetsuit as quickly as possible. No matter the reason, my transitions aren’t that bad. Bike Summary I hopped on my borrowed bike...

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