Posts Tagged ‘Training’

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When month six of the plan began, I started to feel a little excited, but I also knew that the biggest training sessions were still ahead of me.  It was time to focus on staying present and engaged in the work that remained.

Highlights:

*Twenty mile run done on Tuesday morning of week #21.  The last two long runs of the plan were split, but we decided to get the last one knocked out as a single block.  Of course logistically this is tough to complete on a work day morning, but I decided to take ½ day PTO and then work from home in the afternoon.  This allowed us to get the run in starting at 6:00am (and have enough day light to start) and have enough time to eat, shower and have a little bit of recovery before logging into work in the afternoon.  Once executed, it ended up being a great plan.  As far as the run, it was a tough one for sure!  Bill and I ran on (my favorite) greenway and for hydration purposes, we decided to run one direction for an out and back total of twelve, re-fill bottles at the car and then run the other direction for the remaining eight.  When we stopped after twelve, I was already feeling it.  Man!!  At that time, I knew that either the stop was going to help a bit or really hurt.  I actually changed shoes and socks at the car which I was happy that I had planned since I removed soaking wet socks and shoes from the first twelve miles (it was not raining).  I was fortunate enough that once I started again, after the first little bit to get going, I got the legs moving again and was ok…for a while (plus I had on dry socks and shoes which was a bonus).  I always play mind games in these runs and this one was no different.  When starting the eight, I just told myself that I had four to go before the turnaround.  At then at two miles, I told myself that I was half-way to the turnaround.  After the turnaround, I knew I was on the home stretch.  I got through the first mile and then the last three seemed to last forever.  I had to dig deep on several occasions to get it done.  But once it was done, what a feeling!

Views from my run

After making it back to the car, I was (obviously) feeling tired, but not bad.  I took off my (now) second pair of wet socks and shoes and laid a towel on the ground and put my legs up against the side of the truck.  I am a big fan of this technique and feel that I makes a big difference with recovery.  After resting for a while, Bill and I made plans to grab a bagel around the corner.

A little rest post run

All of a sudden I started feeling really bad.  A wave of lightheadedness and nausea struck.  I grabbed a couple of chews thinking my blood sugar had dropped and I think that helped after a few minutes.  I just sat for a while hoping it would pass.  Bill offered to drive me home, but I also knew that I should eat soon and the idea of a Coke sounded great (which I didn’t have at home).  At the bagel shop, I grabbed a Coke before anything else, and within a couple of minutes, I felt significantly better.  I rarely drink soft drinks, but this was the best thing ever!  I am not sure what exactly happened to me after that run as it was very different than any post run experience.  I have been using Infinit on my runs for over 18 months without issue.  Plus, I didn’t feel bad (other than tired legs) during the run and immediately after.  I guess a twenty mile run can always bring new challenges!!!

…or just the afternoon after…

*The Saturday of week #21 brought a 119 mile ride, which is the furthest I have ever ridden.  Our ride started out overcast and humid, but ended up sunny and hot!  It was a tough ride for sure as we were able to get in about 6,000 feet of climbing, but this gave me lots of confidence about my preparation for race day!  I am fortunate to have shared this ride with two awesome training partners that I will also share the race course with!

Excited to knock out 119 miles on the bike with Merrick and Bill!

*The weekend of week #22 brought the last weekend of the training plan before taper began.  Saturday we had a 75 mile bike followed by a 11.5 mile run.  Coming into the weekend, the weather was a big question mark, but we decided to roll on Saturday morning, after the chances of rain dropped a bit by Friday evening.  The ride was overcast for the majority and the sun started to peak through the clouds as we were closing in on the last couple miles of the ride.  Thankfully a good portion of the run is on the greenway with some shade which is always appreciated.  I worked to keep my mind in the game on the run and it was a great feeling to finish up, which was the longest brick session of the plan.

*That Sunday we had a big group out at the lake with three support kayaks and I knocked out 2.4 miles for the second time.  This was a great training weekend as we looked to taper to begin!

*The Saturday of week #23 was the last outside ride.  The ironic thing is that this was the only ride out of the hundreds of miles that we all have done that we met and left all together…this was a Kodak moment for sure!

The full crew 8 days out!

*That afternoon, was bike drop off for the transport to Mont Tremblant.  Leaving my bike was not easy with the expectation that I would see it again in Canada all ready to race!  I definitely felt better after I received the following email…

With training complete and my race day in two short days, I can look back and honestly say this has been a great six months.  As expected, there have been great days and some incredibly tough days, but I made it through with the support of some really awesome people in my life, as well as some grit and determination from my side.

This about sums it up!

I am ready to tackle this challenge and and let all the hard work and tons of sweat equity pay off.

I have the done what I can and now I will put it all out there on Sunday to wrap it all up.

Last but not least…my official race day bib number.

 

 

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The theme of this month ended up being this….YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!!!

Highlights/Lowlights:

*We kicked off the new training month with a new version of FTP test called the Ramp Test.  This is a new FTP format on Trainer Road and from our reading of the details, it sounded like something we definitely wanted to try.  It is advertised as “Making FTP Testing More Efficient and Less Stressful”.

These are some of the highlights from the summary: The Ramp Test is the new preferred testing protocol to estimate fitness because it does not require even pacing, is easier to repeat precisely, is less stressful on the body (allowing for follow-up workouts), hurts less, takes less time and allows for the most effective training.

I was very interested in this format.  The last FTP test I took was in week #9.  This was not a good test day for me.  I believe there were several contributing factors, but I was definitely open to something new and the description sounded ideal since being deep into training does not allow time to go into a test day with appropriate rest, as is typically recommended.   I can report that I am a big fan of this new version and I ended up being right on where I expected.  A bit of a gain and it did not leave me completely wiped out nor did I feel like I didn’t have enough in the legs to test effectively.

*For week #18, we were able to mix things up a bit and have a mid-week morning ride on  July 4th!  We did a 32 mile morning ride before I knocked out a long swim at the pool.  The afternoon involved some more pool time, but this was with friends, burgers and cocktails!

*Week #17 & week #19 we decided to incorporate another new something.  For our stand alone long runs, we broke them down into two runs in one day.  Week #17’s 17-mile run we did 9 miles in the morning and 8 miles in the evening and week #19’s 18.5-mile run we did 13 miles in the morning and 5.5 miles in the evening.  I became a fan of this format as well.  I did a lot of reading to support this approach and the pros of it reducing the risk of injury and the fact of trying to incorporate long runs in during the work week are tough with scheduling (Tuesdays are generally the day) were two main points that made a lot of sense with this structure.

Week #19’s 13 mile morning run started out with cooler temperatures.

*Three more OWS in this month….week #18 we had to move our long ride/brick to Sunday due to Saturday rain and hit the pool on the rainy day.  Still three great opportunities for long swims in the lake.  That Sunday ride was one of the toughest I had in a while.  My legs felt incredibly heavy for the entire time and we had some windy conditions that just hit me hard mentally.  Bill was super patient with me as I struggled and pulled me for 63 miles.  For 7.5 mile brick, I had absolutely no expectations, due to how I was feeling.  Somehow, I ended up have a very good run.  Shocked the heck of me, but YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!!!

T*he Saturday of week #20 brought a 67 mile ride and 9 mile brick.  This was a solid ride for me, but the run off the bike was a struggle fest!  This was just the opposite of two weeks before, when I had a tough ride and solid run.  There was so much mental gaming going on during this run, but I somehow got it done.  That’s all that matters sometimes and this is a run I can pull from on race day.

*Week #19 included a Trainer Road workout called Frissell +2.  This was a 105 minute workout that I had planned for a Wednesday evening after work.  The format of this workout 6×9-minute intervals at 95% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals.  This was a few days after my tough Sunday bike ride and one day after the split 18.5 mile run, so my confidence and leg stamina were definitely not peaking!  I will not lie….I was intimidated by this workout ON PAPER and was really dreading it.  To my surprise and pure delight, I kicked ass on the workout!  I was so stoked and felt like a million bucks afterwards.  Like I said earlier…. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!

I needed a bit if this before I tackled Frissell+2

*Getting in two “century plus” rides during the month is a huge confidence builder.  We are also getting in lots of climbing on these rides with the 105 mile ride at @5600 feet and the 114 mile ride at @5900 feet, which (in my mind) is key to preparation to Mont Tremblant.  With one more 100+ ride in the plan, I feel we will be prepared to tackle this course!

When you and your training partner start dressing alike….!!!

Month #5 Totals:

Swim: 38,664 (21.97 miles)

Bike: 542 miles

Run: 110 miles

Other: 2 yoga sessions

Total Time: 63 hours 55 minutes

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Coming into month #4, I knew this is where training would really turn the corner into less familiar territory.  Training that I have not had to do since 2014.  With the completion of the half iron distance just over a week prior, the coming months would be the type of workouts passed the half Ironman training that I am way more familiar with.  This is where the meat of Ironman training would begin.

Highlights/Lowlights

*Week #15 = Our 15.5 mile run was the longest “before work” run I have ever done!  Bill and I started running at 5:10am (I would have never run this early on the greenway by myself).  I had to pull out a head lamp which I have not run with in ages!  I don’t prefer to run in the dark since I have this fear of being clumsy and face planting, but I knew I needed to suck it up and after the first 5 minutes or so, I sort of got used to it.  We got EXTREMELY lucky and had a very mild morning with the starting temperature around 63 degrees (still humid but noticeably cooler)!  Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep very well the night before, which made the early alarm clock even more painful.

*On our recovery week (#16) ride, we decided to ride from my house to mix things up a bit.  We do ride a lot from home, but recently we have been riding from the Trek Store which allows us to have routes with a bit more climbing.  The planned route was certainly not a new route, but it gave us many surprises on this day.  We were about 12-13 miles in (58 total) and came upon road construction.  The road was not closed, but we quickly realized that we DID NOT want to be on this road.  It was sticky and lots of little rocks that were adhering to our tires.  It was a mess!  We stopped almost immediately and pulled into a gas station parking lot which was right there.  We needed to decide on a detour.  I called Tony and he provided some helpful input to bypass a stretch of the road construction and pick it up further down.  Once we got back to the planned point of re-entry, there was another sign for construction.  We didn’t want to chance anything, so took decided on the adventurous route and hit up a road we have never been on before.  This ended up being a good choice in that had decent road conditions and not a lot of traffic.  Eventually it put us on a road we did know where we had a gas station stop at exactly the half-way point!  PERFECT!  We did take a wrong turn on the way back, but nothing too tragic.  All in all, it was a successful ride, it just had more stopping than we prefer.  The down side is that the stopping and route changes/decisions took more time than we planned for the ride.  Therefore, our 6 mile brick started later than planned and IT WAS HOT (and hilly I will add)!!!

*More Hill Repeats!  Both run and bike!  Not in the same week, but it was challenging.  This time April was able to join in for the run fun!

Early morning hill repeats

*I have not done bike hill repeats (I believe) since my training for IM Lake Placid and we knew our chosen hills would be a doozy, and it did not disappoint!  Plus having this workout the day after our 15.5 mile run, was either smart planning (to give us the extra challenge) or just the opposite!

*Long ride Saturday – 96 miles during week #15 and we had two groups to maximize group ride time, even though we are on different training plans.

I will be racing with these three guys in Mont Tremblant…Matt, Bill & Merrick!

Tony joined us for the second lap (even though he is not training for any races) to offer us fresh legs to help get us to the end!

*Swim = For the first time in this training plan, breaking 10,000 yards swimming in week 14 and knocking out a 4,000 meter plus workout.  Also, being able to consistently swim in the outdoor meter pool (versus the 25 yard pool inside).  Three OWS in the month, which is a confidence builder.  There is no substitute for these long lake swims when all you have to do is “JUST KEEP SWIMMING”!

Month #4 Totals:

Swim: 36,882 (20.95 miles)

Bike: 461 miles

Run: 93 miles

Other: 2 yoga sessions

Total Time: 57 hours 4 minutes

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As triathlon became such a big part in my life, one of the things I fell in love with was what it does for me, both physically, mentally and emotionally.  After a bad day, there is no other thing I would rather do was get in a good solid training session to help me work out my frustrations or clear my mind.  It is my therapy and my outlet.

When you are training for an Ironman, sometimes you have to dig deep to find the motivation for your next workout. My training this month kind of had a different motivation….therapy.  I had some personal tragedy recently and my training has been a huge part of my getting through some very tough days these last few weeks.

There were a few days when my training was one of the only things that seemed to make sense. While my heartache will never completely go away, I know that I have a very healthy way to try to deal with some crazy emotions.  I am grateful to have this outlet….my therapy.

After a tough swim/run I had to put my legs up and was treated to this amazing view. These few minutes allowed me to regain perspective and engage in some personal reflection.

Highlights from the month:

*Knocking out a long run one morning before work.  My training buddy Bill and I decided to adjust the schedule and complete an 11 mile run early.  I was happy with the adjustment and was able to have more time during the day to get in rehydration and some much needed stretching and recovery (NormaTec boots!!!)  that evening.

*I have loved my new bike since I rode it for the very first time.  However, since I have only been riding it on the road and utilizing my Cannondale for trainer rides, I have finally put in enough miles to really be comfortable on my Trek.  Generally the biggest differences are in my position and the electronic shifting (amazing).  The shifting has now become more second nature (so I don’t have to think so much).  I am very happy to have the “Purple Butterfly”!!

*I had my first triathlon of the season.  It was a small half iron distance race in Greenville, SC called “Mountains to Main Street”.  The timing of this race fit perfectly in the training schedule plus it had a challenging bike course that would provide some solid climbing/training.  This was the first (and likely last) time for this this race, but it was very beneficial to gauge fitness, nutrition, etc for a little over 3 months away from IMMT.  **Race report to come!!**

Lowlights from the month:

*I had an FTP “re-test” on the first Monday of this four-week block and it did not go as expected.  In hindsight, I was able to identify some things that did not help me with my recovery from the weekend workouts and things I would definitely do differently, but it is always about learning and growing.

*I started having some foot/ankle issues that kind of came out of the blue.  The week before my first race it had gotten bad and I was very concerned.  I saw my PT and babied it all before the race (no running that week) in hopes that it would be ok race day.  All the details will be in my race report, but I was able to get through the run without too much discomfort or concern that I was making anything worse.  The week after I saw my PT, massage therapist and I really focused on recovery (I think my massage therapist did wonders for it).  I only had one run (that I ended up cutting short) to gauge how it was doing post-race. I believe I am through the worse of whatever made this “issue” come up, but definitely gives me something else to have to really concentrate on to “keep happy”.

Three months down and three months to go for Ironman Mont Tremblant.  HALF WAY THERE!!!!

Month #3 Totals:

Swim: 26,187 yards (14.9 miles)

Bike: 384 miles

Run: 57 miles

Other: Only one 30 minute yoga session (need to do better!!!)

One Half Iron Distance Race

Total Time: 41 hours 18 minutes

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At the mention of me training for Ironman, someone recently asked me if I was excited.  My answer was “I will be”.  I have actually thought about that question and my answer several times since the discussion.  I don’t think I have been asked that before, so I was not sure how to answer.  Should I be excited at this point?  Well….I don’t know.  Should I be excited about something whose preparation is a big part of my daily thoughts and activities as well as a factor in everyday decisions?  I have never thought about it this way and so I did.

I have always been pretty open that I don’t necessarily love to race.  I do love to train.  Don’t get me wrong….there are lots of days that I want to skip  my session, sleep in or whatever else sounds good at the moment, but the satisfaction I get after my workout, makes it all worth it.  The PROCESS of the training, the growth that happens along the way, the obstacles you overcome, kicking ass on days where you thought it was impossible, is where I find my niche that keeps me in this sport.  Sure, I love having the goal of race day to drive me in my training and to motivate me to do my best, but the ratio of hours spent training to hours spent racing, are tremendously skewed…in my favor, thank goodness.  I certainly have a competitive nature within that comes out during the race, but ultimately, more than anything, I want my race, any race, to be a performance of all the hours and sweat equity invested in the weeks and months leading up to the big day.  If I can deliver my best and, in a way, celebrate the training cycle by putting it all out there, I am happy.

There are definitely athletes out there that get a tremendous rush on race morning and feed off that adrenalin.  Once my race morning is here, the nervous energy that is present is what makes me ready to get on with the show.  The waiting around and the preparation race morning is definitely not my favorite time.  So….back to the original question…”AM I EXCITED ABOUT IRONMAN”?

I am excited about the opportunities, growth and strength (both mental and physical) that training for Ironman will bring.  I am excited about the being ABLE to train and the idea of getting to the starting line healthy and PREPARED to tackle to day.  I am excited about the time that I will get to spend with some like-minded individuals (and all around cool people) that share the same Ironman goal and think that getting up at the crack of dawn to run track intervals or jump in a cold lake is “normal”.

I am excited about racing with these people and being able to see each other during the race to make the day even more special.  I am excited about giving this goal my ALL and making Tony and the rest of my cheerleaders proud when I go for it and ultimately cross that finish line.  In hindsight, I think my gut reaction answer was kind of right….I AM excited but I WILL be even more excited on August 19.

Highlights from the month:

*After the catastrophe from training week #4 when took the Purple Butterfly out for the inaugural ride, I finally was able to get in a successful 46 mile ride during week #5.

It took some intense planning, but we made it work.  Saturdays are when we typically ride and the forecast called for heavy rain MOST of that Saturday.  It was looking very unlikely to get in a ride outside.  While Fridays are typically the rest day, we decided to fit in the ride after work on Friday to be able to get outside.  SUCCESS!!!  (It did rain alot on Saturday!!)

*Hill Repeats – While this is not something I love, I knocked out a good hill repeat session on the treadmill.  I have not done this type of workout in a long time and it was nice to get one done as I know we will have more to come to prepare for MT!

*Getting back to regular track workouts with the team.  Thursdays are track during the season while during the winter we do stair workouts.  These stair workouts are an awesome challenge themselves but the weather delayed our start of track a couple of weeks so we were ready to get these going!

 

*Getting in our first open water swim of the season!  Over the winter I purchased a new wetsuit (sleeved) and with our first tri of the season in just a few weeks, we were ready to get in that first OWS to wash away those cob webs.  It was a bit cooler than I would prefer, but I allowed my “minimum” temp drop a couple of degrees because I had sleeves.  Thank goodness I did, because I was still cold….think the water was probably 65/66 degrees.  I am very sensitive to the cold water, but I needed to get in and do my best.  It was not a great swim, but I was glad to get it done and have a check mark in that box!

*When training schedules line up with some other tri club peeps resulting in a great training group for a solid ride/run session!

Lowlights from the month:

*Week #6 brought in the struggle bus for a couple of my trainer rides.  I had three Trainer Road sessions that week that really kicked my ass.  I gave it all I had and that I can’t ask anything more.  I was glad when I finally got off that bus!

*A flooded greenway totally screwed up my plans for a Friday morning outside ride.  Here’s the story….Tony had Xterra Myrtle Beach on his race calendar.  Our plan was to travel down on Friday afternoon, hang out Saturday and then the race on Sunday.  I knew I needed to shift some things on the training schedule to get in my time.  After much consideration of all the options, I decided that I would push my planned rest day to Sunday (usually Friday), do my long ride Friday morning before we left town and then do my run Saturday morning (easy to fit in out of town).  With a 60 mile ride scheduled, I knew that I needed to get an early start Friday morning and since it is the last day of the work week, I planned to ride by myself on the greenway.  (I don’t usually bike on the greenway, but spend a lot of miles running there.  Since (1). I don’t ride on the road solo, due to safety reasons and (2). My start time would be during early commute hours, the greenway seemed like the best and safest option to get in my ride outside. It would be quiet that time of day and I really didn’t want another long ride on the trainer.)  After mentioning my plan to one of my training partners, she said that she would like to join me as she had a flexible work schedule that day.   Awesome!  We planned to meet at 7:00am and that morning was COLD!  It was around 36 degrees (while the morning prior at track had been in the 60s).  We were bundled up and ready to tackle this, despite the cold.

I had planned out a great route and was looking forward to it.  We got .45 miles in before we were greeted with flooding.  BUMMER!  It was too deep to try to pass on our bikes, so we turned around and decided to head in the opposite direction which did not have the options to easily get in our needed mileage, but we would make it work. After about 2 miles in that direction, we reached more flooding and this was even worse!  WHAT A DOWNER!

We could drive to another entrance point on the greenway passed the flooding, but there was no way of knowing if and where there would be more obstacles.  After pretty quick consideration, we decided to head to my house and put in the time on the trainer.  April could use Tony’s trainer and we would persevere!  Thanks goodness April had decided to meet me for that ride and then agreed to trainer it with me.  We got in 3 hours and 31 minutes together (previous longest time was 3 hours 30 minutes 🙂 ) and having her there to pass the hours made it possible!  #noexcuses  #overcometheobstacles #traineroad

Month #2 Totals:

Swim: 27,959 (15.89 miles)

Bike: 395 miles

Run: 53 miles

Other: 2 strength and 3 yoga sessions (2.25 hours)

Total Time: 47 hours 24 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

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Time goes by so quickly.  As I have gotten older, this is more true every year.  There are times of course when the time can’t pass quickly enough….when you are at work on Friday afternoon of an upcoming holiday weekend or when you are pushing through a hard two minute FTP %+++ interval on the bike, but generally speaking, there is not enough of this precious commodity.  We spend day after day balancing out our time between family, work, training, etc. and some days it is way more challenging than others.  This is one reason why I thought long and hard before committing to Ironman #2.

The first time back in 2014, I knew that it would be a huge time commitment.  But, now having that experience, I know even more of what some of those tough days are REALLY like.  It is not just a huge impact on me, but on Tony as well.  He is “in” it with me for the craziness that Ironman training brings to everyday life.  Hopefully, since I have training partners that are racing as well, Tony’s “in” does not equate to as many long bike rides as it did in 2014, but regardless, he knows what this six month training plan means.

The “official” plan began on March 5.With all the upcoming spring and summer training, there will not be too much free time to get out of town for vacations or long weekends.  We will definitely work in lots of together time, but I imagine most of it will be around Raleigh.   Before the plan kicked in, we took an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico to chill, spend time with each other and soak in some sun.  That get-away was a great idea and I am glad we made it happen.  It was just what we needed.

Relaxing in Playa del Carmen

The first (of six) 4-week training blocks is in the books.  I tried to take one workout at a time and that’s my game plan for the next five months as well.  My swim, bike and run plan has been created from a few different sources and I am utilizing Trainer Road for any of the trainer rides on my plan (which have been ALL for this first four weeks).  I am using the specific IM plan in the app to choose the rides.

Since I started using Trainer Road a bit over a year ago, I have been a fan.  Honestly it is a love/hate relationship, because I have had plenty of rides that have kicked my ass, but I know it is good for me in the long haul.  I think it is an excellent tool and will prove very beneficial this year.

The Trainer Road plan was actually 4 weeks longer than the planned 24-week plan.  Therefore, we started a 4-week base plan prior to March 5. lt certainly started off with a bang!  The first workout in the first week was an FTP test on the bike.  I have not taken a FTP test since I was training for Chattanooga 70.3 last spring.  I was very happy that my results put me right where I was half way through that training plan.  I have a lot of time on the bike in front of me and I look forward to the gains I will be making.

Highlights from the month:

*Completing the longest two trainer rides I have ever done!  Due to the aforementioned unpleasant weather, week one had us on the bike for 3 hours 15 minutes.  Prior to that, the longest trainer ride I had completed was 2.5 hours.  Week three had us on the bike for 3.5 hours.  A new record just 2 weeks later!  Luckily, I have training partners and we endured this total of 6.75 hours together!

Our 3 hour 15 minute trainer ride! Thank goodness Bill and April joined in!

3.5 hours on the trainer! Once again, it was bearable with my awesome training partners!

*Hitting 4 rides in week two…the plan calls for 4 rides some weeks and I have not done this in a very long time (I am guessing since 2014)!  Three of them happened during the workweek so it took a bit more mental commitment than even physical, but it will pay off!

*Getting back outside for a long run = Week three’s 8 mile run was back outside.  A dry day allowed me to get off the treadmill and onto the greenway.

*Tony has been able to capture some good video in the pool to allow me to focus on some much needed areas of improvement.

*The time change!  It’s nice to have daylight when I get off work!

*The last Saturday of the month called for a dry day and decent temperatures to get outside for the first time this year and the take my new bike for her inaugural ride!

The Purple Butterfly was ready to hit the road!

Obstacles from the month:

*More cold weather than we should have in NC in March!  Plus it seemed like the rain always waited for the weekends!

*The outside bike ride that I was so excited about lasted about 4 miles until I was standing on the side of the road with a broken chain and front derailleur.  Needless to say, I was MAJORLY bummed!  My ride companions, Bill & Derek, worked to try to fix my chain (before the realization that the front derailleur was toast), and had an amazing effort in doing so.

Bill & Derek working on my bike roadside.

For the first time ever in my experience of riding bikes, I had to call for a ride home.  Since Tony was out of town, our neighbor David came to my rescue.  During all this drama, the help I got to try to repair the chain and the ultimate ride home were indeed highlights and the reminder that I have awesome people in my life!

Not the bike ride I had imagined, but lucky to have a ride home!

*Getting chased by a dog on my brick run.  The drama continued after my bike mishap.  After making it home, I got on the trainer (after figuring out how to change my pedals….Tony is my very relied upon bike mechanic) and got in my ride.  Then I had a 3 mile brick run which I did outside.  I was chased by a little dog on a road that I frequently run.  It was quite the day, and I really felt like the odds were not in my favor, but I got my training in and then spent the next 1.5 hours getting a crazy good massage.   #overcometheobstacles

Month #1 Totals:

Swim: 29,400 yards (16.7 miles)

Bike: 331 miles

Run: 47 miles

Other: Strength, Stair Workouts & Yoga (4.25 hours)

Total Time: 44 hours 24 minutes

 

My Latest

Mar
2016
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TimIt seems like yesterday that it was the new year and now we have already moved up the clocks.  No complaints at all, since I have already taken advantage of the extra time in the evening with after work outdoor rides.  We have been blessed with some beautiful weather for the past couple of weeks which is always welcome.  Being out on the bike without any type of cold weather gear makes this girl happy!

As we started the year, I was excited for the tri season and new adventures.  I have already had a few ups and downs, but am in a good place overall.  Mainly this is related to my running fitness and how I had some forced time off last fall into the winter.  After my leg was better and I started back running, my progression seemed to be very slow.  I certainly did not expect to bounce back to where I was at the end of October (when I was training for the half marathon and was in a good place with my running fitness), but it has been much slower than anticipated.   Besides having a slower pace, I was battling higher heart rate for the efforts I was giving.  I started focusing on my specific HR zones and incorporating some Z1 and Z2 runs to work on my base fitness. 

Run

One of our beautiful run days!

After hanging in and staying determined, I finally feel more like my running self.  While my speed is not what it was (yet), my HR is cooperating better and is more in line with what I expect.  While I am not 100% ache free, it is not anything that prohibits me from running.  I am still having ART on occasion and staying super focused on stretching/yoga and foam rolling.

Bike Fun

Bike fun with the crew!

I pushed the “go button” for Raleigh 70.3, which will take place on June 5.  This will be the third time that I have raced Raleigh and did not originally plan on it for this year.  I was excited about the idea of Chattanooga 70.3, but I missed out on the sign up last fall and it sold out!  I was a bit hesitant to commit to another round at Raleigh, since I knew I would have big goals since there are a few things I had not yet accomplished related to that race.  However, there are lots of people training and I decided to just give it a go and, as always, train hard and do my best.  Even if my run has not gotten back to where I ideally would like, I can’t dwell on the fitness I had.  Working hard is something I am not afraid of doing and that is exactly what I will continue to do in preparation for June 5.

Unstoppable

Biking has been good.  The last couple of weekends have been outdoor rides (one cold ride and the another that started nice but ended up having a small burst of torrential rain after the halfway mark).  On January 30, I took a FTP test, which is the first time I had done so using a power meter.  I plan to repeat the test in the coming weeks to note changes.  I believe this will be a great gauge to monitor improvement! 

FTP Test Photo

The FTP Test!

Swimming….oh where do I start to give an update?  I previously shared here on the blog that I decided when I had to stop my half marathon training last fall that I would have a strong focus on my swim during the winter.  I did just that.   I have been able to generally get in three swims a week.  I had a couple of lessons to provide me guidance on stroke improvement and drills to incorporate.  I have been super focused on my form and maintaining that focus throughout each and every workout.  Some days I feel my off season dedication is paying off, but then some days the frustration level is high.  I have decided to focus on those good days and not let the bad days take over mentally.  I think my stroke has become more efficient and stronger and I will continue to work toward improvement and stay as positive as I can!!

One great thing to report about my swimming is that I have developed regular training buddies at the pool.  Being part of a team and being around people that have similar goals and training habits is great!  Historically, I would always choose to swim in the evenings after work and would generally be solo.  The logistics associated with morning swims and then a long commute to work, was not a task that I could accomplish.  Since changing jobs last year and being 5 minutes from the pool, I have taken to regular morning swims along with others from the tri team.  A few of us are on the same plan, so we have the same workouts to complete, which is very different for me, but I love having training partners!  I have gotten used to morning swims and the occasional evening swim that has to happen when the timing fits best into the plan, almost feels weird!

So, I am starting week 8 of my Raleigh plan.  This week is recovery week.  Here are some of the highlights of my training over the past several weeks:

· Swim = Endurance swim from last Thursday evening.  It was 2600 yards total with the main set being 4×500 (alternating swim/pull).  Being an evening swim at the end of the week, plus the last workout before rest day, I was not sure what to expect.  I could tell fairly early on during the warm-up that it would be a good one.  I was really feeling the water well and felt fluid and smooth.  It makes me wonder why I can’t seem to recreate that for myself more often.  Clearly I have it in me…  (I must add that I did this swim WITHOUT my i-pod.  I realized when I was prepping to get in the water that I failed to charge it after getting the low battery warning at the end of my last swim.  Yay me!!)

· Bike = Two workouts that I can reference…one was my FTP test back on January 30.  This was actually before my Raleigh training plan started and was during some pre-season training.  I felt as if I was able to give an solid effort throughout and did not go out too hard and pay for it at the end.  It can be tough to find that happy medium.  I was pleased with the numbers while knowing that I have lots to work on!  The second I can reference was PART of a workout.  That sounds odd, a couple of Sundays ago, I ventured out on a 40 mile ride with two of my training partners.  It was early afternoon and was a beautiful day.  It was truly one of those days that is awesome to be outside just riding your bike.  That joy was cut a bit short by torrential rain…it didn’t last too long, but we couldn’t find the gas station for shelter quick enough!

· Run = My last few tempo runs I have felt like I was able to give a solid effort, the effort my legs wanted to give, and my heart rate responded better than expected.  While they were not easy runs, by any stretch, it has been the challenge I needed and I felt like I delivered!   

· Yoga/foam rolling = This is a big part of my training and I continue to be dedicated to incorporating appropriately.  I do a better job at scheduling these activities so they don’t get pushed aside or forgotten.  I want to be a healthy triathlete and I am committed to doing my part!

Track

Last week was the first track workout of the season

On a side note, two Sundays ago, I went out to spectate a local marathon called the Tobacco Road Marathon.  Our good friend, Tim, was racing.  He and his wife Nicole were my original partners to race at Kiawah Island last December, but Nicole ended up participating solo when Tim and I had to pull out due to injury.  Since becoming healthy, Tim has trained tremendously hard over the past several months and was hoping to race to a Boston Qualifying time.  Well, he did just that and I was so glad to be there to watch him race and cross that finish line meeting his goal. 

Tim shirt

Way to go Tim!

His emotional reaction was so amazing and very inspiring.  Hard work and dedication are truly rewarding and I could not complete this post without sharing this news.  I am so very happy for him!!        

posted by on Half Marathon

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Today is the race day that did not happen.  My original plan for today included running the Kiawah Island Half Marathon.  This was the first race that I knew I would have on my race schedule for 2015.  It was actually decided in the summer of 2013 (sitting pool side with cocktails)…yeah, a long time ago. 

At the end of my tri season, I had switched to a run focus and had a great plan to follow.  I was working hard and running well overall.  As of my last running update here on the blog, I knew my goal (and stretch goals) were completely attainable.  That is one reason why it is so frustrating.  Despite the best laid plans, they unfortunately have to change sometimes.  To my dismay, I have deferred my race registration to 2016. 

patience 2

About seven weeks ago, I was having some lingering leg pain.  It was originally in my inner thigh where I felt the most.  I finally had the run where I knew I had to stop and give it a break.  I iced, stretched and rested it for a few days.  Then after this initial break, I gave it another go.  I still had the pain.  So, more resting, stretching, icing and ibuprofen.  This time I gave it a week without running in hopes that would be enough.  I was still optimistic that I would be able to race on December 12.

Upon my next try at running, I was not feeling the pain in the inner thigh.  I was able to get a mile, but I gradually felt pain in the upper hamstring/inner abductor.  After that, I gave it one more go, but decided I needed help.  The basics of rest, stretch, ice, ibuprofen was not doing the trick. 

I have read about ART (Active Release Therapy) and my friend Tim was undergoing treatment when I started battling these issues.  He had good luck with the treatment (he was supposed to run the marathon distance at Kiawah Island, but had to defer his registration as well).  I started seeing the same doctor and have had four treatments so far.

My last training run occurred on October 24 and had not tried had a “successful” run since then……..until this past weekend.  After my third treatment, I was given the green light to go for a run.  I was able to get in three miles!!!!  I did not have pain, but still felt tightness in the same area.  I was very excited to get it in and how I felt.  I WILL say that it was surprising how my run fitness has dropped in the weeks that I have had to that this break.  That’s okay though, just happy to run!  Baby steps…..

It seems that the pain problem are weak hips/hip flexors which has caused me to compensate in other areas during my running resulting in the issues I am currently experiencing.  I have added hip strengthening exercises to my regiment as well.  So, when I do get back to a regular running routine, my hips will be ready!

Fortunately, I really wanted to focus on my swim after Kiawah, so I have just pushed that up in the schedule.  On average, I have been able to get to the pool three times a week. Regular swimming during the off season is a goal of mine and I have gotten off to a solid start.  I have also continued to bike on the trainer, which is what I opt for when I need a good sweat session!!  I have incorporated core and lower body work without any pain, so I have plenty that I CAN do!

Patience

This is the first  race of any kind, that I have signed up and was not able to participate.  I know that listening to my body, focusing on treatment and getting my weaknesses stronger, are in my best interest.  It is still a bummer that I had to put it on hold and not go for my open half marathon goal this year.  No worries….I will be healthy and determined when the 2016 race season rolls around!    

My friend Nicole is racing this morning…..she was the last one standing after Tim and I had to defer.  (Tony had considered this race at one time, but never committed.)  Her training has gone really well and I know she was prepared to have a great day.  Sometime soon we will all be able to race together….I guess we can plan this next summer while sipping cocktails by the pool!  

patience 3

posted by on Half Marathon, Triathlon

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Since my last triathlon of the season in September, I knew my focus would immediately turn to running.  Since the summer of 2014, I have had my eye on the Kiawah Island half marathon in December 2015.  That is quite some time ago, and is fairly atypical for me, but that is what happens when you are hanging out with other runners one beautiful day at the pool while having a few cocktails!

In all seriousness, I was totally on board for this race.  I have never raced in an open half marathon (they have all come as part of the 70.3 distance) and I had firm goals in mind.  Our friends that were part of this discussion are Tim and Nicole, who are going for races in all 50 states.  Plus, Tim had his sights set on a race that would be a Boston Qualifier course and Kiawah seemed like a great choice!  So, it was decided back in the summer of 2014, Kiawah Island would be on our calendar for December 2015.

I was looking forward to going into run focused training after the Outer Banks Oly back in September.  At that race, I had a really good run and that gave me a boost of confidence for what I might be able to race for in December.   Tony helped me select a plan and it is a program called “FIRST” (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training), which is three runs a week and cross training on other days,  This seemed like an obvious choice in training plans, as I always want to get bike trainer time and need swims as often as I can get them.  The three runs a week include the three biggies…speed work/intervals, tempo and a long run.  I opted for a lighter training week after Outer Banks Oly and then the following week started up with the new training plan. 

Running has been going well.  Unfortunately, at the end of September/beginning of October, we had a TON of rain (something like 14 days in a row), so there was plenty of this:

treadmill

Treadmill TIme!

However, the last two weeks have been more typical fall weather, so running outside has been a treat with pleasant temperatures and just the desire to be outside (I LOVE FALL!)  I have also been hitting the track, which is something I have not done in quite some time.  For the last couple of years, speed work for me has been on the treadmill, which really is a challenge, but there is just something about those track workouts!!!

Since my training is going well, I have begun to adjust my goals, which I will share soon.  I was bummed, as this last weekend’s long run was not good, but I was able to get my mileage of 13 total and add to the pool of mental toughness.  I have not run 13+ miles since Raleigh 70.3 at the end of May, so it was still good to get the mileage tucked away. 

So, other than 13.1 training, a couple of weekends ago, we also participated in the last Tri Throwdown of the season.  If you have not read my prior Throwdown recaps, check them out here (from September and August), since it is a unique race set up.  As I have previously described, there are only three rules, (1). Be Safe (2). Have Fun and (3). Go to the after party.  However, with the rain and cool temperatures that we had been experiencing, wet suit legal was a must for me!  The weather on race day was looking really dismal.  We had finally crept out of the continuous rain period, but it was planned to make a re-appearance for pretty much the entire weekend.  For me and Tony, it would be a race morning decision (a cold and rainy race day would zap a lot of the fun out of the event). I had planned my run training accordingly during the week and moved my long run from Saturday to previous Wednesday and would use my run at Throwdown as my tempo run for the week.

Saturday morning, we woke and checked the weather.  It looked clear up until late-morning!  It was a go for us!  The extra fun thing about Throwdown this go-around was that Tony was racing and the handicap system had me starting 10 minutes before him.  Automatically, that makes me his “rabbit”….essentially his mission was to chase me down and make the pass!  This would be interesting!

Throwdown Wetsuit

Getting Tony all ready to go in his wetsuit!

The swim was cool…temperature wise.  It was around 68 degrees, which is not to my liking (I am a wuss with cold swims!).  Despite this, I had an okay swim (750 meters), but felt chilly most of the time.  I was looking forward to the bike, because I had a new toy to try!  For my birthday, Tony REALLY spoiled me and surprised me with the Garmin Vector 2S (power meter in the pedals). 

Garmin Vector

This was the first ride where I would be using them.  The out and back format allows you to keep an eye on how people are progressing behind you.  So, when I passed Tony on my way back into the T2, I knew that he was making up the time gap. 

 Throwdown Bike

The run is also an out and back and is fun to see everyone else during the 5K.  I also knew where Tony was in his mission to catch me and the last time I saw him, I told him to SLOW DOWN!  I had this strong feeling that I would see him again and it would be as he made the pass! 

Throwdown Run

I was nearing the finish line and as I passed one of my buddies that was volunteering, I asked him if Tony was behind me within sight.  He said “YES”!!!  Our friends that were out racing or volunteering knew of the fun challenge Tony and I had going on, so everyone was cheering for me to run faster because he was really gaining on me!  I was determined to cross the finish line first and I turned it up a notch for the last bit!  I did it and crossed just a few seconds before him!  It was a lot of fun and the friendly challenge between me and my hubbie made it even more fun. 

Throwdown Girls

Three of the ladies of Team Trilife!

After the race, we headed over to the restaurant for the after party and rain started to fall literally as we pulled into the parking lot.  We really got lucky with the weather for the race!  It ended up raining for the rest of the day.  While at the after party, we all ate, drank and started watching the live coverage from Kona of the Ironman World Championships.  Afterwards, we headed home, cleaned up and continued to watch the coverage for the rest of the afternoon.  What a fun day!                                  

posted by on Race Report, Triathlon

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Since I decided on two additional triathlons, one sprint and one olympic, training has picked up during the past few weeks.  While I had stayed active and continued to swim, bike and run throughout July, having the races on the calendar give me more structure to my training sessions. This has been just what I needed to get excited about the coming weeks.

Swim:  I have been able to get in open water swims for the past four weekends.  I have a pair of new swim buddies that are just as anxious to get in time at the lake as I am.  One of them also has a kayak, so his wife provides swim support, which is awesome!  My time at the pool has been pretty typical…but I feel I have had more good days than not.

Bike:  I am still really enjoying the bi-weekly group rides from TriLife.  I try to go on both Tuesday and Thursday, schedule permitting.  These rides continue to challenge me, plus they are fun!

Run:  Tempo runs and intervals have returned in regular rotation.  I have taken a more challenging approach to the speed intervals (from Tony’s suggestion), but I know pushing myself here will yield results.  I also just got in a long run yesterday…a run longer than I have done in a while.

Highlights:  

(1).  A 50 mile ride a few weeks ago where I was really able to push my pace.  A group of us rode from TriLife on a Saturday morning….the group started at around 10 riders and quickly broke down into a couple of smaller groups.  The guys I stuck with were some that I ride with regularly during the week.  I enjoy riding with them as we have similar riding styles.  A solid challenge, but I felt great at the end!

(2).  The second highlight was my open water swim this past Saturday.  The total swim was .75 miles but it was all about how I felt!  Before starting the swim we found two sight points to work with.  The first was only about 200-300 yards out and then we turned and headed further out towards the middle of the lake.  After we swam to the point we wanted, it was just a turn around and swim back to shore.  I was feeling good and decided to push my effort the last few hundred yards or so of the swim back to shore.  I did just what I wanted and was pleased.  I try to finish strong in races, so I really should plan to try to incorporate this approach more in training to better simulate racing!

(3).  The third highlight was yesterday’s long-ish run.  I have not really run anything over the 4 to 5 mile range in a while, so I wanted to go out and tackle 7 miles to get a current gauge.  Tony and I hit the Greenway Sunday morning.  He had 10 miles on his legs from the day before, so he tagged along with me for his recovery run.  Despite having to back off a couple of sections to keep my heart rate from going too high, I was super pleased with my 8:50 pace for distance.  I felt good when we finished and really no complainants overall!  Looking to make steady improvements over the next few weeks! 

(4).  The fourth highlight comes in the form of a “quasi” race report about an event called Throwdown (www.trithrowdown.wordpress.com).  Throwdown is an event, open to all, that is produced by the owner of TriLife, Jon.  It is a “mock race” that is a sprint distance triathlon.  There were 16 participants at the 8/19/15 event and we had a blast!  This is still a relatively new concept and I expect participation will quickly grow. We did not have chips for timing, but Jon utilized a timing system to capture results.

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Just like any other race, there was a transition area set up with bike racks.  It was great that we could park and then rack our bikes just a few feet away.  I set up my transition area pretty much the way I would for an official race.  Transition is one of the areas that I don’t really practice, so this is a great event to do just that! 

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

The swim did not have inflatable sight buoys this time, but there was one lake buoy we swam around and then out to a dock that served as the turn around.  Going out on the swim the sighting was pretty good, but coming back it was a little more challenging.  The planned distance was 750 meters, but I think we swam closer to 1,000 meters.  I did not lap my time as soon as I got out of the water, which I will definitely do next time.  The official T1 time did not start until we did a short run from the lake to the parking lot.  With the “longer” swim course and me not tripping my time at a good point, I am not sure what true swim pace was.   I felt pretty good on the swim though.  Based on feedback, I think they will try to make the sighting a bit better for the next event.   

Throwdown swim2-Lee

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

The bike was around 12.5 miles and the route included roads that are familiar from the group rides.  I pushed pretty good on the bike and my Garmin had me at an average of 20 mph.   

The 5K run was entirely within the park and only had one incline, right at the beginning.  After running up the hill and trying to settle into a comfortable pace, I felt like I should kick it up a notch.  There was a section of the run that was on gravel and since I don’t frequently run on gravel I was not as comfortable as I was on the pavement, but I maintained well.  The downhill finish was nice and I was pleased to be the “first female finisher” (the only time I have heard those words) out of the four women participating.  I ran an average pace of 8:34 and my total event time was 1:32:05.  Tony also participated in Throwdown and he had as much fun as I did.  He had run 20 miles the day before (he is training for Marine Corp Marathon) and despite this and the very little swimming that he has done lately, he still beat me by 7 minutes!     

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

After the event, we all headed to Panera for lunch.  It was a day of great fun and solid training to boot!  I am already looking forward to the next Throwdown on September 6!     

Low Light:

There was one low light that sticks in my mind.  It was last Tuesday’s group ride.  We all took a chance in deciding to move forward with the ride, and not just jumping on trainers, but we paid the price.  About 20 minutes in, we hit a bad storm with very heavy rain.  We had modified the route “in case” there was rain, but we were a good distance out when it hit.  We were SOAKED to the bone when we got back to the shop.  To me, it was reminiscent of the rain I experienced in Lake Placid last year.  The one good thing that came from it, is that I took a lot of time to really clean my bike over the weekend.  I desperately needed it before it got rain soaked, so this was more incentive to get her in great condition! 

Bike Cleaning

The Cannondale getting some TLC!!!

Training is in a good place for me right now.  I am enjoying it more than I can recently remember and looking forward to my upcoming events!