Archive for May 2014 | Monthly archive page
As the training plan progresses, I am getting into some unfamiliar territory with distances I have to complete. This week included the longest bike ride I have ever done and a run distance that I have only surpassed once. These are the times I try to think about how far I have come in the sport of triathlon and not all the work that I have left to do.
PM – 2800-yard swim – I felt pretty good during this swim. The main set included intervals that I have done several times. Just as time passes, I have been required to do more of them. This session was 14 of these intervals…100 moderate/:15sec rest/50 fast/:30 sec rest. I did a decent job of pushing myself (the 100s were at a “moderate plus” effort) and I held the pace pretty well. For most of my 100s, I was able to maintain 1:48-1:49 average pace. The last few took a lot more to stay within my range, but I held on as best I could.
PM – 2 hours 15 minute run – This long run started similarly to my last long run. I got going, but was not really feeling great or into a groove. It is especially difficult when you start a long run not feeling like you want. It makes you wonder if the feeling will continue the entire time…you can only hope that you get to feeling better and can fall into a pace that is comfortable and sustainable. Around 4.5 miles, at my first turn around; I took a very short break and took a gel. Just as I was starting back, I saw Tony. The plan was for him to join me on the greenway around mile 9, but he opted to jump on the mountain bike and meet me sooner. As always, I was happy to see him. I keep chugging along and was updating him on how I felt. After another mile or two, I gradually felt better. (I told Tony that he was my good luck charmJ). I knew I still had a lot of miles still to go, but was relieved to be settling in.
The run was in the late afternoon…it was a little warm, but not hot. I was trying out my new Nathan Hydration Pack that Tony surprised me with.
In the past, I have used a hydration belt, which I like a lot, but with the longer distance, I needed access to more water. With this, I will add that on runs I am aiming to take in gels and chews. I try to eat at least every 2 miles and will take a gel around half way (if not sooner). I was going with this plan, but will modify since this run. I need more calories than what I have been taking in.
I started to fade later in the run. The last 15 minutes were a tremendous struggle. I just had to focus on finishing and nothing else, other than drinking. After I stopped, everything from the waist down ached! YIKES! I walked slowly to the car and could not wait to sit. As we walked back, Tony was noticing how much salt was on my clothes and my face. I had not taken any salt tabs, as I would typically plan to do when it is hot outside. I did not feel that I had sweat excessively, but I sure did sweat out a lot of salt (I saw after I got home and looked in the mirror at my face). So, the conclusion from this tough run and how badly my legs felt after I finished was that I was cramping due loss of sodium. Going forward I will take salt tabs to help prevent this from occurring, even if I think it is not that hot out! After we got home and cleaned up and ate dinner, I spent lots of time stretching and foam rolling, which seemed to help a lot!! My run totals were 14.54 miles at an average pace of 9:17.
AM – 75 minutes on the bike trainer – I had another early morning on the trainer after a long run. SURPRISINGLY, my legs felt decent. Sure, there was some soreness, but I think I did a REALLY good job of stretching and foam rolling. YAY me! 75 minutes of hard gear and low cadence. I had 5 minute intervals with 5 minutes rest. Heart rate stayed pretty low. I certainly worked hard, as evidenced by the sweat dropping off my body, but stayed in a good range. Nothing too exciting to report…I did watch the season finale of Amazing Race which helped pass the time!!
PM – 2500-yard swim – I don’t have the opportunity to say this very often, so when I do have the chance, I take advantage…I had a GREAT swim!!! Woo hoo! 2500 yards and I was super pleased with my session. I had a slight “ugh…I have to swim” moment when I was walking out to the pool from the locker room, but I knew this session would feel short in comparison to the 3500+ yard sessions I had tackled. Plus one of my motivator songs came on my ipod just as I was sliding into the pool for my warm-up…perfect timing!!! My 3x300s to start were good time wise and then one of my true tests was the 3×200 slow/mod/fast. I have mentioned before that I had struggled with having distinct differences in my speed. This is an area I have improved upon and I think I rocked it pretty well here. The slow is easy…just stay in the zone and think about form. The moderate is a comfortable effort, but it is easy to push past. I often times swim at a “moderate plus” effort because I feel I need to extend my effort more. Then the fast is a challenge. You definitely want to push yourself hard but not too hard that you run out of steam before finishing the set. I think I hit the efforts pretty spot on and I was rewarded with the times I saw on my Garmin. The main set ended with 12x25s alternating easy and fast pace.
AM – 55 minutes on the bike trainer – The main set included 2×15 minute intervals with alternating cadence between 85 and 95 (lactate threshold efforts). I was able to keep my heart rate within range well…started to creep up during the last 5 minutes, but overall, I was in the zone! I enjoyed watching “Revenge” (I think it was the last episode before the season finale) and get another bike session checked off the list.
PM – I had a 45 minute steady run on the treadmill. I was feeling good early on, so I added the extra tenth in speed that I have been toying with over the fast few runs. I was able to keep this pace for a little more than half the run. I could have probably held on, but that was have been pushing it more than what I needed to do for this workout. I ended up with 5.54 miles and 8:07 average pace. I was pleased with this considering it was my last day before rest day after a very full solid week of training.
Friday 5/23 REST DAY!
5 hours on the bike – I must admit, I was a little nervous going into this ride. The 4.5 hour ride I did before, I had some tough moments. I really wanted to have a good ride and I just did not know how much I would have to overcome to get in my five hours. This would be my longest ride to date.
I had two major goals for this ride. The first was to eat ALL that I planned to eat. Last long ride I am certain that I did not take in enough calories and it is super important that I get this piece of my race plan dialed in more as I approach race day. The second goal was to finish the five hours and feel somewhat decent. I knew it would take a lot out of me, but I did not want to be totally wiped at the end of the ride.
For the day, I planned two 2.5-hour routes. The first route, I was joined by two friends, Susanne and Neil. We had a good ride on one of my usual routes. I stayed focused on eating and drinking and we were holding a fair pace, but not pushing too hard. We rode back to the house for a quick rest/re-stock and for Tony to join in. Susanne and Neil decided to continue on with us as the second route we had planned is great in that it is easy to get in good miles, but you are never really too far from the house. They accompanied us for an additional 15 miles or so and then it was just me and Tony to finish out the 5 hours. I continued to focus on my nutrition and how I was feeling. Tony suggested for the last hour that I when I had the pull, to really push hard. He wanted me to hold it just as long as I could, whether it was 5 minutes or 15 minutes. After I gave what I had, Tony took the pull for me to get some recovery. This worked well and I felt better that I had anticipated. This is somewhat like what I will plan to do on race day…take the first half of the bike easy and then ramp it up a bit for the second half. I finished the five hours with 86.24 miles and an average pace of 17.3. Most importantly, I ate everything I planned and felt decent when I was done.
We had a last minute invite for a day trip down to Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach. It is nearly impossible for me to pass on a chance to visit Wilmington since it is one of my very favorite places. We accepted the invitation, but I knew I still needed to get in my training. I awoke early Sunday morning for a speedwork session on the treadmill. I had 4×10-minute intervals with 2 minutes recovery between sets. This was a tough one! I really had to mentally focus to stay strong and hold on to my pace. At one point I thought to myself how crazy it was for me to be doing speedwork the morning following an 86-mile bike! I was happy to finish up because that meant I was that much closer to heading to the beach!
We were having a super great visit, but after enjoying lunch and some relaxation on the beach, I had an open water swim to attack. The swim was on my plan and I had scheduled another open water swim at Falls Lake. Since we were headed to the beach, the venue shifted to the Atlantic Ocean! I wanted to get in an hour…BUT…plans changed a bit after we felt the conditions. The ocean was rough and I was not sure how much I would be able to get in. I told myself to shoot for a mile. While I have swum in the ocean a few times for some sprint triathlons, they were relatively short distances. Somehow I held on and got in one mile. It was super tough and I was pleased with my efforts. Due to the waves and chop, I changed my typical swim pattern from bilateral breathing to breathing on just one side. Despite the change, I still took in plenty of salt water, but it was better than what it would have been otherwise. Tony swam with me for a bit, but after a while he decided that he was not having fun and walked the beach as I swam. I would have done the same thing, had I not been training!
Time: 14 hours 33 minutes
Swim: 7,060 yards
Bike: 111.5 miles
Run: 28 miles
Stretching/foam rolling: I did pretty well this week!!
In a nutshell, this was a fairly tough week…probably more mentally than anything else. I was battling getting enough sleep and some late nights at the pool (therefore getting home late) due to long planned swims coupled with fighting traffic to make it to the pool after work. I did have a couple of highlights that made me smile including my Tuesday morning run and my Thursday evening bike trainer session.
AM – 60 minutes on the bike trainer –The main set of the trainer session was 3×10 minutes at lactate threshold with alternating cadences every one minute. Heart rate did not go super high, but it was still a challenge. Really, nothing is easy with this training!
AM – 75 minute steady run – This was my earliest alarm so far for training. It went off at 4:45am and I knew I had a long run in front of me. No need to dabble…the only way it was going away was to knock it out!! The plan was a 75-minute steady run on the treadmill. After a thorough warm-up I was at it. SURPRISINGLY, I felt good, despite the severe darkness that still remained out the window. After about 30 minutes in, I adjusted the speed by .1 every now and again and would leave it at the higher setting for one song. Then I would adjust it back down. I did this back and forth several times and then for the last couple of miles, I felt I had enough left in the tank to keep the higher pace. The gradual increases continue to help me get stronger and have a direct impact on my long runs. I finished the 75 minutes with 9.15 miles.
PM – 3100-yard Swim – This was a mix of easy/moderate/fast sets using varying distances. If felt fair starting out. I was a little concerned that my super early session would impact this late swim. My breathing felt a bit shallow for the first part of the workout. This is something that I used to feel very often, but as I have spent more and more time in the pool, it has become rare. The couple of things that did stand out to me is that I had a 3×200 set with efforts of easy/moderate/fast. So essentially the first interval is slow and the last is fast. In the past, I have not had an appropriate differential between the varying efforts…sure some, but not what one would expect. This was a good gauge and I felt that I had improved in this area. I focused on keeping the slow effort in check and not gradually speeding up and pushed to try to maintain the fast where I could. The last set was 6×100 building speed over the 100. I would swim the first 25 at a slow effort the middle 50 moderate and the last 25 fast. I basically hit the same times for all 6 100s. I was running out of steam, but I had just enough to finish up consistently!
PM – 3700-yard Swim – This was another long day in the pool. I had a main set of 4×750 with 1 minute rest between sets. These are tough after a full day to get motivated about. I just have to take the mindset and “just go and get it knocked out”! I can’t focus on how long I will be in the pool…just do it! I felt ok, but my times were not quite where I want them. I was able to get through the main set of 3,000 yards with my average pace holding at 1:58 per 100 yards.
AM – Speed work on the treadmill – So my speed workouts have changed again a bit more. The intervals for last couple of sessions were 10 minutes and had worked up from two sets to three. This change was to 15 minute intervals. I had to run two this times and they were tough! The total time was still 30 minutes, but holding that pace for 15 minutes at a time was a real challenge. I ran my way through it and was able to keep my average pace about the same as 7:30.
PM – 2 hours on the bike trainer – I had planned to join an outdoor group ride from a local tri store, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. We ended up having some where around 3-4 inches of rain, so time on the trainer it was! Once again, I opted to ride the Have Mercy Spinervals DVD. As I described a few weeks ago, this session really gives you a big bang for your buck. Going into the workout, I was dragging a bit. I was not looking forward to spending two hours on the trainer. I was bummed that the weather forced a change of plans. However, I got going, I pushed through really well and was very pleased with my effort! I was excited that my total average watts increased 22 points from the previous time I performed this workout. I think the change is a combination of me getting stronger, but also some recent fit changes made to my bike. My range of motion of the pedal stroke has increased slightly, which seems to allow me to push more power.
Friday – Rest Day!!
2 hours on the bike followed by 50 minute run
Tony and I rode out from our house a bit after 7:30am. It was rather chilly as I needed the arm warmers. We chose one of our frequent routes. I was feeling fine but it was obvious that my legs were feeling the some left over effects from my trainer session Thursday. It seemed that when I hit the hills, I did not have the normal power in my legs. The wind was a bit unkind as well. We had a total of 35 miles at 17.6 mph.
50 minute run – Solo run in my/surrounding neighborhoods. Still my legs were not hitting really hard, so this was not a very fun run. Unfortunately, I had to walk a couple of the hills and I only allowed myself to do so for a short time. My approach is always to stop my Garmin when I walk because when I go out for a timed run, I am supposed to run a certain amount of time. Where walking may have to happen, I still feel I need to run the set amount of time. I ran 5.71 miles at 8:46 avg pace.
Open Water Swim – I met the same couple of friends from last weekend, but they brought a few others. There were a total of six of us swimming! The day was a bit cooler and overcast as compared to the prior Sunday. Even though the water temperature was reading as being warmer, I thought it was MUCH chillier (in my wetsuit)!!! It took a bit for me to warm up and my breaths felt shallow at first. After the first 300-400 meters, I fell into my pace and my breathing was normal. The group re-grouped twice, generally for safety, but other than that, I was feeling strong and I was really concentrating on my stroke with high elbows and long reaches. I really felt good during this swim. We had some current head on and we swam back to shore, but nothing too bad. All in all, no complaints on this OWS…other than the chilly water! I finished up with 1.39 miles in 47:06.
Bike Hill Repeats
After the swim, I met Tony to do hill repeats on Raven Ridge Road. This was not necessarily a big hill, but we knew this stretch of road had some challenge to it with some gradual climbs. The “downhill” section actually had a slight gradual climb as well, so it was not pure recovery. The “climb” section was right around 3 miles and the time of five repeats ranged from 10:36 – 11:04. I was definitely struggling with this workout. I was fighting fatigue in the legs and just not really wanting to be on the bike. I made it through and completed all five repeats with a total of 31.93 miles in 1 hour 52 minutes and average pace of 17 mph.
Time: 13 hours 44 minutes
Swim: 9,246 yards
Bike: 104 miles
Run: 21.13 miles
Stretching/foam rolling: Getting in a little more…
So, training week #13 marks the first week into the second half of my training plan. It was an exciting week as I hit a couple of milestones!!
AM – 54 minutes on the treadmill with the main set focused on speed work – Yikes! This sure was a way to get the training week going. This was a tough, tough interval run with 3×10 minutes on the treadmill with 2 minutes rest between intervals. I have gradually worked up to this quicker pace the last couple of speed work sessions, but this one really had me focusing hard to finish. Last week I did a 2×10 at this speed, so that extra 10 minutes really was a challenge. I pushed through and was happy to finish it up! The main set totaled 4.4 miles with the speed sets averaging 7:32.
AM – 75 minutes on the bike trainer – 6×5 minute intervals using a big gear and low cadence. There is plenty of rest between intervals (5 minutes). Felt pretty good during the workout.
PM – 2500-yard swim with speed focus on the main set – I felt good early on and did fatigue at the end, but I was able to push pretty consistently throughout the workout. I was pleased with my overall average pace of 1:47 for the 1800 yards main working set.
PM – Long Run – I will start this run recap with a little bit of history. For a while, I have had the goal to run a half marathon distance at sub 2-hours. I have only run this 13.1 mile distance a hand full of times…twice in Half Ironman races and a few times in training leading up to those races. I thought maybe one day I would train for a half marathon race (just the run) and work toward that goal. Going into today, my plan was a 2 hour long run. My last long run was 1 hour 50 minutes and I ran a pace that would meet this goal…however, that day I was able to put out a really great run. I was not putting pressure on myself for this run to meet that goal. All I could focus on going in was just having another good training run and overcoming whatever obstacles came my way.
Tony and I went to the typical greenway we have used for all the long runs. We got going and pretty quickly I realized that I didn’t have a lot of pep in my step. I thought to myself that I don’t need to worry…I just need to get really warmed up before I fall into my groove. After a couple/few miles in, I really did not feel too energetic. I was not necessarily feeling bad; my legs were just super heavy. I mentioned this to Tony and he did what he always does…put things in check and told me things to focus on, such as my breathing. Even if he is not feeling great, he just tries to respond to how I am feeling with sound advice. All I could do was just stay focused and not really worry about time or speed, just trying to fall into a pace that I could maintain for the long haul. We got to our first turn around at 4.5 miles and I was feeling a (tiny) touch better. I just had to maintain what I was doing and keep moving. At around the 9 mile mark, we passed the point where we started our run on the greenway. We then continued on in the south bound direction (we started out going north). We only needed a couple miles out and then a couple miles back. These are the miles where I had to dig deep and keep my mental game in place, as much as possible. As we neared the time of our run where we are around 2 miles to go, Tony mentioned that we would have to pick up our pace a bit to hit 13.1 under 2 hours. Sure, I wanted it, but I told him that I could only really focus on finishing. Well, apparently, I had another gear down deep and gradually ramped it up. My fastest mile of the entire run was mile 12. We stopped at 13.1 miles and the total time was 1:59.32. I did it! Somehow, I did it. It was a great feeling, but ouch!!!…my legs were burning! It was great to reach this milestone and somehow even sweeter considering how I up and down I felt during the run. I was proud of myself for staying strong and pushing through this run. Even if I had not hit the 13.1 miles in the time, I would have still been pleased for getting it done, but this was extra sweet!!
AM – 50 minutes on the bike trainer – As would be expected, my legs were pretty tired on Thursday morning. The main set of the trainer session was 2×10 minutes at lactate threshold with alternating cadences every one minute. Heart rate did not go super high, but it was still a challenge. It is always hard to train after a long run, but I tell myself that it really does help my legs recover.
PM – 2500-yard swim – It is always exciting to start the last workout before the rest day. It gives me a little extra “umph” going in…SO MUCH TO TRAINING IS A MENTAL GAME!!! This set involved several different intervals building speed. Going in I was feeling ok, but after I got really going, I realized that I was pretty tired. My swim was fair. The efforts required at “fast” pace were not where I wanted. I gave it all I could…that is all I ask of myself! I finished up with an overall average pace of 1:54 for the 1800 yards main working set, which was very different from Tuesday’s swim!!
The long ride was planned for 4.5 hours. I was able to find a couple of friends who were interested in riding with me for part of the time. Tim and Susanne met at my house and the three of us rolled out at 8:00 am for 2 hours. We swung back by the house for a hydration stop for me and for them to end their ride. I was so happy they were able to join me as I really enjoy riding with them both. We enjoyed a few laughs along the way…one of which was seeing a man mowing his grass by pushing a riding lawn mower. All kinds of witty comments followed that sighting!
Tony was my riding partner for the second part of the ride and he was thrilled that he had a 2.5 hour ride and not the full 4.5 hours!! I felt pretty good for the first 2 hours. I had tried to keep a check on the effort level since I had a long day in front of me. As Tony and I were headed out for part two, I was already feeling some fatigue in my legs and I could tell that mentally, I needed to check back in and pronto! After another half hour or so, I got to a better place, which I has happy about. We had some tailwinds (woo hoo!), but also some headwind and crosswinds on the way back. Luckily, nothing too bad. I was trying to stay on top of my nutrition and hydration and I still have some work to do in this area. This ride topped of at 81 miles, which is my longest ride ever. I was glad to get off the bike, but also glad to meet the milestone…it just reminds me how REAL all this training is!
I ventured out for my first open water swim of the season. The water temperature has been slowly on the rise and this was the first weekend that it was in the range that is not “too cold” in my book (I think it was around 70 degrees). A wet suit was necessary and will be for several more weeks. However, I anticipate that Lake Placid will be wet suit legal, so all the practice I can get in the suit is great. I swam with two friends that are doing Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and they have already been out in the open water for several weeks. However, they are going to have a SUPER cold swim, so they needed to somewhat know what they will be experiencing on their race day. The swim went okay. I was dragging a bit during the first part (on the swim out from shore), but after we made to turn to swim across the lake, I felt good. I felt much looser which is always a good thing for me and my stroke. Going back was decent; however, it seemed like I would never make it to back to shore! I was really glad to get out for my first OWS of the season. I will need to spend lots of time in Falls Lake to work on my sighting and consistency swimming in the lake. It is so different from the pool and I have always tried to appropriately prepare for my races by training in open water. This race will require A LOT! I ended up with 1.44 miles in 50:30.
After the swim, I headed home and had a snack. A bit later, I ventured out into the neighborhood for hill repeats. It was 12:45 when I went out, so it was warming up pretty good. After the (flat) warm-up I started my repeats. I ran 8 repeats of around 2 minutes (up) in duration. Even though the total run time was not too long, I certainly was hydrating well. This is probably the warmest day I have run so wanted to take appropriate precautions….plus I was thirsty after reaching the top each time! I was super happy to be done, get showered and cleaned up to go spend Mother’s Day with my family!
Some things that made me smile about my week:
*This will be a week that I will always remember. Breaking the 2-hour mark for a half marathon was a big deal for me. (I still remember the first time I ran 13.1 miles in 2012…it was not in a race, but training for my first half iron). It is training sessions like those where I am so incredibly grateful to have Tony by my side to experience the excitement of meeting a milestone. He logged every mile with me and was right there with I checked the Garmin and had a huge smile on my face when I saw my time! I am a lucky girl!
*A new distance milestone on my bike. I will be breaking numerous milestones over the coming weeks so this first one is a true reminder that I am really going down the Ironman path!! WOW!!
Time: 13 hours 30 minutes
Swim: 7,534 yards
Bike: 105 miles
Run: 22.5 miles
Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!
This week was another recovery week, which included reduced volumes and intensity. I was feeling some fatigue and achiness…some of which I attribute to a very solid week the week before. Here is the run down…
AM – 70 minutes on the bike trainer with the focus on hill repeats – This was a tough workout to get the training week started. I did the workout and did the best I could, I just did not have a lot of push in the pedals!
PM – 2300-yard swim with the main set focused on drills and a few speed sets. This has become a recurring workout during my recovery weeks. I did not use the Garmin due to the nature of the various sets. I just focused on form and technique. It was nice to not think about time or speed every now and again.
AM – Tempo Run (speed work) on the treadmill – After a good warm-up, I ran 3×5 minute speed sets, which was a bit shorter than the last two tempo sets I have run, but OH MY! It was another tough session. I was feeling the results of a kick-booty week last week! No worries, just pushed through and was able to hit the target pace; it was just harder to get there and maintain. The 5-minute speed intervals ranged from 7:29 – 7:33 average pace.
PM – 3700-yard swim – I am not sure if this was the longest swim I have ever done, but if not, I would say it was pretty darn close. I was in the pool forever! The main set was 3000 yards with 4×500 and then 5×200 with the pull buoy while building speed over the 200. My times for the 500s were pretty good. The first set, was awesome. My times were a little all over the place, but I was giving all my effort! I think the 200s with the buoy were really just working to ramp up total distance. I did not pay too much attention to pace, just form. My shoulders were burning BIG TIME towards the end. I finished up my swim five minutes before the scheduled closing time for the pool!
AM –55 minutes on the bike trainer with the focus being on max effort intervals. Well, any little thing I had in my legs, was completely depleted in this workout. This is really becoming one of my least favorites…not because it is not effective…it just sucks! Max effort sessions are particularly hard for me and this morning, it was brutal! I finished it up with spaghetti legs!
AM – I was having some achiness in my legs and so I decided that I would take the morning to stretch. I did a one-hour stretch session from the P90X series.
PM – Massage!! Woo hoo!! Much needed!!
PM – One-hour steady run on the treadmill. Good pace and was able to hold it throughout. Averaged 8:17 for 7.24 miles.
Brick – We met up and rode with a group of folks. There were six of us in total. It was a beautiful morning!! We did a course that is fairly familiar. It has several good rollers, which is great training. At the end of the course there is a lengthy steady climb, which Tony suggested that I hit hard with a solid tempo effort. It hurt, but I was pleased with my effort!! Overall the ride was good and I felt good. We rode just under 2 hours for a total of 35.69 miles (average 18.2 mph). Immediately after the ride we went for a run. I started out a bit tight and it took me a little while to loosen up. I ran for 5.18 miles with an average pace of 8:45.
3700 Swim – The main set included 6×500 steady effort with one-minute recovery between intervals. I was pleased with my paces for these intervals and overall for the 3,000 yard main set. Good, LONG swim!!
Time: 11 hours 38 minutes
Swim: 9,700 yards
Bike: 59.26 miles
Run: 16.92 miles
Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!
When I finished up my training yesterday (detailed weekly recap to come), I was officially at the half way mark of my plan. Twelve weeks completed and twelve weeks to go. Tony and I were talking last night that in twelve weeks, I will have completed my Ironman in Lake Placid (nothing but positive thoughts). Even though I am at this point, I do realize that I am not actually half way done with my training (volume wise). I have so many hours yet to complete and so many long training sessions in the coming weeks. These times are the ones that will continue to define my training and push me to new areas that I once thought impossible.
It is exciting, yet makes me anxious, as the time passes. Honestly, I don’t love to race, per se. I know that on race morning, my stomach will be filled with butterflies and nervous energy. Sure, I am competitive (mostly with myself) and want to kick butt on race day, but I have found that it is truly the process of training where I have really grown as an athlete and learned so much about my character. This race day will be so very different than anything I have ever experienced and I will have to pull so much from myself and rely on all these hours and hours of training. Race day is the icing on the cake and crossing the finish line makes all the hard work totally worth it. I dream of that feeling that I will have on July 27 as I cross the finish line. That thought is what keeps me going at times when I want to stop. I will continue to press hard during the next twelve weeks and totally keep my eye on the prize. Certainly, I know what I want on race day and I will continue to put in all work that I can to make my dream a reality.
Week #11 was probably the highlight week so far for my training. To date, I have had some good weeks, but usually they are good for the swim and run, but not the bike or good for the bike and run, but not the swim, etc…you get my drift. This week was spot on for all three disciplines. It was a tiring and challenging week, but I was pleased with how my body responded to the work.
AM – Tempo run (speed work) on the treadmill. This run was a good start to the training week. I had pushed my pace for the last tempo run; however, those intervals were 4×5 minutes and this run was 2×10 minute intervals. While the total time was the same, it was a challenge keeping the pace for the longer intervals, but I pushed through and held it. My first 10-minute interval was 7:33 average pace and the second was 7:31 average pace. I was happy, but tired, at the end!
PM – 2500-yard swim with the main set focusing on speed sets including 3×300; 3×200; 12x25s (odds fast, evens easy). I find it very interesting how the body responds sometimes. I often experience those days where your body (and mind) are NOT into training. Whether it is tiredness or lack of motivation, you just do not want to push the workout that day. Then there are days when you are ready to get going AND feel good during the workout, but the results are just not what you expect (JUST like one of my swims from the prior week). Well, this swim was kind of a mix up between feelings. I felt fine to get started and during the warm-up, but when I started my first interval in the main set, I felt like I was swimming through concrete! Literally, it was taking all my effort to move, but it felt like I was at a snail’s pace. I felt like this even into my second interval, but did start to loosen up. Well, to my surprise, I had some solid times. I was kind of scared to check out the time when I completed the first interval, but I literally shook my head when I saw my time. I completed the main set of 1800 yards at an average pace of 1:53. Bottom line is that you should always push yourself through thoughts and feelings of self-doubt or lack of performance. Even if you end up having a “not so great” training session, you never know when you will end up having a great one if you JUST stick with the plan!
PM – 90 minutes on the bike trainer. This workout, I began with low RPMs and adjusted the effort and gearing as necessary every minute to end the 10-minute interval at 105 RPMs. This was performed four times with no rest between. It was then finished up with 4×5 minutes with high cadence on odd intervals and low cadence on even. This was a good workout for me. The first few minutes I was feeling some fatigue in my legs, but after I got really good and warmed up, I felt better (this is fairly typical for me). I felt like I was pushing my effort levels really well. After my session, I checked my average watts and I had improved my reading 13 points since the last time I did the exact same workout from about two weeks ago. I was happy with this longer trainer ride, but was hoping that I had something left in my legs for my long run the next evening!
PM – 1 hour 50 minute run on the greenway – Wow! What an awesome run! I was hurting at the end, but I truly felt awesome for the majority of this run. I was pushing my pace pretty good…this was not a purposeful decision; I was just feeling good, so I thought it was appropriate. I definitely felt the results of my efforts during the last couple of miles. My glutes and hammies were burning! I was able to maintain a pace that I am super-duper proud of for 12.26 miles. I have never come close to maintaining this pace for a run this long. WOO HOO!!
I must give a high five to my hubbie. Once again, he joined me on this long run. I just have to reiterate that he is NOT training for anything…he chooses to go with me for support and safety. This is the same for my long bike rides. Even though he is a two-time Ironman, these distances are not easy for someone that is not consistently training/building up to longer mileage. He takes the hard way and participates on the long ones only! I could NOT ask for better support from him!!
AM – The morning after my long run, I tackled 65 minutes on the bike trainer where the focus was on big gears/low cadence (55-65 RPMs). Essentially the main set included 5×5 minute intervals with 5 minutes active recovery between intervals. I was definitely feeling my efforts from the night before, but tried to maintain my watts and not let the readings fall too low. It was a tough session, but I pushed through!
PM – 2200-yard swim with the main set focusing on speed with 10x(100 moderate/:15sec rest/50 FAST), :30sec rest between intervals. This was a solid speed set for me. I was able to improve my times a bit since the last time I swam these intervals. The 100 sets ranged between 1:47-1:49 (all below 1:50…YAY!!!) and the 50s 1:44/1:45 pace.
It was a beautiful morning for a bike ride. Tony and I headed out around 9am for a planned 4-hour ride. After 10 minutes into the ride, I had a flat!! I had just changed the tire that morning, so we knew it was a pinch flat. We were in a gas station parking lot, so at least we were in a safe location for bike maintenance. Tony immediately decided to ride back to the house (since we were so close) to grab a can of flat repair while I was changing my tire. I had a CO2 cartridge, but we wanted to be prepared in case something else happened during the ride. As I prepared to put my spare tube on the wheel, I immediately saw a hole in the spare tube! YIKES!
I quickly called Tony in hopes that he was still home. Luckily he was and he was able to bring back two tubes and the can of flat repair. I got the tire changed and we were finally back on the road! We had a good (UNEVENTFUL) rest of the ride.
During the ride, I really focused more on the timing of my nutrition and the system worked well. I have always tried to drink every 10 minutes and eat every 20 minutes. I basically did the same, but when I hit the 20 minute mark I would eat something and then again before 10 minutes passed. I don’t have a tendency to eat a lot at one time, so by having a planned “eating period” of 10 minutes every 20 minutes, I seemed to eat more and the timing was good. Tony also encouraged me to work on staying aero on the hills, as much as possible. I tried to push myself and hold to the aero position during times I would normally sit upright. It was a good challenge!
The weather was really awesome and just right for a long ride. The wind was much kinder to us as it had been during the past few weeks. We finished up the four hours at 71 miles and an average speed of 17.7mph.
After a long ride and a well-deserved afternoon relaxing on the couch, there would be no cooking dinner at home. We went out for Mexican food and margaritas!
Session #1 – 2950-yard swim…this was another endurance set. The main set was 3×750 with 1-minute rest between intervals. I felt good in the water and put in good times. I was happy to see some improvement from when I last did these intervals and that I was able to generally hold the same pace for the three sets. My times were 14:36, 14:41 and 14:40 for the 750s. This gave me an average pace of 1:57 for the 2250 main set.
Session #2 – After the long ride on Saturday and then having just finished a long swim, I was not sure how much in had in the tank for the planned steady run of 60 minutes. I was on the treadmill and for the first couple of miles, I was feeling plenty of fatigue in my legs. However, they did start to loosen and I felt good. I was hoping to keep my average pace from the last steady one-hour run I did the week before. I was happy that I improved my average pace (a little bit) over my last steady effort run. I got in 7.18 miles at an average pace of 8:21. What an awesome way to end this training week!
Time: 13 hours 40 minutes
Swim: 7,650 yards
Bike: 101.92 miles
Run: 24.32 miles
Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!