Archive for April 2014 | Monthly archive page

Training Week #10


posted by on Ironman

Week 10 Recap Header

Considering I am in currently in week #11, I guess I could say that I am finally caught up with posting my recaps.  Woo hoo!  Glad to be back on track and in the “now”!


PM – 3100-yard swim – The main set focused on various distances from a 600 yard moderate effort interval to finishing up with several 100 yard intervals building speed during the 100 yards.  This was an unusual workout for me.  I felt good and it was like I gliding through the water and getting strong pulls; however, my times were not reflective of how I felt.  The paces were below the times I have been routinely averaging and I could not really understand why.  Even up until the end, I was a bit tired, but still felt pretty good and strong. I just did my best and tried to not let the slower times bother me.


AM – 1 hour on the bike trainer with the main set consisting of hill repeats!  I performed three hill repeats of 10 minutes each with 5 minutes of recovery between sets.  The first & third hill repeats were around 60-65 cadence.  For the second hill repeat, I alternated between standing/sitting every 30-seconds and averaged around 55 cadence while seated. RPMs naturally increase when standing and I added one additional gear for the standing portion.  I felt pretty good during the workout.

PM – 60-minute “steady” run on the treadmill.  The target pace was 30 seconds faster than race pace.  This was a great run for me.  I maintained a pace that was a bit quicker than the plan outlined, but I felt strong.  I ran 7.17 miles at 8:23 pace. I was very pleased with this session.


AM – 55 minutes on the bike trainer.  This is the intense session that is a plan repeat.  The focus is on multiple sets of “max effort” for varying periods of time.  This still continues to be a tough workout and I try to push each interval.  As always, I was a drippy, drippy mess after this!

PM – 2800-yard swim with the main set including a ladder.  This is a gradual increase in yardage with each set – 100/200/300/400/500 with (only) 15 seconds rest between intervals.  The main set finished off with 2×300 where I swam the first 100 at a slower pace, the next 100 at a moderate pace and the last 100 at a faster pace.  I liked the way those last sets came together.  Overall, this was a mediocre swim. I felt good, but my times (for about half of the workout) were not what I should be swimming.  This was better than Monday’s swim, but not where I should be.


AM – Tempo run (speed work) on the treadmill. After a good warm-up, I ran 4×5 minute speed sets. The targeted pace for these workouts in my plan have been 1 minute faster than targeted race pace.  For this session, I pushed the pace more than I have with these workouts in the past using this plan.  I pushed it about 30sec/mile faster.  The decision was made based on the progress I have made on my steady runs. I want to keep progressing and speed work has always helped me with that in the past!  I felt good on the run!!  The 5 minute speed intervals ranged from 7:31 – 7:36 pace.

PM – 3200-yard swim with the main set including 5×500 yards with 1 minute rest between intervals. Before heading to the pool, I was feeling very tired.  On my drive to the pool, I was feeling even MORE tired.  After two swims earlier in the week that were not great, the motivation for me to swim was completely non-existent.  I just wanted to go home and crash.  Well, I drove to the pool and after I parked I grabbed my phone and pulled up my “inspiration” board on Pinterest.  I remember a quote I had pinned and I needed to see it. Those words rang so true to me.

Don't Let Fatigue

Well, I got going and had no expectations.  I just wanted to get the swim over with.  I have regularly experienced times when I don’t feel like training and because I had no harsh expectations for myself (other than just getting through it), I ended up having a good session.  I was skeptical that this day would be one of the days.  Well, I could not have been more wrong!  I had a fantastic swim!!  I have no clue where in my body it came from, but I really did it!  After finishing the warm-up I swam my first 500.  I touched the wall for my one minute rest and could not believe me eyes when I saw my time.  Second interval, same thing…I was totally shocked this time though. Well, I believed that I could not possibly have enough left in the tack to finish three more sets at this pace. Well, I did myself so, so, so proud!  I just kept at it, and SOMEHOW pulled out one of my best swims!

Interval Time Distance Avg Pace
1 9:38.2 500 1:55
2 9:38.9 500 1:55
3 9:39.4 500 1:56
4 9:40.9 500 1:56
5 9:39.9 500 1:56
Summary 53:06.7 2,500 1:56

I last swam this workout in week #7 and my times for the 500s ranged from 9:47-10:02.  I could not wait to tell Tony about my progress!  He truly understands the struggles and frustrations I have felt over the years with my swimming.  I know I will never be the first swimmer out of my group, but all I have ever really wanted is to see progress after all my hours of training.  That has been the true source of frustrations.  While I have made such big strides with my bike and run, progression on the swim has been slower and much harder to grasp.   Progress makes me happy!

Strive for Progress




Saturday plans were all over the place. I had decided to deviate from my written training plan a bit and go for a longer ride with a tri friend that is training for IM Louisville.  The planned mileage was longer than I had worked up to, but decided to take advantage of someone wanting to ride long!  Well, the weather on Saturday was crummy.  It was rainy and cold, so we decided to scrap the plan.  I did not want to “waste” a training day in hopes that the weather would be decent enough on Sunday to get in the ride.  So, I went with my written plan for a trainer ride/run brick.  I did the Spinervals DVD entitled “Have Mercy”.  The online description for this trainer workout DVD is:

What word describes this DVD? Tortuous!! “Have Mercy” is a 2 hour compilation of the hardest intervals sets from other Spinervals DVD workouts! Remember the brutal acceleration sets?! The race simulation? The sprint sets? Well… do them one after the other and you have one of the toughest two hours you can spend on an indoor trainer!! You’ll be begging Coach Troy to “Have Mercy”.

Well, I have done this workout numerous times over the past couple of years and it always proves to give you the best bang for your buck!  This day was no different!  After the two hours on the bike, I quickly changed into my run gear and jumped on the treadmill for a 1 hour and 20 minutes.  I was able to put in 9 miles at an 8:58 pace. This pace was a bit better than what was targeted in my plan, so I felt great to get in a good run after a solid bike!!


The original plan was a 2.5 hour session on the bike trainer.  I heard from my tri friend that I was supposed to ride with on Saturday, that he had been contacted about a ride of 60 miles leaving from a school about 5 minutes from our house.  So, Tony and I decided to jump on.  I was a little concerned that I would have enough juice in my legs for 60 miles after solid training sessions on Saturday, but I went for it.  There was a group of six and we had a good ride.  I ended up feeling stronger than I anticipated.  It was BRUTALLY windy on the majority of the first part of the ride.  It did get a little better as we progressed.


Weather conditions from Garmin Connect:

Weather 61°

Feels like 61°

16 mph NE wind

Humidity 36%


The ride totaled 62.1 miles in 3 hours 38minutes with an average speed of 17.1 mph.

Some things that made me smile about my week:

*My third swim of the week!  I rocked it and felt so tired going in.  That goes to show that you never know what will happen when you just go for it!

*Good solid weekend sessions despite crappy weather.  I am a type A person and when my plans get changed, sometimes I don’t roll with the punches so well.  Saturday proved to be a challenge, but I ended up with great training sessions both Saturday and Sunday even though neither of them was what I originally planned!


Time: 14 hours 43 minutes

Swim: 9,100 yards

Bike: 108.5 miles

Run: 22 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!

Training Week #9


posted by on Ironman

Week Nine Recap Header

It has been less than a week since I posted my last weekly recap, but I got a bit behind with posting about my training, so I have to play catch up!  Week nine was the start to month three (of a six month plan) and I had good focus and effort this week.  I came back strong after (1). a sickness in the last part of week seven and (2). slowly (mentally) getting back into the training groove during week eight.


AM – 1 hour on the bike trainer with the main set working on low cadence intervals using big gears.  This is a good workout on the plan and really gets the quads engaged.  Good start to a new training week!

PM – 2200-yard swim – The main set focused on speed work with 10 intervals of 100 at a “moderate plus” pace/15 seconds rest/50 FAST/30 seconds rest.  I was VERY consistent with the sets.   I had a good steady push to the sets to work on time. The main set totaled 1500 yards and I averaged 1:48 pace.  I still have work to do with my speed sets, but I was happy with the consistency I was able to maintain with a solid effort.


PM – 1 hour 40 minute run on the greenway (again with my #1 supporter, Tony). Overall, this was a decent run.   I experienced the typical (for me) “feeling good/feeling not so good” for a long run.  I started a bit slow, but got into the groove and felt decent.  I started feeling the “long run fatigue” sooner that I had on my last long run.  I had to push harder to finish strong.  We extended the time a bit to round out at 11 miles even.

Split Time Distance Avg Pace
Summary 1:41:53.8 11.00 9:16
1 9:47.6 1.00 9:48
2 9:17.5 1.00 9:17
3 9:25.7 1.00 9:26
4 9:08.9 1.00 9:09
5 9:06.6 1.00 9:06
6 9:31.7 1.00 9:32
7 9:05.1 1.00 9:05
8 9:10.4 1.00 9:10
9 9:04.9 1.00 9:05
10 9:02.3 1.00 9:02
11 9:11.1 1.00 9:11
12 :02.0 0.00 6:49


AM – Though, not ideal, Wednesday morning was a tempo run (or what I would call speed work) on the treadmill.  After a solid warm-up, the main set was 3x5minutes at a targeted pace of 1 minute per mile faster than race pace.  I was able to hit the target paces even though my legs were very sore from the long run the evening before.  I had not originally planned to do this run the morning following the long run, but I decided to tackle the tempo run instead of the 1.5 hour bike originally planned.  I just switched up the two workouts. Overall, this run probably loosened up my legs a bit.  The averages for the three intervals were 8:00, 7:59 and 7:54.

PM – 2000-yard swim where the main set included some speed work.  I started with 3- 200 sets at moderate pace, then moved to 5×100 building into a sprint for last 25 yards followed by 8×25 with evens at easy effort and odds at fast effort.   This was a decent session, but as I mentioned for Monday’s swim workout, I need to continue pushing my speed efforts for improvement.


AM – 1 hour 25 minutes on the bike trainer.  This required a SUPER early start to get the full workout in.  This was the earliest alarm for morning training so far. 4:50am…ouch! This is a good session that includes lots of cadence and gear changes throughout with very minimal rest.  For a longer session, it goes by pretty quickly…it also helps that I watched an episode of Scandal to help the time pass!




Outdoor ride with Tony and another tri friend.  I had not biked with her yet this season, so it was great that she could join us for part of the ride!  We had 3 hours 45 minutes planned and we got in 64 miles. I felt pretty good overall on the ride and after the ride, my legs felt decent.


Session #1 – 2900-yard swim with the main set including 3×750 sets with one minute rest between intervals.  I was surprised at how different my times were for the three sets. Obviously, I was very happy at my time for the first interval.  Going forward, I need to work to keep my pace quicker for the third set to keep my average pace down.

Interval Time Distance    Avg Pace
Summary 47:25.9 2,250 1:57
1 14:31.7 750 1:56
2 14:43.9 750 1:57
3 14:55.1 750 1:59

Session #2 – Hill Repeats!  This was the first time I have been able to perform these outside, so we picked a good hill at the top of our street that I always hate to run.  The training plan called for a hill of moderate steepness (4-8% grade) and sufficient length so that the grade can be experienced for at least two minutes in duration.  I am not sure of the grade of the hill, but it is a good steady climb.  I determined the point in the hill that would give me about a 2 minute climb (the distance was .22 miles).  I ran it eight times and ran back down at an easy jog pace, while trying to lengthen my stride.  This was definitely a worthy challenge!  My average pace for the hill climbs ranged from 9:24 to 9:58.


Time: 12 hours 28 minutes

Swim: 7,125 yards

Bike: 92.7 miles

Run: 18.5 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!

I may not be the strongest


Training Week #8


posted by on General

Week Eight Title

With this being week eight, this recap is from another recovery week.  I will mention again, that my general training plan is three weeks of build followed by one week of recovery (lighter volume with a bit less intensity).  I was actually pleased that my recovery week fell the week after I was sick, so I could work back into being 100%.


PM – 2100-yard swim – At a swim one week ago, I mentioned that my Garmin was not charged when I got to the pool.  Well, for this workout, I had my Garmin and it was charged, but I decided to go without it.  This workout was a skills focus that incorporated more drills than normal, a longer set focusing on form, and a few speed intervals.  This was a good workout to not think about time and just focus on form and drills.  It was a good workout to ease into the new week.


AM – 55 minutes on the bike trainer.  This is one higher intensity workout that falls during the recovery week.  The same workout seems to fall about every other week in the plan.  Despite performing this workout numerous times so far, it continues to challenge me.  It is an intense session with the focus on multiple sets of “max effort” for varying periods of time.  It is always nice when this workout is done!!

PM – 45-minute “steady” run.  The target pace was 30 seconds faster than race pace. Prior to the run, I was not feeling ready to run at all.  I could not tell if I was tired/sleepy, hungry, fatigued (muscles/body) or still getting back to 100% from being sick.  The weather outside was gorgeous and usually that is enough to get me motivated to run, after sitting inside at a desk all day.  Unfortunately, that was not doing the trick though; I had a good pre-run snack and just ran.  Mentally it was hard to get out the door and I thought physically I would have a bad run.  Well, it was not the best, but pretty good.  I did not maintain the pace that I needed/wanted, but I was not worried.  I just tried to get through the run and focus on breathing and staying strong.  It was a rolling course and I just ran it!  I finished the run of 45 minutes with 4.94 miles at 9:07 pace.  My first mile was the slowest at 9:23 pace and the last mile was the fastest at 8:53 pace.


AM – 55 minutes on the bike trainer with hill repeats.  The workout included three 10-minute hill repeats with 5 minutes recovery between intervals. The first and third repeat was seated and the second repeat alternated sitting/standing every 30 seconds. Good early morning workout.

PM – 2950-yard swim with the main workout including three 750-yard sets with one-minute recovery between sets.  This was the first time for these longer intervals.

Interval Time Distance Avg Pace
1 14:39.3 750 1:57
2 14:36.2 750 1:56
3 14:52.5 750 1:59
Summary 47:03.6 2,250 1:57

I was pleased with my times, especially the first and second intervals.  I will work to try to bring the third interval time down.  Overall, I was happy with the average pace of 1:57 for 2,250 yards.


AM – 40-minute recovery run on the treadmill. This run on the treadmill was fine and pace was on point as planned.  However, I was feeling bored on the treadmill.  Usually I don’t feel like that and can run on the treadmill just fine, but this morning I could not wait to be off!  I finished the 40 minutes with 4.21 miles at 9:30 pace.

PM – MASSAGE!!!!   Another great massage that was very much needed.  I highly recommend that anyone doing regular, intense training work regular massage into the recovery week.  I have found that it is key to keeping the muscles happy!  For anyone in the Raleigh area looking for a good masseuse, call Julie White on Six Forks Road.

Friday: REST DAY!!!

Saturday: The plan was a long brick with two hours on the bike followed by a 50-minute run at a pace of 30 seconds per mile slower than target race pace.   I had planned to ride outside with Tony, but he woke up that morning sick.  SO, I did an aero-base Spinervals DVD workout on the trainer.  Like on the treadmill just a few days earlier, I felt antsy to finish and get off the trainer!  The ride was fine, I was just mentally ready to finish up. After the ride, I immediately switched into my run gear.

This brick run was good.  During the run, I was not very concerned about pace.  I ran based on feel.  I ended up being quicker than my goal per the training plan, but because my steady run earlier in the week was slower than target, I thought this ended up being a good trade off.  I finished up the 50 minutes with 5.47 miles at 9:08 pace.

Sunday: 3100-yard swim where the main set included 2400 yards starting off with a longer set and working down to short sets, building speed.  I was pleased with the times for my longer sets, but need to work on bringing down the times for the shorter sets.

The highlight of the week was getting back to 100% after my short sickness. Even though I was actually “sick” a short time, it really took a toll on my  body.  I felt that I really needed a bit of time to get back into my training groove…but I did.  There is really nothing better than being healthy!


Time: 9 hours 45 minutes

Swim: 8,150 yards

Bike: 46.89 miles

Run: 14.62 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Some, but not enough!

This was one of my first favorite mantras.

This was one of my first favorite mantras.

Safety on the Road


posted by on Ironman

As the weather gets nicer (warmer!!), there will be more and more cyclists on the road.  As someone that spends time trying to be super safe while biking, I want to encourage all drivers to watch out for cyclists.  As a driver, it can only take one second of being distracted to end up hitting someone that is out for a ride.

safety starts with me

I 100% believe that maintaining safety is the responsibility of both the cyclist and the driver.  The cyclist must be aware of their surroundings, monitor traffic and RESPECT the automobiles.   In the end, in a meeting between car and cyclist, the car is always going to win.  However, there is also responsibility to be had by the driver.  Keep an eye out and even if it takes an additional few seconds to pass a cyclist SAFELY, please allow the extra few seconds of time.  It is worth it!

Since I have not always been a lover of cycling, I DO understand the frustrations that motorist sometimes feel when they happen upon a group of cyclists.  Whether you are approaching one, three or thirty, please take the time to be safe.  If you feel a bit of frustration, put it aside and make the smart decision…it only impacts a moment of your life.  In the end, a bad decision may impact the REST of your life.


There are frequent stories about cyclists that have been hit causing severe injuries and in many cases, death.  The most recent was a few days ago, just two days before Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, where one athlete was killed and another critically injured while out on a training ride on a section of the race course.  While one can’t fully understand all the circumstances surrounding terrible accidents, it seems likely that if one of the two parties was more aware and cautious, tragic events could be avoided.

Bottom line…I encourage all cyclists to practice sound judgment, use caution and good safety measures when taking to the road.  I also urge all motorists to be alert and patient when approaching cyclists.  At the end of the day, everyone just wants to go home safe and sound!!

Bike Safety

Training Week #7


posted by on Ironman

Week Seven Title

It has been a while since I posted a weekly recap.  The “balance” that I strive for, has become a bit off kilter.  The amount of time I have had with nothing planned or having some time to blog, has become slim.  I am getting in all my training, with the exception of a “speed bump” encountered during this week which I am recapping.  I will get caught up on my weekly recaps soon and I have lots of ideas of topics I want to blog about.  I hope to get some of those worked in before long!

bump in the road


PM – 1900-yard swim – I started the week with a speed workout in the pool.  The main set included 8 x (100 moderate/:15 sec rest/50 fast/:30 sec rest).  When I started my swim, I realized that my Garmin was not charged.  Oh well.  Not the best workout to go untimed, but what do you do?  I still felt like I pushed the pace to have an effective workout, even though I don’t have the data to support it. 


AM – 30-minute run on the treadmill with the main set including a tempo effort.  The main set was short being 1x10minutes with the pace being 1 minute per mile faster than target race pace.  I averaged 8:00 pace for the main set.  I felt strong on the run. 

PM – 3200-yard swim – The main set included 5×10-minute steady efforts (one minute rest between intervals), which equate approximately 500 yards per 10-minute effort.  My times were 9:47, 9:48, 9:56, 10:02, and 9:59.  I was super pleased with sets one and two and would have liked to keep them all below the 10 minute mark, but for the 2500 main set, I averaged 1:59/pace.     


AM – 90 minutes on the bike trainer with the focus on cadence.  I rode various sets from low cadence to mid cadence to high cadence.  This is another repeat workout from the plan and is a tough workout, but the amount of times you have to change gears and keeping an eye on the cadence reading, helps the time to pass.

PM – 90-minute run on the greenway (with my #1 supporter, Tony) – First few miles were just ok…had to find my groove. After that, I felt good and really finished strong.  I ran slightly past the planned 90 minutes in order to finish out with 10 miles even.   Pace was right on point to plan. Overall, this was a great run for me!!




Avg Pace


















































Well, after a great run on Wednesday, it all went downhill from there.   I went to bed and a few hours later, I woke up sick.  It was terrible and needless to say, this was the “speed bump” in my training week.  I had a swim planned for Thursday evening and obviously that did not happen.


 REST DAY!!!  This was my planned rest day.  I still was feeling very weak and did not have an appetite, so it was good that I did not have training planned for the day.      


I had my long ride planned for Saturday, but we decided that I would push those plans to Sunday and move the Sunday planned workout to Saturday.  I tackled a 58-minute bike workout on the trainer with the main set focused on big gears and low cadence.  I felt “ok” and did not push too hard, but was working at the same point.  I had a run planned as well (not a brick) and after a short break from the bike, I decided to go for the run on the treadmill.  I was scheduled for a 45-minute steady run (pace 30 seconds faster than target race pace) and I decided to give it a try, but had to listen to my body.  I finished up three miles at the desired pace range in 25 minutes.  I felt like I needed to stop, given my level of fatigue.  My average pace was 8:31 for the 3 miles.    


A 3.5 hour ride was planned.  I did not want to miss my long ride.  However, Saturday night I was feeling very, very tired.  It was obvious that I pushed too hard on Saturday.  Sunday I was not feeling as good as I had Saturday morning, so the decision to take another rest day, was a given. 

With my sickness during the week, there was not a lot to smile about; however, my long run was the highlight of the training week.  I will look for every silver lining… 

silver lining


Time: 7 hours 10 minutes

Swim: 5,100 yards

Bike: 28.95 miles

Run: 15.25 miles

Stretching/foam rolling:  Some, but not enough!  

Healthy Snacks


posted by on Recipes

I recently tried two new recipes for healthy snacks and I wanted to share them.  One of the things I especially like about making my own healthy snacks is that I can customize the size.  I cut the bars into different sizes, so dependent upon how hungry I am, I choose accordingly.  As far as the energy bites go, I could have one for a small snack or a few prior to my workout.  I received the “thumbs up” on both these recipes from Tony, so we both think these are keepers!

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars from Iowa Girl Eats

Photo and Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Photo and Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

I followed this recipe with only one modification.  The price of the dried cherries was crazy high, so I substituted dried cranberries (Craisins)  

Energy Bites from Lil’ Luna

Photo and Recipe from Lil' Luna

Photo and Recipe from Lil’ Luna

I followed this recipe and DID use the “optional” mini chocolate chips…in my opinion, this ingredient is NOT optional!  I will also say that this is my first time using milled flaxseed.  It seems like a neat little ingredient that contains a nutritional punch.  Flaxseed contains fiber as well as Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.  I also learned that there are benefits to athletes and sports training, especially those involved in endurance sports.  Here is an excerpt from with the complete explanation:

How does flax benefit athletes and sports training?
Omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic, ALA, an essential fatty acid found in flax, improves the metabolism of fats which is especially helpful with endurance sports, such as marathons. When a runner “hits the wall” and their glycogen stores are used up, the body begins burning fats. In this case, efficient burning of fats makes a difference in performance. ALA improves response time. Electrical impulses move from the brain to muscles across cell membranes which, as indicated earlier, are rich in ALA when consumed in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as ALA, are the most efficient fatty acids in allowing these electrical impulses to move from cell to cell. Thus, response time is improved. ALA aids in muscle repair at the cellular level. Omega-3 fatty acids present on the cell membrane significantly affect the speed and quality of tissue repair.

From reading all these benefits, it sounds like I need to explore more ways to incorporate flaxseed into my diet!

I encourage you to try both these recipes.  If you do, be sure to let me know your thoughts!