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Week 21 recap header

This was a milestone week. It was the week with BOTH my LAST SUPER DUPER long run and bike. Hour wise, this was a peak week for me. With my excitement level rising as we began the month of July (race month), I was ready to attack another week!

This was also the week of “FIRSTS”! All in this week were my longest ever swim, bike and run. Talk about a jammed packed week!!


Monday 6/30

AM – 75-minutes on the bike trainer with focus on lactate threshold – Third day in a row that I was on the bike. Not ideal, but you gotta do what you gottta do!! 3×15 minutes at LT with alternating cadences between 85 and 95 RPM every 5 minutes. I was definitely feeling in my legs that this was my third bike day. I powered as best I could and did not do too shabby!

PM – 3100-yard swim – I felt good on this swim. It was weird to be in the pool…after spending 3 days/week for so many weeks in the pool (and that dropped to two when I started doing open water), last week I was only in the pool once, because I did two OWS.

Tuesday 7/1

PM – This day was a BIG DEAL (to me…)!! This was the LAST SUPER DUPER LONG RUN on my training plan! I wanted this to be another good long run. Since we are totally into summer now and experiencing the typical NC hot and humid days, I decided that I would take my last long run to the treadmill. Since I am not training for a hot race, I felt it was more important to get in the time/miles on my legs at a pace that I am hoping to relatively maintain on race day than to battle the outdoor conditions and having to work (even harder) to stay hydrated. Tim and Nicole were gracious enough to offer the use of their treadmill again since it has the downloaded Lake Placid course that I could experience.

My game plan was the same as last long run. Two bottles an hour (one water and one Osmo) and one Gu Chomp every 15 minutes. This worked for me last time very well. I started a bit slower this time, but was just really choosing my pace based on how my legs felt. That is how I have tried to gauge most of my long runs. It seemed to take me longer to loosen up than normal, but no worries. After the first 45 minutes or so, I was not feeling the best. However, I just stayed my with my hydration/nutrition plan, did not push my pace too hard and pretty much bounced back to feeling fine. I was pleased with that.

The time passed…3 hours on the treadmill is a long time. Tony came over, so between everyone, I did have some company when I really started needing it, during the latter part of the run. Since I was “on the course”, there are a lot of terrain changes that kept me focused. When the treadmill quickly jumped from 1% incline to 8% incline, I had to adjust my set pace! I was trying to keep in my mind some of the more challenging hills sections so I will remember come race day. The steepest incline that I had was 15% for a short time!

I ended the 3 hours 41 seconds with 19 miles. It felt good to have this done. After I showered, we had Asian food delivered and the best part was Nicole’s homemade Oreo cupcakes for dessert!

Wednesday 7/2

PM – 45-minute open water swim – I met the group at Falls Lake for an evening swim. It was fairly uneventful. I got in 46 minutes with 1.25 miles. My pace was slower than what I feel I am capable of now, but I got it more quality open water practice.

Thursday 7/3

AM – 75-minutes on the bike with 4×10-minute hill repeats with 5 minute recovery between intervals. This was a tough morning. My legs were not ready to go…I was still sleeping very hard when the alarm went off and even though I got up and got on the bike, I think my legs were still in the bed asleep! I got the workout done completely and continued to be in zombie mode until about 10:00am (thank goodness for good coffee!!!).

PM – 60-minute steady run on the treadmill (with pace being 30-seconds faster than race pace). It had been a long training week. I knew I was one workout away from a rest day…and the best kind of rest day which included a holiday off from work AND no training! I was ready to get the workout done and the only way to do that was to get started. My legs were so heavy when I got going. They typically start to loosen up after a couple of miles, but honestly, that was not the case with this run. They really felt stiff most of the run, but I got it done and about the pace I would expect. I took a huge sigh of relief when I was done because I was ready to start enjoying my holiday! For the main set, I knocked out 7.21 miles and I worked for every single mile!

Friday 7/4


Saturday 7/5

Saturday morning I woke to a beautifully cool morning. With a 6.5 hour ride planned, what more could I ask for? This is July in NC…it could be warm and muggy to start with a temperature high planned to be in the upper 90s! The forecast looked great with highs forecasted in the mid to upper 80s! There were three of us riding (Susanne, Daryl and myself) the first loop which would take us to just shy of four hours. Then it was a pit stop at the house for Tony to jump on the ride to accompany Daryl and myself on the last part.

During the first route, I was feeling pretty good. I started feeling some fatigue creep in earlier than I would like, but I just concentrated on keeping an appropriate level of effort and on my hydration/nutrition plan. I was feeling uncomfortable in the saddle, which is not something I have been experiencing until much later during a long ride.

As we began the second route, I was ok mentally. Sure, I would like to be done after four hours, but I had 6.5 engrained on my brain, so that was what would happen! My eating and drinking continued as planned and I was pleased with how it that critical piece played out. No complaints and nothing to be concerned about.

We finished the 6.5 hour ride with 112 miles done! Funny how those numbers worked out!! I was very excited to have this milestone complete.

My Longest Ride!!

My Longest Ride!!

112 Miles Done!!

112 Miles Done!!

This could have been me

This could have been me

We spent the afternoon watching stage one of the Tour de France! I guess a 6.5 hour ride just did not meet my cycling dose for the day!

Sunday 7/6

OWS – I had my longest open water swim to date planned. I needed to get in 90-minutes and I was hoping that would give me the full IM distance of 2.4 miles. Tony accompanied me on the borrowed kayak (thanks again to Tim & Nicole) as my safety escort. Well, to be frank, 1.5 hours is a REALLY long time to swim!! I actually completed 1 hour 35 minutes with 2.54 miles. This was a huge milestone for me. Sure, I knew I could do it, but actually doing it is a totally different story! The swim is my weakest of the three events, so having completed this prior to race day is a mental boost!

Run – 3×15 minute speed intervals – To be honest…I was dreading this workout. After the swim, I had a light bite and then was doing a few things around the house. I really felt lethargic with zero energy. I decided just to get going and do the best I could. What else could I do? Well, the run was not easy, at all. However, it was way better than I thought it would be. I thought I would begin to run out of steam and really struggle to complete it. I completed all three intervals at a pace in the range I would expect when running on a decent day. I am not quite sure how I was able to pull it out, but I did and WAS SO EXCITED to get through it!


Time:   18 hours 9 minutes

Swim: 9,770 yards

Bike: 142 miles

Run:  32.2 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Did OK

I was so excited to accomplish what I was able to this week.  Having a solid week during my peak with so many new personal records was amazing for me.    I am truly proud of every single mile…they are transforming me into an athlete unlike I have been before and preparing me for this crazy event called Ironman!

Lots of miles this week - all new milestones - very proud of them all!!

Lots of miles this week – all new milestones – very proud of them all!!

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Week #20 Recap Header2

Week #4 in my 4-week blocks are generally “recovery weeks”. Volume is decreased which is always a nice break. My massages are also this week, which are essential to surviving this training! This week #4 was different. No big decrease in volume as in typical week fours. When I realized that, it was a little tough to digest mentally, but I am getting so stinkin’ close…I certainly can’t let up now!!

Monday 6/23

AM – 85-minutes on the bike trainer with focus on lactate threshold efforts. This was more of a challenge than typical. I felt like I had very little power in my legs (as evidenced by watts reading). I pushed through ok, but thought…”this may be a long week…”.

PM – 4000-yard swim – I felt surprisingly pretty good on this swim. There were a lot of different intervals to knock out, but I did. My plan specified easy to moderate efforts and I definitely went with the moderate pace and did not push too much past that.

Tuesday 6/24

AM – 90-minute steady run – This was another very early start. At the beginning, I honestly was not sure how it would go. I just focused on getting in the first few miles, which can seem to change the way I feel, often times. I did fall into the grove, which I so frequently speak of. I just took one mile at a time and kept my focus on drinking. I was proud that I was able to maintain the desired pace for the full 90 minutes and get in 10.74 miles for the main set…that just always seems so much harder for me to grasp when I start my run at 5:00am. I was pumped and happy to “check another one off the list”!!

PM – 1 hour 45 minutes on the bike. This session consisted of 15 minute warm-up/30 minute steady pace at race pace ++ effort/15 minute recovery/30 minute steady pace at race pace ++ effort/15 minute cool down. The 30 minute efforts were not fun…at all. I pushed to try to hold the watts, which I did. At my recovery interval, I was starving though! I had some peanut butter filled pretzels (one of my normal bike snacks). Tony then brought me a “fun size” Snickers bar that was buried in the pantry. Man, that was good! (That gives me more motivation to put a really tasty snack in my special needs bag on race day!) I had just enough left in the tank to make it through the second working interval. For my one-hour steady pace sessions, I was able to average 170 watts. I was happy with that…especially given the “state” of my legs!

Wednesday 6/25

PM – 42-minute open water swim – I was not certain that the weather would cooperate for an OWS…when I arrived at Falls Lake to meet the swim group, there was a brief storm. Everything moved out in about 15 minutes and what remained was a nice evening for an outdoor swim. The group did a smaller course to try to stay closer to shore, JUST IN CASE, the weather turned again. The distance was a bit shorter. However, once the group made it back to shore, a couple of us did two additional legs of across and back to the closest shore to give us a little over 15 additional minutes. I felt good in the water and was pleased with my 1.23 mile swim.

Thursday 6/26

AM – 70-minute run on the treadmill with 6×10-minute speed intervals – This was another one of those early morning runs where I got up at the crack of dawn to get done. That is always a questionable start to the day…would my legs wake up enough to have a good run? The thing that was pushing me a bit more was that this was the only workout of the day. I had a massage scheduled for the evening!

It was a bit of a slow start. I decided the best way to get through this run was to ONLY focus on ONE interval at a time. There was no thinking during interval #2 that there was no way I could keep this up for six total…I just tried to not go there! I stuck to my plan of one at a time. I pushed hard at holding a solid pace. It was a bit slower than some of my prior speed sessions, but I was happy with it overall. I conquered the mental game of the morning and was successful with my last session before my weekend training. My main set run distance totaled 8.87 miles.

PM – 90-minute massage! This was my first 90-minute massage in several years. I knew that I would need the extra attention that an additional 30 minutes would provide. I was so right. She spent extra time on a lot of areas that really needed it!

Friday 6/27


Saturday 6/28

Tony and I decided to embark on another road trip for more adventures in hill climbing!! We went up to the same area as a few weeks prior…around Pilot Mountain/King, NC. We had a good game plan and we kept our fingers crossed that the weather would cooperate! As we drove the approximate 2-hours (well, Tony drove while I slept for at least an hour), I was fairly certain we were going to have a rain soaked day.

When we arrived, there was no rain; it was just overcast and humid. Fingers were crossed those conditions would stay! Our game plan did not include a climb up Pilot Mountain as we did before. I was more interested in climbs that I will most likely be tackling come race day. With the exception of bypassing that first climb, the first part of our route was the same as before. We had planned to do the Sauratown climb that we did previously, as long as the weather allowed it.

We had a slight delay as we had to ask permission to pass through on a road that was closed.

Road Closed

Goofy selfie while waiting at the road closure

Goofy selfie while waiting at the road closure

We learned that they were burning down a house. We were allowed to pass through as we agreed to walk our bikes around the fire trucks and other crew. We were on our way to Sauratown, once again.

Sauratown Mountain in the distance

Sauratown Mountain in the distance

When we arrived at the base, the weather conditions were still overcast and humid. We had been sprinkled on a couple of times on our way, but nothing bad, so it was good to climb!

The base of the climb up Sauratown

The base of the climb up Sauratown


The base of the climb

The base of the climb up Sauratown

It was as challenging as before, but I think mentally I was stronger on this day. I took it nice and steady and made it without stopping for a rest break. I was excited to make it to the top for a second time!

View coming down Sauratown

View coming down Sauratown

We continued along the planned route. The majority of this part was new to us. It continued to challenge us as we climbed more and more. Some of the climbs seemed to continue on for what seemed to be never ending. We kept at it and finished up the ride at 3 hours 8 minutes. We had 4,695 feet of climbing over the 45 miles. Our average speed was 14.5mph which emphasizes the tough, SLOW course! Tony was a real trooper since he was there for me to get me the climb training I needed!

Embrace Hills

After the ride, I did a one-hour run. Since we are out in a very rural area there were no good options for running. We were too concerned about loose dogs to pick a random route on the road. So, the best option was to run on the track at the school where we had parked. This was not an exciting option, but it was safe and Tony could run with me as much or as little as he chose. One hour on the track was not fun, but I got the run done! I felt fair during the run….not great, not bad. The sun actually came out right before I started running, so it become much warmer (and was already very humid). I was able to get in 6.79 miles. Despite having heavy legs, Tony even ran a few miles with me. I HAD to run, but he didn’t! (SMILE!!)

This was a successful road trip and I was glad to get in very solid training. After a full day, we arrived home around 5pm. A nice shower and nap was the course of action when we got home. Just as we started discussing dinner and how neither of us felt like cooking, we received a last minute invite for a casual dinner out with Tim and Nicole. We jumped on that since the Salt & Lime restaurant sounded really good (margarita please!!)!

Sunday 6/29

AM – This may sound crazy (at least it was to me), but mid-morning, I did a 1 hour 45 minute bike trainer session with hill repeats! One can never have too many hills…right??? I felt better than I thought I would and did well with my 6×10-minute hill repeats.

PM – Open water swim – Tony escorted me via kayak, while I went out for a 75-minute OWS. Early on, I was feeling really heavy arms and shoulders (probably from being upright on the bike more than normal with all the hills…). I just tried to push it out of my mind and keep at it. It was probably at over the half-way point, but eventually, I was feeling better and my arms less tired. I was pleased to complete the 75-minutes with 2.11 miles. I am so close to hitting the full IM distance of 2.4 miles!


Time:   15 hours 36 minutes

Swim: 9,877 yards (a bit over 5 miles…new PR for distance swim volume)

Bike: 106 miles

Run:  28.4 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Need to do more!



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As of today when people ask when my race is, I can say…”at the end of the month”…YIKES!!!

The Count Down!!!

The Count Down (on my phone)!!!

I can not believe how close race day is! One year ago, I decided that I was ready to bite the bullet and SIGN UP for my first Ironman. It seemed so far away. Now it is 26 days away. I am ready for it to come. I am ready to load all my gear in the 4Runner and make the 13 hour drive to Lake Placid, NY with my hubbie. I am ready to put it all out there and race my heart out. I am ready for all the hours of training, sweat, hard work and dedication to come together and push me through to the end when I hear those sweet words at the finish line.

Letting Go of Thoughts

Don’t get me wrong…I still have some very key workouts to get through. I am not done with all the hard work to prepare just yet. I am so close though. So, when I say I am ready for all these things to happen…it is more mental. After these last few weeks of training, I will know that it is also physical. I will be ready.

I am Stronger

So, continue along with me these last few weeks as I get to that point. As I get to the start line as prepared as I can be. These will be great weeks as they get me to that day that I have worked so hard for.

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Week 19 Recap Header

Going into this week, I knew I had some big training sessions on the plan. As the training distances get longer and longer, the importance of quality sessions grows. This is true for the fitness portion of training as well as the mental portion.

I had a friend lend me a couple of DVDs of earlier broadcasts of Ironman World Championships. He has the box set that includes 10 years’ worth. I have seen them all, but I never tire of watching them. I watched two different years’ broadcasts while doing bike sessions during the week. It is a great way to pass the time while watching the sports’ best athletes take on Kona!

Monday 6/16

AM – 1 hour 45 minutes on the bike trainer with the main set focused on 6×10-minute lactate threshold efforts. This was a great session for me. I felt strong and was able to keep my heart rate within the necessary zone. I challenged myself appropriately for the session.

PM – 3100-yard swim – Lots of variation in the workout with 300s, 200s, 25s, pull buoy, slow, moderate, fast efforts…I really spent time focusing on my left arm stroke. This is the suggestion that Tim gave me during the prior day’s OWS. I could tell I was changing things because my shoulder became fatigued early. I agree with his assessment though and slight changes can result in great improvements. I felt that my timing was slightly off due to the change…albeit minor. I think a few more sessions and it will start to become more natural.

Tuesday 6/17

PM – LONG RUN DAY!!!!! This was a big session planned for me. As the long runs left in my plan are becoming fewer and fewer, I really need to get my hydration and nutrition dialed in so I can have a good game plan come race day! Since my last long run and the troubles I experienced there, I have spent a lot of time focusing on pre and post workout weight to gauge hydration levels. This has been an interesting process and Tim has aided me in the analysis. The plan for this long run was to run it on the treadmill. He has a machine where you can download various courses and the treadmill tracks the inclines/declines/flats of that course, including the IM Lake Placid run! Plus, since we are in a more controlled environment, we can adjust the hydration and nutrition on the fly, as needed.

When this day arrived, I was so thankful that we had the treadmill plan. I say that because the temperature hit 97 degrees and this was our first week of extreme heat. I would have melted if I had to run in that heat!

When I arrived at Tim’s we came up with a game plan. The original plan was for one 20-ounce bottle of water and ½ bottle of Osmo (which is my sports drink). Also, one GU Chomp every 15 minutes. In prior long runs I had been eating more and drinking less.

I got going on the treadmill and despite a few initial problems with internet connections, I was eventually able to start running the LP course about 45 minutes into my run. To my excitement, the first several miles are downhill. This will be a great way to transition from 112 miles on the bike to the run…I can’t overdo it, but having the downhill will allow me to really engage my legs and open up my stride to ease into the run.

After the first hour, I was feeling good. I had consumed 2 full bottles without forcing the second half, so we decided to go forward with two bottles/hour and continue on with the four GU Chomps I had eaten without issue. Throughout the run, I jumped off and weighed in order to track my weight and liquid consumption. We were tracking great throughout. I ended the 2 hours and 45 minutes and I was thrilled with how things had gone. I felt great, tired, of course, but great considering I had just run the longest (2 hours and 45 minutes) and furthest (17.75 miles) I had ever run. I had NO muscle cramping and NO stomach issues. This was a victorious run!

Tony and Tim "coaching"!!

Tony and Tim “coaching”!!

The run course has some definite challenges. There are a few steep climbs with the two longest being later on in the loop (the course is a two-loop course). I think having experienced the course on a treadmill has given me additional confidence since knowledge is power!

All in all, I could not have asked for a better long run. After the workout, we had a great dinner including steaks on the grill, salad and baked potato!

Many thanks to Tim for helping me with the hydration and nutrition plan and re-filling my bottles and keeping me on track to have a successful run! Thanks to Tony, Nicole and Tim for providing the entertainment during my run…I did not know a photo shoot was going to be in the mix! They made 2 hours and 45 minutes on the treadmill the best it could ever be!

The support crew!!  This will be my crew on race day!!

The support crew!! This will be my crew on race day!!

Wednesday 6/18

PM –The plan was for an open water swim. Well, I learned during the day, that the access to Falls Lake where we swim was closed due to high bacteria in the lake (YUCK!!!). I am no scientist, but it would seem that the high temperatures we have experienced and very, very warm lake conditions, may have contributed.   So, pool swim it was!

3100-yard swim – This was a good swim!! I continued to practice the change with my left arm/hand and it really started feeling more natural during this workout. I was really pleased with most of my times and I think this slight tweak will improve my efficiency! The swim included 600, 300, 200 and 100 sets. All were at a moderate to moderate plus level, except that six 100s that I ended with were “building” efforts. My main set of 2400 yards averaged 1:52 pace.

Thursday 6/19

AM – 1 hour 15 minutes on the bike trainer with the main set focused on strength; so, low cadence and big gear. My legs felt pretty good and actually as I progressed more into the workout, my heart rate was lower and able to easier to keep it I the prescribed zone.

PM – 60-minute steady run – I was not sure how this run would go. I had a good long run on Tuesday and had not experienced too much soreness since then, but with this run being a goal of 30 seconds faster than race pace, I did not know what would transpire. I went in with the mindset that I would give it my all, but not push too much. I did have a very long bike on Saturday and did not want to leave everything on the treadmill! It ended up being a good run. I held pace and was comfortable in my groove. I was pleased how the session went and looked forward to my rest day!

Friday 6/20 REST DAY! WOO HOO!!!

Saturday 6/21

Long ride on the plan. Six hours total. Once again, I had two routes as the game plan in order to have company on my ride. The first route was a new route that Tony planned. Most all the roads I had ridden on bunches, but the particular route was new. I had two friends join for the route one, which was planned for 66 miles. The weather had been hot all week, so I was pleased when the forecast showed an eight or nine degree drop in temperature. We were fortunate to have mainly overcast skies for this first part of the ride. At one point we thought we might get rained on, but it ended up being only a couple of drops. After finishing up the first route, I swung by the house and Tony joined for the remainder of the ride. We rode the typical “part two” route. By this time, the sun was out. I continued to focus on drinking and eating, as I had earlier as well.

I pushed a little bit harder on this six hour ride. Nothing crazy, but my average speed crept up a bit. I still felt pretty good at the end. I was definitely tired, but stomach felt normal, so I think I did good nutrition and hydration wise, as well as, targeting my effort.

Want to know the best part of the ride (besides the shower after)? The best part was that I hit the century milestone. When my Garmin hit 100 miles, I had to shout to out! That was a very exciting moment for me!

106 miles blog

Big smiles after the ride!

Big smiles after the ride!



Sunday 6/22

With a couple of training sessions planned for the afternoon, I enjoyed a leisurely morning…did not sleep in like I planned (not my fault), but still enjoyed breakfast and coffee. I love these type mornings and don’t get to experience them very often. The day did eventually get started and it seemed to start getting away from me quickly. After a light lunch, I realized that I was very tired. With speed work planned, as well as, an open water swim, I decided to get in a quick nap. This was the smart decision, since I slept hard (obviously needed).  After the nap, I had to quickly get started on the run so I could make it out in time to meet the group for an open water swim.

Run – 65-minutes on the treadmill with the main set focused on speed (plan). I had 4×10-minute speed intervals to run. I hit the first interval. During the second, I quickly recognized that I really did not have a lot in my legs. I guess I was feeling the effects of Saturday’s long ride. I continued to do what I could and even though I had to decrease my pace, I finished up the second. During the third, I stopped a couple of times and when I did so, I paused my Garmin. I think I have it set to auto-pause, but could not remember for sure. One of the times I stopped, I forgot to start it back again. I had to guess on time and I think I got the third 10-minute interval done (slower). I started the fourth and just did not have anything left it the tank. I thought of my swim and really wanted to have something to give, so I called it done. My treadmill time totaled 44 minutes (10 of which was my warm-up).

Swim – I went to meet the swim group at Falls Lake and only one other swimmer showed up. We were fortunate that a kayaker did as well. I was able to get in an hour swim at 1.66 miles. Fortunately, the water was not as warm as the prior weekend. The swim out was good and smooth but the swim back had us going head on into the current. Not fun! All in all, I was happy with my swim though!

Totals: All of these are new personal totals for weekly volume (except the swim where I have had a couple of weeks with just a bit longer distance).

Time:   17 hours 24 minutes

Swim: 9,121 yards

Bike: 142 miles

Run: 30.3 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Did OK

Harder the Struggle

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Week 18 Recap Header

This was an interesting week. Each and every week continues to test my flexibility and dedication to training. This week was no different. After Ironman, one of the things that I will not miss is super early mornings. It is crazy that I can consider 6:15am to be “sleeping in”. I just can’t get used to these days when the alarm goes off at 4-something AM!!

Monday 6/9

PM – 1 hour 45 minutes on the bike trainer with the main set focused on hill repeats. I felt strong on this workout and was pleased with my steady effort throughout. This was a good start to the week.

Tuesday 6/10

AM – 65 minutes on the treadmill with the main set focused on speed. I had 4×10-minute speed work intervals and I had to dig deep to keep a strong effort. Sometimes I feel I can get past the early morning hurdle and start out strong on the run. This morning my legs felt like they were still asleep and it took me a while to get going. I also had several GU Chomps because I felt like I needed a kick to make it through. (I typically have a Stinger Waffle before all my early morning workouts. This is generally enough to sustain me). I felt better on my third interval than the first or second and I finished the fourth by just telling myself that I was almost done! I was happy that I pushed through the initial struggles and even though it did not get easy, mentally I pushed the extent I needed to complete it strong.

PM – 2300-yard swim – This swim session is one that typically falls within the recovery weeks. It is a shorter distance session with focus on drills and form with a few speed sets built in. As is typical, I completed this session without my Garmin, just so I can keep my focus on other things besides time.

Wednesday 6/11

AM – 90 minutes on the bike trainer with the main set focused on lactate threshold efforts – This was a long session, but I really felt good. I put in a solid effort while keeping my heart rate within the desired zone. Once I got off my bike, my legs even felt a bit wobbly! Hard workout!

PM – Well, this was a lesson in flexibility. I had planned to join a group that swims open water at Falls Lake on Wednesday evenings, but there was rain moving through, so I changed my plan. I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would remain only rain and not turn into storms and I could go to the pool. Well, as I am driving from work, the conditions became crappy. I called the pool and they were closed and she said that the weather was bad there. So, I headed home to try to figure out the necessary shifting in my schedule.

After chatting with Tony on trying to figure out my plan b, it was decided that I would not train that evening and push the swim to Thursday evening (in hopes that the forecast would better cooperate).   The run that I had planned for Thursday night would be done that morning (that was the hardest part because time wise it was on the long side, so that meant a super duper early alarm!! Plus my original plan did not have a morning session on Thursday, but the shift changed that).

Thursday 6/12

AM – 1 hour 50 minutes on the treadmill with the main set including a 90-minute steady run. I attempted to set my alarm for 4:30am, but I neglected to hit “save”, so there was really no alarm set at all. I somehow only overslept by 10 minutes, so I was up and trying to warp my brain around this run at 4:40am. Mentally, I was actually in a better place than I thought I would be. I knew I had this run to do and I just had to get my body to agree to it!! The first few miles I felt ok, but was unsure if I was really going to get into the groove that I like. Well, thankfully, I did. I really had a good run. I believe that my body did a good job of accepting the challenge from my brain! The 90-minutes put me at 10.77 miles with an average pace of 8:22.

PM – 3700-yard swim – The main set included 4×15-minute intervals with 1 minute rest between sets. When I has timed sets in the pool, I pick a distance which matches up to the planned times. For a 750-yard set, I am generally just under 15 minutes, so that is the distance I swam. I felt pretty good…I was generally happy with the times of three out of four sets. My times were 14:51, 14:49, 14:58, 14:49. Of course the outlier of 14:58, I would like to see around the same time as the other three. I was definitely pretty wiped at the end of my swim…my day started VERY early and I had two tough training sessions.

Friday 6/13 REST DAY! WOO HOO!!!

Saturday 6/14

This day was a biking adventure. Tony and I decided to take a little road trip and head toward the foothills of NC to take on some biking that included more climbs that what we typically find around here in Raleigh. The area is just outside of Winston Salem and includes three distinct climbs…Pilot Mountain, Sauratown and Hanging Rock. We had never ventured out to this area for cycling, but we had heard about riding in this area from several different folks. I was able to find a route map online that incorporated the three climbs and we were ready to climb (or so we thought)! After we got to town and parked at the beginning of the route, we met a few cyclists that were familiar with the area and the climbs. We got a bit of information from them to ease our navigation and they were super friendly and helpful. We planned to hit Pilot Mountain first, then continue our ride to Sauratown and end with Hanging Rock.

We arrived at Pilot early in the ride and this started an adventure like I had not imagined! Essentially, we were climbing the entrance road into Pilot Mountain State Park. The road was smooth and there was little traffic; the cars we did encounter were slow and cautious. I quickly realized that I had underestimated this climb. I had read what the % grade was, etc, but since I don’t do a lot of specific climbing, I really could not relate to what the grade meant in terms of difficulty. It did not take long until I was huffing and puffing with a heart rate that was off the charts! After the initial little bit, we took a short break to try to mentally re-focus on this challenge. Tony was encouraging me and I was thinking “how the heck am I going to do this???”. We continued along and I was in my easiest gear and going at a snail’s pace. My legs were ON FIRE (I wish I could select a harsher term than fire, because that is how they felt).   A couple of times when I tried to stand, my legs quivered. I was trying my very best to continue forward. I had to stop again because my breathing was out of control. After regaining my composure, we started again…we actually crossed the road at a slight downhill to get clipped in and gain a bit of momentum…otherwise, I would have toppled over with the first few pedal strokes. We made it a bit further until we stopped again and just decided the enormity of how BRUAL this was! Tony was a trooper in that he was doing this FOR ME…PLUS…his tri bike is NO WHERE near step up for climbing. Mine has a compact cassette which essentially gives me an additional easy gear (that what came standard on my bike), which can help on NORMAL climbs. The only thing that would have helped me at that point, would have been an engine!

They don't always listen...

They don’t always listen…

At this point, we decided that we had enough. For the training I was trying to get, this was overkill. We were successful in making it up about 2/3 of the climb. We made our way down, very slow with tapping on the breaks to maintain control and we made it down safely. I have read various sources online about the climb with varying average grades from 7.5% to 9.2%. I also read that the steepest parts of the climb begin about a mile past the park entrance and kick up to over 16% for about a quarter of a mile (which we did). The length of the climb is 2.86 miles with an elevation gain of 1,126 feet.

We continued along the planned route and quickly realized that the rollers we were encountering were good challenges. This is one of the things we came for. Good rollers that had more difficulty than what we encountered at home. For the most part, the ride was good. There were a few areas that the roads were not in the best shape, but overall, they were fair.

We came to the base of the Sauratown climb. We really did not know what to expect at all. All we could see was the initial start, which looked pretty steep. We knew that Pilot was more difficult, but what would we be getting ourselves into by starting another climb? We had exerted A LOT of energy early on. We were debating our choices when we saw a cyclist coming down the climb. He stopped and we were asking him about the climb, what to expect, etc. About this time, the two fellas that we had spoken to in the parking lot before we started our ride showed up. They were going up and encouraged us to climb with them. Afterwards, they were headed back to our starting point. We decided to go for it. It was tough but had less grade and a SLIGHT opportunity for recovery in two or three spots. I really wanted to make it to the top since we were beaten by the first climb. I had to stop to regroup, but Tony really pushed me to keep at it and make it to the top. We did and I was so relived. The decent was tricky with a few hairpin turns, so once again we used caution and slowly made out way down.  This climb totaled 6.29 miles, elevation gain of 1,404 at an average grade of 4.2%.

Our two new cycling friends continued to encourage us during the climb and waited for us at the base.  Tony and I opted to skip the last climb (Hanging Rock)…our new adventure had been more of a challenge than we thought and we had our fair share of climbing at that point! We rode back with the guys on pretty flat terrain which allowed up to really spin out our legs and flush them out. By the time we got back to the car, the legs were feeling half-way decent! In hindsight, I wish we had skipped the Pilot Mountain climb and done Sauratown and taken a stab at Hanging Rock. Pilot really was way more climb that I need to train on for my race and we had to exert so much energy to make it to the point we did.

After the ride, I did a three mile brick, which felt ok.

I did not get in the total time for the ride per my training plan. However, the challenge was huge and it was a hard working day, despite numbers on the Garmin.

Sunday 6/15

This was another day for an open water swim. I planned to meet Tim and Nicole at Falls Lake. They were up for some paddle boarding, so I took advantage of having safety escorts! I was feeling good. The water was so much calmer that the prior week…thank goodness! The water was really, really WARM (too warm)…and for me to say this (I think the pool is chilly), it has to be warm! Overall, I had a good swim. Tim gave me a few pointers on my sighting and the left arm of my stroke, and I really focused on these great suggestions. I completed a 1:01 swim with 1.74 miles.


Time: 11 hours 57 minutes

Swim: 9,062 yards

Bike: 73 miles

Run: 19.69 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Not as consistent as I had become.

Some Sessions are Stars


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Week 17 Recap Header

Week seventeen began the next four week training block which will be the toughest four week block of the plan. I am down to two 4-week blocks before the big day!! I know this month will bring immense challenges, but all I can say is…BRING IT ON!!

Monday 6/2

PM – 3500-yard swim – I felt decent during this swim, but my times were not what I am capable of doing at this point. I got it done. That’s all.

Tuesday 6/3

PM – 2.5 hour long run – No surprise that long runs are a real challenge for me. After my last two runs, I have felt pretty trashed at the end. I was hoping for a better outcome with this run. I tried to plan my nutrition better. Also, since this day was the warmest I had so far for a long run, I decided that it would be smart to take the beginning miles on the easy (effort) side…I did not want my heart rate to jump early. I was executing my plan well. First 4.5 miles, I really kept my heart rate in check and I was feeling fine. I was eating as planned and drinking well. Tony met me once again around this point on his mountain bike to support me on my run. I decided for the next few miles to just run based on feel. It got interesting, fast! Around mile 7ish…it started drizzling…then it started raining…then it started pouring!! Tony asked me if I wanted to finish my run on the treadmill at home…I declined. I felt bad for him since he was getting drenched too, but I did not want to stop and re-start…plus it is good training because you never know what conditions will be like on race day!

The rain continued for a while. It actually distracted my mind a bit as I was watching the puddles on the ground while hoping that my soaking wet socks did not result in big blisters on my feet! After the rain let up, I was starting to struggle a bit. I don’t remember precisely, but maybe around mile 10-11. I was feeling a bit nauseous and I was starting to feel some aching in my muscles. I just kept telling myself that I could do this. I stopped for a few seconds a couple of times to stretch.

Never Know Your Limits

I made it for the 2.5 hours. I totaled 15.25 miles. LONGEST.RUN.EVER!!! My calves were cramping badly after I stopped. The walk to the car was slow and painful!! Fast forward…I called my friend Tim that has done three Ironmans and has tons of running experience.   I explained to him my symptoms and what I had planned/done with my eating and drinking. He immediately said that I was dehydrated…my described symptoms fit it perfectly. Long story short…I am not drinking enough and not of the right thing.   He is confident that this is something we can figure out and address easily. It is awesome to have such strong resources! MORE TO COME ON THIS….

Wednesday 6/4

AM – 80 minutes on the bike trainer– I have done a bike trainer workout several times after long runs. However, despite my efforts of stretching and foam rolling from the previous night, my legs were feeling rough this morning. The main focus was on big gears and low cadence while keeping the heart rate relatively low. I made it through the bike session, but it was not pleasant!

PM – 3100-yard swim. I have done this similar workout numerous times…100 moderate/:15 sec rest/50 Fast/:30 sec rest. This time, I had to do this 16 times!!! I felt better than I thought I would, since my body was pretty sore and achy from the long run. I did not push the moderate pace like I usually try to do, but held fairly consistent throughout the 16 intervals. I swam the 2400-yard main set at an average pace of 1:51/100 yards.

Thursday 6/5

AM – 75 minutes on the bike trainer – In the reference to working on my hydration, this morning I weighed first thing before my workout. I also weighed immediately following. I logged these two numbers, and the 20 ounces of Gatorade I drank, and I lost one pound! This is going to be an interesting experiment. My bike session was a lactate threshold effort of 3×15 minutes with alternating cadences between 85 and 95 every 5 minutes. I felt ok…

PM – 70-minutes on the treadmill with the main set including speed work – I was concerned about this run. It was3x15-minutes at speed work pace (with 2-minute recovery between intervals). These are always challenging and with the increase interval time plus number of intervals, I knew I had my work cut out for me! I was very proud of my effort. I stayed strong, got through all the intervals and held my speed work average pace of 7:30! I wanted to yell “woo hoo” when I finished, but I was too tired!! Total distance (which includes warm up and cool down) was 7.55 miles. I lost 1.4 pounds on this workout (which is after considering the 20 ounces of Gatorade I drank)! The trend that I am quickly seeing is that my hydration IS low. I plan to work on this immediately!!!

Friday 6/6 REST DAY! WOO HOO!!!

Saturday 6/7

5.5 hour ride – I was definitely nervous about this ride. I was anxious mainly because I pretty much trashed my legs on Tuesday’s long run and I had a lot of residual soreness that I had not felt in any of these weeks of Ironman training. Had I recovered enough to have to good long ride on Saturday? Also, the last time I rode (3 hour ride from the previous week), I didn’t have a great ride. These two elements were contributing to my nervousness. Also, I knew that this ride was a very important ride for gauging my hydration and nutrition. What is really working for me and what (may) need to be adjusted? My plan needs to be locked in sooner than later.

I had planned another two course route to comprise the 5.5 hour ride. There was one other that was riding the full 5.5 hours with me (YAY for Daryl!…he is training for IM Louisville). For the first route, we had six folks riding. I was excited to have this size group. The morning was overcast and temperatures were mild. I had planned to really keep my effort easy on the first section of the ride. Also, really focus on hydration and nutrition.

Group for Route #1

Group for Route #1

After the first route when we swung back by the house, I was feeling good. We were about 3 hours 15 minutes into the ride. I had really practiced what my plan was for level of effort, eating and drinking. My legs were not fatigued and my stomach was feeling normal. I was excited at this point.

The second route had five of us starting out (one was planning about 10 more miles). As with several previous rides, this route contained more rollers. I felt I upped my level of effort a bit, but still felt like I was riding smart. Nearing the end when we approached the neighborhood, I realized that time wise I had underestimated and would be a few minutes short of the 5.5 hours. I was still feeling good, so I, along with one other, tacked on a few more minutes. I ended the ride with 5 hours 36 minutes, 96 miles (new record for me!) at an average speed of 17.2. When I got off my bike, I was super excited. My stomach was feeling fine, I felt like my legs were in decent shape and that I still had something left had I needed to run. I finished the ride and met all my goals. I could not have been happier at the point!! On this ride I consumed 154 ounces of fluid (combination of water and Osmo sports drink) and lost a total of 1.6 pounds. I ate a lot of calories as well. We consider the 1.6 pounds lost a low amount (a minor victory for this ride), considering the length of the ride!

96 mile ride Garmin

Sunday 6/8

Open Water Swim – I was going out for another open water swim at Falls Lake and one of my goals was to work on siting. Tony and our buddy Tim that has the paddle boards (and is my new hydration consultant), were going out with me and they were going to position themselves as my “site buoys”. The conditions were terrible! The water was incredibly choppy and I was really getting beat up in the water. I tried my best, but I felt like I was fighting the water the entire time. I had hoped for an hour, but ended up 50 minutes. I gave all my effort and that is all I can ask (besides smooth waters on race day!!).

After the swim, we headed home and I had a snack, showered and then a nap. I had a run to do and even though I would prefer to just go ahead and get it knocked out before I got cleaned up, I really felt that if I took a nap, my run would be MUCH BETTER! Good call on my part…

Run – 54 minutes on the treadmill with hill repeats for the main set – I planned to run the hill repeats on the hill I have done so previously in my neighborhood. It looked like rain and the radar showed rain, so I jumped on the treadmill. I see the benefits in running the hill repeats outside and well as on the treadmill. Setting the incline to a specific number on the treadmill is nice and challenging whereas being outside and trudging up the same hill over and over is just good training physically and mentally. I had nine 2-minute hills with 2 minutes (flat) recovery. I opted for varying inclines…4%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4% and selected speed based on feel (good challenge but enough to sustain a decent pace for the hill). I was pleased with my run and felt that the nap gave me a second wind to have a good workout. I ended with 4.67 miles.

I am very deep in to training at this point. However, this week has started some lessons in what will be a major part of leading me to success on race day. I am going to keep working on the hydration and nutrition and hopefully when I get to my next long run, I will see improvement. The long ride was a personal victory in that I am still overcoming so many things and still learning so much about myself and abilities. Another week done and another week closer to IMLP!!!

Totals: 16 hours 16 minutes

Swim: 8,800 yards (5 miles)

Bike: 126.1 miles

Run: 27.5 miles

Stretching: Did an ok job of regular stretching in the evenings

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Week Sixteen Header

This was another recovery week, which time wise worked out well with hosting athletes and volunteering for the Raleigh 70.3. Recovery weeks are certainly not easy weeks…nothing with Ironman training is!! There is a slight reduction of total training time, which is welcomed. I did have a personal record during this week, which was a little victory for me!

Monday 5/26

PM – 1 hour 24 minutes on the bike – Hill Repeats – These are always a challenge and I had to complete five 10-minute repeats. I had to work hard on this one, but felt pretty good. I had some soreness in my Achilles and stopped to stretch at one point. At the end of the session, I just happened to notice that I had some movement between my cleat and pedal. Tony checked it out and tried to adjust a few things, but the final decision was that I needed new pedals (this could contribute to the feeling I had in my Achilles or could be just tight calves)! Yet another little project for him to tackleJ.

Tuesday 5/27

AM – I had speed work on the plan. 3×10-minute intervals was scheduled. I had a very tough run! I was not feeling strong at all. I made it through the first and then had a two minute recovery. The next interval, I was still struggling. I had to insert an additional (one minute) recovery at the half way point. I completed the second, but was feeling poor. I went through the next two minute recovery and tried to start again for the last interval, but it just was not going to happen. I felt an odd sensation in my legs as I tried to go and I did not like it. I decided that this day was not the day to push. Luckily, I do not have to do this frequently, but had to listen to what my body was trying to tell me.

PM – A swim was on tap for the evening. About 45 minutes before I was supposed to leave work, a storm started moving through, complete with thunder. Anyone that swims knows that thunder is NOT your friend, because it closes the pool. On my way out, I called the pool and found out they were on a temporary close until 6:00pm…no surprises. However, it was starting to clear up and by the time I made it to the pool and changed, it would be right at 6:00. As I was in the locker room getting ready, a guard walked through and told me that the closure had extended to 6:25pm. UGH! More thunder! I decided that my evening time is way too valuable and I was not going to play this waiting game it hopes that the weather cooperated. I headed home and did 60 minutes of yoga. It felt great and was very much needed. This was, by far, a better use of my time!

Wednesday 5/28

AM – 75-minute bike trainer session – Tony had put on new pedals Tuesday night, so I was ready to go! This workout was at lactate threshold with the main set of 4×10-minute intervals alternating between 80 and 90 cadence. I had a great workout!

PM – 4000-yard swim (2.2727 miles) – LONGEST.SWIM.EVER.!!!!

This swim was ok. The plan instructed easy to moderate efforts on all the sets, so I really did not push too hard for speed. My times were fine starting out, but definitely slowed toward the end. This was such as long freakin’ swim, but I was really glad to get this mileage under my belt. The main set a total of 3,300 yards and I averaged 1:57/per 100.

Thursday 5/29

AM – 75 minute steady run – Super early alarm to get in this run (early mornings never get any easier for me!!!). As I got going on the treadmill, I was feeling fair, but could tell that my head was not in this run. This was going to be one of those days. One mile at a time…that is what I told myself. Pace wise, I completed the run on track and put in 9.14 miles in 75 minutes. I battled through and that is all that really matters. Not a fun run, but a done run!!!

PM – Massage – I can only say again, what an important piece this is in my training.

Friday 5/30


Saturday 5/25

AM – 3 hour bike followed by 50 minute run

Tony and I headed out Saturday morning for our three hour ride. I was feeling strong early on…three hours seems so different from five (prior week), so mentally I was in good shape! I had an eating/drinking plan that I was going to stick with and hoped that it was agreeable! At some point after the half way mark, I started feeling weak and I did not have the power I should have. I had followed my nutrition/hydration plan pretty well, so I was not real sure what was going on. Tony and I had a brief discussion that because I had some blood drawn the day before, it could be affecting the way I felt. Bottom line, I have no idea, but just not what I was hoping for. We finished the ride, but since I was feeling less than stellar, Tony suggested that I give myself a little rest before starting my run. The plan was a brick (run immediate after bike), but since he actually suggested it, I decided to go with it. Also, it was getting pretty warm by that time and I was not sure if I should be pushing too hard with how I felt. After about 15-20 minutes, I jumped on the treadmill and ran my 50 minutes. I decided I would not push the pace, which really is what the plan describes anyway. I usually just run my bricks based on how I feel. I made it thorough and was feeling ok.

My ride topped out at 52 miles for 2 hours 56 minutes with an average pace of 17.6. I ran 5.43 in the 50 minutes at an average pace of 9:13.

PM – Since my swim had been cancelled due to thunder earlier in the week, I decided to work in the missed session this afternoon. It was a skills focus set that is typical during the recovery week. Even though I had a kind of hard morning, I thought I could get through the swim without too much of an issue, because it is not super long or too exhaustive. I got in the 2300-yards and it went fine. These sessions I don’t even wear my Garmin because I wasn’t to focus on form not time. I was just glad to be able to get this session done.

Sunday 5/26

Open water swim – I met some friends out at Falls Lake. The plan was for Tim and Nicole to paddle board and Jeff to swim too. I really wanted to get in one full hour in the open water and initially debated on whether to wear the wet suit. Temperature wise, it was not too cold, but I knew this might be the last time I would have the opportunity to wear it before my race. I decided to go with it (good decision because I did not get too warm during the swim). I got going on felt good early on. Not always typical, but I will take it. I found a groove early on and just tried to hang with it. It was awesome having a personal safety escort! The water was fairly calm and I kind of enjoyed the swim. I believe I like swimming in the lake more than the pool (at least on the calm days). On the leg coming into shore, there was some current (more than what we had early on), but still not bad. Not enough to cancel out the good feeling of the swim! When I came to shore, I checked the Garmin and had clocked 1 hour 7 seconds! Well, I got in that hour I wanted!! My distance totaled 1.68 miles

Totals: 13 hours 9 minutes

Swim: 9,256 yards (5.26 miles)

Bike: 83.6 miles

Run: 19.16 miles

Stretch: One hour of yoga plus some other stretching/foam rolling



posted by on General

This past Sunday was the second running of Raleigh Ironman 70.3. With the inaugural year being in 2013, there was tremendous excitement and hype amongst our local triathlon community that first year. Both Tony and I participated then and it was a great event. I was proud of the support the community showed the inaugural year and the volunteers were excellent!

70.3 Banner

This year, of course all my focus is on IM Lake Placid, and I did not sign up early on for Raleigh. At some point after I had selected my training plan, we decided that with the timing of Raleigh versus the timing of Lake Placid, Raleigh would be a good event for my training. However, my actual signing up came too late, as it sold out before I could register! So, we decided to volunteer…we selected two different volunteer options. One was an aide station on the run course and the second was a homestay.

Our aide station experience was crazy! We had volunteered at a local sprint tri before, but never a race this large! After spending the first hour helping get the station set up (moving boxes, cutting up oranges, pouring drinks, etc), Tony and I were on “cold sponge” duty during the race. We passed out sponges soaked in iced water to any athlete that wanted one. These were super popular. It was not as hot as the prior year, but with full sun on the run course, they were welcomed refreshment to the athletes. Our shift ran from 8:30 to 1:00 and this time really flew by. It was great supporting the race, our friends racing and seeing it all from a different perspective.

Volunteering on the Run Course

Volunteering on the Run Course

The homestay program is something we stumbled upon on the volunteer website. Essentially, we would be hosting a pro triathlete in our home as they visited Raleigh to participate in the race. We thought this would be an interesting experience, so we signed up. After communication with a volunteer coordinator and an Ironman representative, we were initially paired up with a pro. We were then asked if we could accommodate two athletes as this particular pro was traveling from California with a friend that was an elite age grouper. We agreed and were excited about meeting two great female triathletes.

One of our visitors came in Thursday evening and the second Friday evening. Of course, they were busy preparing for and coordinating the logistics of race day.  However, we were very fortunate to spend time with them over meals and during some down time to  get to know them. They are both dedicated and experienced athletes and it was a treat to have them in our home. They both had great races and we were happy to cheer for them as they passed our aide station. They each achieved personal goals during this race and I was super impressed with their athletic ability. They seemed to both enjoy their experience here in Raleigh!

I am happy that Raleigh has hosted two successful Ironman 70.3 events. It is great for so many people that travel from around the world to this event to see the city that I love and experience some southern hospitality. If anyone is looking for a new race to experience, I urge you to give Raleigh Ironman 70.3 a go!

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Week Fifteen Recap Header

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.

How Far

Monday 5/19

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.

Tuesday 5/20

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.

Nathan Hydration Pack

Nathan Hydration Pack

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.

So Very True!!

So Very True!!

Wednesday 5/21

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.

Thursday 5/22

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!


Saturday 5/24

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.

Sunday 5/18

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!!

posted by on Ironman

Week Fourteen Header

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.

Monday 5/12

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!

Tuesday 5/13

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!

Wednesday 5/14

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.

Thursday 5/15

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!!

Saturday 5/17

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.

Sunday 5/18

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…

I guess I need to add in work, this this is my life!!

I need to add in work, but this has my life the last few months!!