Category Archives: cycling

Challenging Myself

This weekend I wanted to challenge myself. No, I didn’t get out for an epic long run (still working on get going again…starting from square 1). But since I have really been missing the heart pumping that comes with those runs, I wanted to find some other ways to get in a tough workout. So I ended up with a long trainer ride on Saturday, and a hard swim in Sunday.

Saturday morning I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes on my spin bike (I knooow, crazy!). I started before the sun came up, and passed the time by watching a movie (Life of Pi… hadn’t seen it yet). I definitely think having an interesting movie helped pass the time!! Especially one I hadn’t watched before. I kept the resistance at a moderate level, but included a couple long standing intervals at a little higher level. To be honest, I didn’t think this was too bad, maybe because I was mentally prepared for a long time on the bike. I ate a few Clif bloks and finished off 1.5 bottles of water over the time period, then followed the ride up with a tall glass of Lemon Tea Nuun.

Sunday’s swim was also tough! Sure, I have done several 2500-3000 yard swims, but mostly they have just been swimming comfortably while completing the distance. This weekend, I tried my first practice of swim intervals. Let me tell you… trying to swim faster is HARD! My right shoulder tends to feel tired earlier than the left, and this was no exception. It was pretty tired by half way through! But, I dug deep and finished the sets.

If you’re interested, here was my workout. I had printed it out, and put it in a ziplock bag to put next to the pool. That way it would stay readable even if it got wet.

image (68)

4 x 50 yds very easy warm-up with 10 sec rest
800 yds at AP
4 x 50 yds harder with 15 sec rest
600 yds at AP
4 x 50 yds with 10 sec rest
400 yds at AP
4 x 50 yds with 5 sec rest
100 yds very easy, cool down
TOTAL = 2700 yds
*note: AP (aerobic pace) is somewhere between moderate and maximum speed. You can keep it for a long time without getting tired. As you gain more conditioning, AP will also improve.

In the afternoon, Ryan and I also did a bonus workout! We did this full body workout from Runner’s World, and a few extra minutes of core/ab exercises. It was just something nice to do in the afternoon while the football games were on since we didn’t have to worry about getting ready for work — we both had the day off yesterday for MLK Day.

Please, help me out!
I entered to win an entry into the ZOOMA Napa half marathon. I’ve always wanted to run in Napa, and I’d love to race this for my goal of a sub- 1:45 half marathon. As a bonus, they’ll be giving the winner a second entry for a lucky blog reader (maybe YOU?!)! So, take a second and vote for me here, and you may be able to join me on an amazing adventure! You can vote once per day. Thank you in advance!

How have you challenged yourself recently?

OBX Marathon Training: Week 12

So, remember last week how I mentioned that I rolled my ankle during my long run, but it was feeling a little better? Well, this week it never really seemed to get back to normal, so I spent the week working on rehab and a little bit of cross training instead of my usual running schedule. I only ran 2 miles this week! 

Today it still isn’t quite 100% (but getting closer). I think some leg muscles are working extra to keep my ankle stable so I’m having some tightness in my peroneal muscles, hip flexor, and IT band. I am trying to stay positive about it, but I am getting a little frustrated. I am hoping to let go of this week of injury and get back into things this week — slowly of course to keep that injury away. I have a 20-miler planned for next weekend, so hopefully I can be ready.

Monday: 30 mins light yoga

Tuesday: 45 minute spin on the bike trainer plus a few core exercises

Wednesday: rest

Spent the evening celebrating my friend Matt finishing his PhD!

Thursday: 2-mile run to pick up my bike at an easy pace and 2 mile bike home. Did a few leg exercises at home to keep up my hip strength.

Friday: a little stretching, but mostly rest

Saturday: walked a few miles doing trail cleanup in the area I do a lot of long runs. Then went to the gym and swam 1250 yards. 

Sunday: 30 mile bike ride instead of a long run. 
Since my ankle was still feeling a bit funny, I subbed out my long run for a bike ride of similar time. It was a bit chilly, but a beautiful morning. I had to stop a couple times to take photos because it was so awesome. My ankle and lower leg felt good on this ride. I think I am getting close to being ready to run again. **fingers crossed**

As a reminder, there is still time to enter my giveaway for an Endorphin warrior bracelet! Go check it out and enter!

I also just realized that last Friday was my 1- year blogiversary! 🙂 Happy blogiversary to me! Thank you so much for reading and supporting me and keep working to defy your limitations!

100 Miles for a Cure

This weekend I rode in the Tour de Cure as a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association to help stop diabetes.

The ride was on Sunday, but we went out to Napa on Friday night to enjoy some extra time with friends, and to go wine tasting on Saturday.

 {Grabbed a tasty cupcake at Sift on Friday night}

{Enjoying wine tasting with friends on Saturday}

Sunday morning we were up before the sun to make sure we were packed up and ready in time. There is so much gear when you have to bring bikes!

Since this wasn’t a race, just a ride to go the distance, we didn’t have an exact time to start. Just were supposed to get our there sometime between 6:45-7:15am. It seemed like most people riding 100 miles started right at 6:45am, but we weren’t quite ready. (Too busy enjoying our breakfast burritos!) I think we took off a few minutes after 7am. The weather was overcast and a little cooler, so I ended up wearing my sleeves the whole day.

The Tour de Cure has a number of rest stops to refill water bottles and grab some food. We decided to skip the first one since it was only 10 miles in. We were all excited and started really quick!! After a few miles though we got into a better rhythm and lead rotation.

{Me and Ryan ready to ride!}

Before making it to our first rest stop, there was one hill. Nothing too crazy, but the biggest incline of the day. I had remembered it being tough and struggling to get over it the last couple years (this was  our 4th Tour de Cure). But this year, it seemed like I made it to the top so quickly!! Must be the few hilly training rides.

 {Elevation along our 100 mile route}

We decided to take our first rest stop at mile 35. The volunteers were awesome, and had peanut butter and jelly, trail mix, nuts, fruit, and cookies out. We tried to keep out breaks brief, and grabbed some snacks, filled water bottles, and used the bathroom before rolling out again.

From here, we had a 20-mile loop before returning to the same rest station. We got rained on a little bit during this loop of the ride, but it never got too bad. We then headed back over the hill, and crossed over to the Silverado Trail to continue the ride. We made one final rest stop at mile 70. When we rode over the hills, we sometimes spread out a little, but then we got everyone back together into our pace line when we were back on the flats.

I always feel like riding the Silverado Trail is quicker (note the general downhill in the elevation chart), but there are a few rolling hills to go over. Enough to make your legs burn pretty good after riding 75 miles. At one point I started getting frustrated that I wasn’t keeping up well enough after one of these little hills. But luckily I realized I probably needed some more calories, so I ate a couple bloks and felt better pretty quickly. It’s sometimes amazing to me how much food is necessary during a bike ride!

The last 15-20 miles or so were pretty uneventful. We were all ready to be off our bikes, but were enjoying the scenery… beautiful vineyards everywhere. We finished in 5 hours 23 minutes. Our average pace was 18.6 miles/hour. This was faster than last year! It is fun to see an improvement year to year on the ride.

After the ride we hung out for a post ride beer and food with other friends who rode various distances, and caught up on the days events. The Napa Valley Tour de Cure is the largest in the country with nearly 2800 riders across all the distances. This was a great event and was very well organized.

{A few of the friends who joined in the Tour de Cure with us this year}

Thank you to anyone who donated to the cause. As I have said before, helping people better understand this disease and its treatment, as well as finding a cure are important to me. The continued support of friends and family is amazing, and I am so thankful.

Have you ever done a century bike ride? This was my 3rd 100-mile ride!

A Great Group Ride

Saturday, we went on a group training ride for the Tour de Cure. Our goal was to ride about 70-75 miles. There are 7 of us who will be riding together for the 100-mile Tour ride, and we all were able to meet up for the ride. This was the first time I have ridden with seven people — my previous max was 4. I have to say, almost doubling the number of riders together was pretty awesome!

I was thinking that training or cycling in a group is probably like doing a group training run.

A few reasons to train (for anything, really) with a partner:
1. When you train with someone who is a little better or faster than you, it can really push you to improve your pace. Training with a partner can be a good change of pace from training alone.There are benefits to training alone too, but it can be good to mix things up.
2. Training with a partner provides you with someone (or a few people!) to talk to. This always help make the workout fly by!
3. A training partner provides you with someone to be accountable to. If you set a meeting time and place, it is harder to back out.

For cycling in particular, other riders can really help you! If you form a drafting line, you take turns up front doing the brunt of the work. When you are in the back, you have some rest time before it is your turn to pull again.

Edited to add: A number of readers have mentioned that riding in a group is also much safer because you are more likely to be seen by drivers. Good point!

I was super nervous going out for this ride because there were a few riders with us who were much more experienced or just naturally faster. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up. But, I ended up being able to stay with the group for most of the ride. Sweet!

We made one wrong turn somewhere along the way, I think, so we ended up going about 68-70 miles, but we still hit all the hills. I did a lot better at them this time than a few weeks ago. It’s amazing what a rest day can do! We also finished a much longer ride at a faster pace than I usually go. I was so excited!

I wish I had a few photos of the scenery on this ride. It was so beautiful! Sunny. Rolling green hills.

 Here’s one from a couple weeks ago just for fun.

This training ride made me so excited for the Tour this coming weekend! I know we are going to have a blast.

Do you train often with friends? Most of the time, I do my runs alone, but Ryan and I like to bike together. As I said here though, it was awesome to ride with more people! Ryan and I help get each other out for our runs and keep each other accountable — even if we don’t actually run together.

Taking a Much Needed Rest Day

In the last three days, I’ve worked my legs pretty hard. Here were my workouts:

Tuesday: speed (on the treadmill) Warmup. 2×400, 2×800. Repeat. Cooldown.
            Note: I used my 10k time to estimate new speed workout paces. They are TOUGH!
Wednesday: P90x legs and back
            For some reason, this workout always crushes my legs, even if I do lighter weights. At least I know I’m strengthening those muscles for my runs and rides!
Thursday: spin
See? My legs have really been working hard! Yesterday morning, my legs were already feeling sore from the two previous days. By the time spin was over, I knew I’d really be feeling it this morning! So today, I’m going to be listening to my body and taking a rest day.

This weekend I will be doing a 70 mile bike ride to get in one last push before the Tour de Cure. I can’t believe it is already coming up next weekend! Resting today is also important so I’m ready to put in those long miles on the bike tomorrow.

{One of my favorite photos of Ryan from last year’s Tour training}

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! I can’t wait to read all the recaps next week!

If anyone is interested in donating to the American diabetes Association, and supporting my ride in the Tour de Cure, please visit my donation page here.

It’s Heatin’ Up!

Last weekend the weather was amazing. It made for perfect temperatures for an evening run with Ana (remember, she’s training for her first marathon!) on Saturday, and a long bike ride mid-day with Ryan on Sunday. Seriously, how can you beat sunny and 75 degree days?!

The forcasted weather for this coming weekend though is going to be HOT. Check it out:

When the temperatures rise, it is important to be careful as you engage in outdoor activities. Here are some of my tips for running in warmer weather:

Exercise early in the morning or after sunset. These times of day it can sometimes be hard to see runners though, so be sure to use caution — wear lights, light colored and reflective clothing. In humid areas, it can stay hot for a little while after sunset, so find the coolest parts of the day where you live.

Adjusting your training schedule for cooler days if possible. Sometimes this isn’t really possible to do, but if you have a little wiggle room, move around your training plan to do your longer or harder runs on a day that has cooler temperatures.

Run in the shade or on a trail where you aren’t in direct sunlight. Reducing the direct impact of the sun can help you stay cooler. 

Wear sunscreen! This, of course, goes not just for the hot times of the year, but we always need another reminder. Help keep your skin safe from harmful rays!

Watch out for increased chafing! I find it especially important to wear anti-chafe cream when the weather heats up and I’m sweating more. My worst chafing experience was at a race in the middle of the summer!

Drink lots of water and also replace your electrolytes (Nuun or Gatorade, for example). Be sure you are hydrated before you go out, and also rehydrate when you return. Try wearing a hydration belt or carry handheld bottle.  If you will be out for a long time and you don’t want to carry water with you, you could plan ahead and leave water along your route, plan for water fountains, or pass by your house/car for a sip every few miles. Here’s an in-depth article from Runner’s World all about hydration.

Slow your pace while your body adapts to a big change in temperature. Running in hotter weather can be more taxing on your body while it adjusts to temperature change. Slowing down your pace until you are more used to it can help keep you from pushing too hard.

Wear light, loose-fitting clothing that is wicking, and wear a hat. Try to avoid cotton, both for your clothing and hats. Material that is wicking can keep you cooler. I also prefer to wear a visor over a hat to keep from trapping in the heat. Dumping water on your head and neck, and wetting your hat can also cool your body down.

Finally, be aware of the signs of heat stroke:  dizzy, nauseated, have the chills, or cease to sweat. If you notice you are having these signs, STOP RUNNING, find shade, and drink water or a fluid replacement drink. If temperatures are really extreme, be okay with taking your workout indoors. Run on the treadmill or get in some cross-training or strength training for a day.

Do you have any other tips to beat the heat?

100 Miles

A week or so ago, I mentioned that Ryan has type I diabetes. To help raise money for this cause and for research to find a cure, we will be riding in the Tour de Cure. 

The tour de cure is a bike ride to bring awareness of the disease and fundraise for the American Diabetes Association. There are rides all across the country. Each location has a few different distances to allow for people to push their limits but also ride something that they are capable of. 
This year will be the fourth year Ryan and I have participated in the Tour de Cure in Napa Valley. This year it will be taking place on May 5, 2013. We will be riding the 100-mile route! A bunch of our friends will be joining us on the tour, riding one of the various distances (10, 25, 50, 80 or 100 miles). Funds raised through these events are used to fund research for a cure, information to help prevent diabetes, advocacy for those affected by diabetes and public awareness activities.
We have had an absolute blast participating in the Tour de Cure. The Napa Valley tour has stunning scenery, and is simply such a great route. The other nice thing about it is they have a bunch of rest stops to refill your water bottles and get some food. Besides the ride, we like to make a whole weekend out of it by going to Napa on Friday and enjoying the area Saturday before the ride on Sunday.

One of the other awesome things about this event, is people who ride and have diabetes (either type I or type II) are celebrated as a Red Rider. This promotes a community among those with the disease, and is nice to see who you are really riding for! Red Riders wear a special red jersey with this logo to be recognized.
So, this is our next big event to train for! Last weekend we did a tough and hilly 45-mile training ride with our friend Josh. Most weekends for the next month, we will be getting out on some longer rides. I will also be trying to bike one day per week to campus to get some extra miles in the saddle.
To find a tour in your area, check out:
If you are interested in donating to the cause and supporting my efforts to stop diabetes, please visit and click on “Donate to Kristen” to make a donation in my name.

Have you ever done a charity walk, run or bike ride? Before the Tour de Cure, I had also done a few walks for Multiple Sclerosis and Relay for Life.