Archive for February 2014 | Monthly archive page
I am pleased to say that I have another good week of training in the books. This is how the week progressed:
AM – 50-minutes on the bike trainer: HILL REPEATS at 5:15am!! (What a way to say “hello Monday”!)
PM – Swim…This swim workout was very similar to the one I had done the day before with a focus on endurance at moderate to easy efforts. This session was a total of 2100 yards.
AM – 30-minute treadmill run at a “steady pace” (slower than tempo but faster than race pace); this is my first early morning run in a while. It is hard for me to run this early, but I know that I must start trying to get used to morning runs with this IM training. Average pace: 8:36 for 3.49 miles…this pace was in the range of what I was hoping for.
PM – Swim again…The theme of the week is endurance swimming. This workout was 2200 yards which includes a main set of 3×10 minutes steady swimming with 1 minute rest between intervals.
AM – 55-minutes on the bike trainer. This session was intense! The focus was multiple sets of “max effort” for varying periods of time. I was a drippy mess after this workout and ready to tackle my Wednesday after this morning’s booty-kicking!
PM – Training planned for morning due to evening meetings.
AM – 30-minute recovery run on the treadmill. The focus of the recovery run is getting a good run in, but keeping heart rate down. This is a good morning workout since you don’t really have to push yourself. Average pace: 9:37 for 3.12 miles.
PM – Swim – 2500 yards of endurance swimming. This was a repeat workout (same as the prior Sunday with a bunch of 100 and 200 yard sets with little rest between intervals). Getting in solid yardage!!
Friday: REST DAY!!!
BRICK!! For those that might not be familiar with this term, a brick in triathlon training refers to doing back to back workouts of different disciplines with little or no rest in between. This brick was a bike to run brick, which is the most popular for training purposes. I have heard that this type of training is called a “brick” because your legs feel heavy (like bricks) when you get off the bike and start running. I don’t know if this is really how this term was chosen, but I do know that your legs can feel that way!
For this workout, I biked for 90 minutes on the trainer (relatively high intensity session) but it had lots of gear shifting and different sets to focus on, so time went pretty quickly. I got off the bike, put on running shorts/shoes and ran outside for 35 minutes. The goal of the run for this brick was to just get the legs going and maintain good form, despite feeling fatigued. The course in/around my neighborhood has decent rollers, so running from the house is always interesting. I ran a total of 3.71 miles at 9:26 pace. Lesson learned: I had enough to eat/drink on the bike, but I did not take in enough to sustain myself well for the 35 minute run after. At the 1.5 miles mark, I realized that I should have eaten more. I will make adjustments for next time!
First Outdoor Ride of the Year 2 hours 46 minutes; 46 miles
A couple of things that make me smile about this week:
1 – I successfully woke up early on four mornings and trained before work. For this girl (I am not a morning person), I am proud that I conquered the early morning!
2 – Three swims in four days of training!
Time: 11 hours 3 minutes
Swim: 6,800 yards
Bike: 87 miles
Run: 10.32 miles
Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!
After a Saturday morning of training followed by an afternoon of “stuff”, ideas for dinner were being driven by my growling stomach! When I got home a bit after 5:00, Tony and I were discussing dinner ideas which turned into an impromptu sushi night out with our neighbors. I want to explain a bit about our neighbors. Usually, neighbors are people that you end up moving in next door to or vice versa. That happened with this family, initially, but we ended up leaving the neighborhood where we met and moved together to our current neighborhood. We are so fortunate to have people living next door that you can count on for just about anything…a cup of milk, a dog sitter or someone that you can turn to in the case of an emergency. We are very lucky to have neighbors that are true friends!
I suggested a restaurant called Shaba Shabu and everyone was game! We had been there several times and I love sushi with the BOGO option! Service was slow, but that gave us plenty of time to chat, catch up and share some laughs!
It is funny how someone can live next door and you can go for weeks with just a passing wave while coming and going or a quick chat in the driveway to check in. It had been too long since we spent some QT with them. We had a great evening and I was glad all our schedules allowed for this impromptu dinner out! Plus the sushi was tasty and really hit the spot!!
The plan for Sunday was a bike ride in the forecasted 67 degree weather! Most of our riding peeps were out of town or unavailable, so Tony and I hit the road together. We planned to leave for our ride around 11:00, but ended up heading out around 11:45.
It felt nice outside, but we quickly realized that it was rather windy. We had a headwind that was not too fun, but the couple of times we had the tail wind, it was great! This training ride was planned for 2 hours and 45 minutes and my goal was getting time on the legs and in the saddle, without a real concern for speed. It has been a couple of months since I have ridden on the road, so I was glad to have the weather cooperate to allow us to get outside without wearing 2-3 layers! The course is one we have done many times before, but not exactly this way. It contains some rollers which keeps things interesting. Despite a few areas with bad pavement, this course is really a good one. Tony planned the route to estimate a ride time of 2:45 and I will say that he did a great job planning!
I was happy to have had a warm February day to get in the first outdoor ride of 2014. I was even happier that Tony rode with me and plans to support me on many rides to come!
Considering the amount of time I have spent swimming these past five days, I should have really wrinkled fingers…or look like this:
Well, maybe Ariel is a bit extreme, but wrinkled fingers could have happened!!
It is no secret that I don’t love to swim. I recognize the benefits and am very glad that I do swim. Not just so I can compete in triathlons, but it is such a great exercise, and I am glad I have it in my repertoire. Running can be hard on the body and swimming offers such great benefits, the main one being that it is non-impact.
Over the fast five days, I have been in the pool four times (yikes!!). For me, that is extreme. After my swim tonight, I started thinking about my volume. I have swum 9300 yards (double yikes!!), over the past five days. Technically, I am overlapping my training weeks a bit. Sunday was the last day of my first training week and was a swim day. Then for my second week, I swam Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The good news is that I have completed my swims for training week #2 with a total of 6800 yards.
These last four swims have been endurance swims. The focus has been on slow to moderate effort sets with very short rest breaks in between sets, with the longest of the sets being 500 yards. I have tried my best to continue to hold true to the short rest sets. I believe this is where the true benefit is gained in these type sets.
There are several take aways from these sessions that I am pleased with. I have been able to maintain good breathing (not shallow) and despite feeling fatigue later on in the sessions, I was able to maintain consistency and keep my times relatively flat.
Over the past several years that I have been swimming, I have had so many workouts that I have not been happy with. To be honest, probably more that I was not happy with than those I have been happy with. So, I try to find positives to take away from my swims. Currently, I feel I have several, and that is exciting. I have two tough training sessions this weekend, but hopefully those will go well and I will end training week #2 on a high note!
In a nut shell, I will say that week one went well. I am glad to have the first week of training under my belt and look to the progressions I will be making over the coming months. The big lesson I learned this week is to find a balance of commitment and flexibility. One of the main reasons I say this can be summed up in the photo below:
I had my plan laid out for the week. However, the plan did not allow for weather related issues! So, by Monday night when it was predicted that snow would be falling in our area Wednesday evening (the same time I would be leaving to go to the pool for a swim workout), I decided to move my swim ahead to Tuesday evening. In hindsight, that was the perfect decision. I don’t love going to the pool two evenings in a row, but I must do what I must do to get my training in! By Wednesday evening, we had approximately 3 inches of snow and sleet was falling.
So the week looked like this:
Monday (overall I felt good about both sessions)
Bright and Early morning (it was still very dark outside) = 50 minute bike workout focusing on strength (big gears).
*Evening = 1600 yard swim session with the main set focusing on speed. (So far, all the swims have a standard 500 yard warm-up mixed with easy effort/drills/pull buoy and an easy 200 cool down.)
Tuesday (swim again – with a training partner!)
*Evening = 1500 yard swim session with the main set focusing on speed again. Overall a good session, but I need to concentrate more on my form on the fast intervals and not get “frantic”.
Wednesday (learning session)
Wednesday was a run day. I ran an hour on the treadmill with the goal being “target race pace”. After much consideration, Tony and I decided what this “target” pace would be. I have never run a full marathon, so it is rather difficult to nail this down and still have a session that is beneficial. I checked a few resources on-line to calculate the target pace and I started with this and adjusted it based on my runs over the past couple of months. This training session was a learning session. As noted in my last post, I understand the importance of good nutrition and today I failed in this area. Basically, I did not eat timely or enough to sustain an hour run. It basically was because of the snow hitting and me trying to leave the office before the roads got too bad (which was after my normal lunch time but before I actually ate lunch) and my 35 minute commute turning into a 2+ hour drive home. Bottom line is that I made it through the run, but felt lethargic and my heart rate was higher that it should have been given my pace and effort level. Improvement opportunities noted!
Thursday (overall I felt good about both sessions)
* Morning = 50 minute bike trainer session with a mix of low and high cadence work.
*Evening = 37 minute run with hill repeats on the treadmill (hill work totaled 12 minutes of the run). I have actually never done hill repeats on the treadmill. I have done some hill workouts, but not what would be called “hill repeats”. I think I chose the settings well on the treadmill and had a good session.
Friday – REST DAY!
Saturday – I had originally “hoped” that the weather would cooperate and allow for an outdoor ride. The forecast looked too cold and windy to venture out for a long ride. Therefore a 2.5 hour session on the trainer was in order. Tony was awesome and did the ride with me! We moved our trainers down to the living room (we usually keep them set up in my office upstairs), but the long session required some extreme entertainment. We were able to watch the USA vs. Russia Olympic hockey game while we completed our workout. It was perfect timing and helped the time pass (plus it was a totally awesome and memorable game!!). The session alternated between easy spinning and target race pace. It was challenging during the race pace sessions, but even better was getting that much time in the saddle…it has been a while since I was on the bike for that length of time.
Sunday (I had a training partner again today!!)
*Recovery Run – 20 minutes
*Swim – 2500-yard endurance swim with main set including 6×200 with 20-second rest and 6×200 with 15-second rest. The 200s I focused on an easy effort with the 100s I focused on a moderate effort. The very short rest periods are what make this set challenging. I really tried to stick to the allotted rest times. I was pleased with this swim session.
Week One Snapshot:
Swimming: 5600 yards
Biking: 4.5 hours on the trainer
Running: 12 miles
I will leave you with these two photos of our girl, Jovi, enjoying playtime in the snow!
We know that triathlon includes the three legs of swimming, biking and running. However, the fourth leg of triathlon is truly nutrition. The nutrition of what you have on race morning and during the race is key, but also important is what you eat during training. You use training time to figure out which nutrition works while you are out on a long bike or run and it will take a bit of time to “dial in” this piece to know what my plan will be on race day. I know what has worked for me on half Ironmans, and I can use this as a starting point, but my nutrition plan for Lake Placid will involve so much more. I will continue to post over the next several months as I try new things for drinking and eating to figure out my plan for race day.
Early on my focus will include what I eat during the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. As my training hours slowly escalate and will often include two training sessions a day, what I eat becomes even more important and will contribute to successful training days. Over the past number of years as I have become fitter and healthier, I began experimenting more in the kitchen. I enjoy reading various food blogs and browsing Pinterest to get ideas and new recipes to try. I like to cook and try new recipes and if they are healthy AND taste great, it is a bonus! Here are some recipes that I made this week…
On Sunday night, I made this Cashew Chicken recipe from How Sweet It Is. I doubled the recipe and we had the leftovers Monday night. Tony and I enjoyed this dish (we served ours over brown rice) and I will definitely make it again!
Photo from How Sweet It Is food blog.
During the week, I planned ahead for lunches and made this Vegetarian Quinoa Chili recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. Tony was not excited about the idea of this dish since he is not a fan of quinoa. However, I made it anyway and he has already had it for two lunches! His comment was that it had lots of flavor and I agree! I will be making this dish again as well. (If you are not familiar with quinoa, don’t be afraid to give it a try! It is a grain and it adds a little texture to this dish. Quinoa is a good source of protein and fiber and is considered to be easy to digest.)
Photo from Two Peas & Their Pod food blog.
Since Friday was Valentine’s Day, Tony and I made a special dinner to enjoy. We had steak (Tony’s favorite), baked coconut shrimp, roasted potatoes and asparagus.
I had made the Coconut Shrimp recipe one time before and I thought it would be a nice compliment to our special dinner. The recipe is from Skinny Taste food blog. (Note: I also made the sauce included in the recipe, but used orange marmalade.)
I encourage you to try one of the recipes I have included. Since cooking is a big part of my “Tri Inspired Life”, I will continue to share tasty recipes that you may enjoy as well!
This week is the official start to my Ironman training program. I am using a 24-week plan I found on Training Peaks that is targeted for hilly courses such as Lake Placid. I have lots of emotions as the official training begins.
On one hand it is hard to believe the start is here, because it just seems like yesterday that I was registering for the race…but on the other hand, I selected the plan back in December, so it seems like a while that I have had the plan ready to go. Most importantly, I am excited that it is here. This is a huge goal and I am ready to start working toward accomplishing my goal. I know that there is tremendous work ahead of me, but I am ready to get started. There has been so much anticipation leading up to this point.
During my training, my plan is to take one week at a time/one workout at a time. I know with the volume that the plan includes, the amount of work can seem overwhelming. I am going to try to keep it all in perspective and focus on working to the best of my ability. I also know that I will have plenty of highs and lows so I will aim to keep my eye on the prize.
“Off season” to triathletes can mean as many different things as the number of people you ask. For some, off season means a larger focus on strength training, other activities such as mountain biking or really no true routine at all.
I have to guess for a large majority, off season includes time away from the pool. For me, that has been the case in years past. Even though I KNEW that I should be spending more time in the pool during the winter, I just could not make it a regular occurrence in the colder months. I would hit the pool now and again, but that does not foster improvement.
Over the past few years, my off season has included a focus on strength training with a run or session on the bike trainer typically thrown in during the week. Leading up to the year of the Ironman, I knew that this off season needed to be a bit different. First and foremost, I HAD to spend time in the pool. No excuses any longer. So, the general plan for the off season included:
- At least 2 swims a week
- Time off from running (6 week break from mid-October to late November) and then gradually work it back into rotation
- Stretching and flexibility
- Focus on core strength
- Bike sessions to maintain a good base
I did a pretty good job sticking to my plan, with a few exceptions. On average, I hit the pool twice a week. I have spent time with a friend that graciously agreed to help me improve my swim, so my focus over the past few months has been on technique, form and drills. My stroke is the best it has been and I am hopeful that my improved technique will translate to increased speed when I start my IM training plan.
I took time off from running which really seemed weird while I was doing it. I wanted to try to heal a few aches and pains and when I started running again after Thanksgiving, I thought my plan had worked. The one thing that I had not committed to, though, was stretching and flexibility…
Stretching and flexibility is an area that I slacked in. Once I started running again with some frequency, I did feel some of those aforementioned aches and pains. SOOOO, stretching quickly entered my regiment. I knew this was something I truly needed to be serious with, so for the past 5-6 weeks, I have been doing yoga and regular stretching and it is amazing how much better I have felt on the run!!
While I took time off from running, I did regular core workouts. I found some new workouts to try on the Nike Training Center app and it was nice to mix things up a bit. The core workouts started to trickle off when the running picked up again. However at the start of January, I committed to myself that I would incorporate an ab workout, at a minimum twice/week, until my IM training starts.
Time on the bike is always easy for me to accomplish. The bike is my favorite of the triathlon legs, so I was able to incorporate regular training sessions. Since mid-December or so, I have made the conscious effort to work on climbing, since the Lake Placid course is hilly. Every other workout would involve hill simulation. I have started to notice an increase in my average watts on several of my workouts, so I am hopeful that my off season bike time will pay off!
I have enjoyed mixing things up during the offseason and am pleased that I was able to stick to my “general” plan pretty well. It was nice to have the flexibility to incorporate whatever workouts I chose. However, my personality type likes structure, so following and sticking to a training plan typically suits me. In a short time, I will be venturing into new territory, so we will see what the future holds!
As I briefly mentioned earlier, I made the decision to sign up for an Ironman in late June/early July 2013. I had completed my second half Ironman in early June (Raleigh 70.3 inaugural race) and the thoughts really continued to creep into my mind. At that time, I was fitter than I had ever been and despite a few aches and pains in my knees, hips and feet, I decided that I was HEALTHY and should take full advantage of this (I feel we often take good health for granted). So… “which race do I want to do”? (Easy question with a not so easy answer.) I decided that I wanted to choose a race venue that we could drive to (super long drive times were not excluded). The idea of transporting my bike and all the required gear by some other means besides packing it into the 4Runner, was too much to consider at the time. So quickly, the options were Lake Placid, Wisconsin, Florida, Louisville, in addition to a “yet to be announced Ironman in 2014 in the Southeast”. Louisville was immediately ruled out due to the hot weather and high humidity that is typically associated with that race (Tony, my super-duper supportive hubbie, was very fortunate the year he raced it, with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s). Florida was also quickly eliminated due to the ocean swim (swim is my weakest leg of the three) and the unpredictability of swimming in the Gulf and the thought of how much salt water I would drink accidently consume, helped make that decision. The “yet to be announced Ironman” was tempting. From my research, it was supposed to be announced by WTC (World Triathlon Corporation) by the end of July and was likely to be in September 2014 in the Southeast (possible NC venues were in the mix). So, down to Wisconsin, Lake Placid and the “TBD” venue.
I read numerous blogs and forums online about Lake Placid and Wisconsin. I was looking for any and all information on the course and different people’s experiences, which would help make my decision. I talked (exhaustively) with Tony and other Ironman friends for their insight. I also read anything I could possibly find on the “yet to be announced venue”. So, after weighing all the factors, the decision was Lake Placid in 2014!!
Up next…the true nail biter…registering on July 29! I had read that registration sells out relatively quickly. Registration opened at noon and I had already logged into active.com (after ensuring a few days earlier that my registration was up to date) and starting refreshing the registration site at least ten minutes prior to noon. At this point, my biggest fear was the race selling out before I was able to register, especially after all the consideration I had put into making my decision! I was really a complete bundle of nerves! I don’t remember that last time I felt that way! Registration finally opened and within minutes, I WAS REGISTERED! YIKES! No turning back now! At that moment, I knew that in approximately 364 days, I would be giving my all to become an Ironman!
I made the decision to sign up for an Ironman in late June/early July 2013. I had completed my second half Ironman in early June (Raleigh 70.3 inaugural race) and the thoughts of Ironman really continued to bounce around my mind. After the process of selecting the race, signing up and being both emotionally and financially committed (all the details on race selection and registration will follow), I decided that I would like to keep a training journal. This journal would not be used to maintain workouts and stats (I use Garmin Connect for that), but to log my thoughts and experiences from training. From my triathlon training (from sprints, olympic distances to half Ironmans), I learned that it is a roller coaster ride. Lots of hard work and feelings that range from “I am going to kick some serious booty in this race” to “there is no way I am going to be able to run 13.1 miles after pushing through 56 on the bike”. There are times when I wish I could go back and remember the details of some of those experiences. Pushing through tough training days and basking in the glory of “good” training days, allows individual growth in ways that I would have never imagined.
Keeping a journal is something I considered. However, with knowing all the hours I will be spending in training, I feel I would probably start off well with logging my entries, but then fall off as training picks up. Then I figured if I blogged about my experiences, instead of just writing it in a journal, I might be a bit more accountable. So, that is what I am going to do. Enter “Tri Inspired Life”…
Early last year, I suggested to a friend to write a blog while he trained for the Ironman World Championship. He thought about it and initially questioned “who will read it”? Well, he ended up blogging all through his training and I read every post and thoroughly enjoyed tracking his training (even though I saw him regularly and even biked and swam with him on occasion). I think his family and many other friends also enjoyed his regular updates and being able to support him from wherever they were. In addition to my friend’s blog from last year, I follow many different blogs about triathlon, running and food (both healthy eating and the ones with the cupcakes flowing), and really enjoy reading their experiences and learning new things. You somehow “get to know” a person through their blog and there are several blogs I try to read on a daily basis, so I don’t miss any new stories!
So, here is my attempt at “blogging”! I welcome any comments, support or advice as I train and live my life to attack this beast called Ironman!
After much thought and lots of research, I am going all in with this blog! With my “Tri Inspired Life” I hope to share my story that shows how one step in the right direction really changed my life in great ways and continues to motivate me in ways I never imagined! With the next 6 months of my life proving to be the most challenging I have faced, why not start my blog with sharing the ups/downs, successes and failures on the internet!!!??? I am really an “ordinary” girl and not a professional writer, by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope you will find some part of my blog enjoyable and come back for frequent visits!