Thursday, May 28, 2009

Run day

Great workouts this AM. I ran 4.72 (though that includes .28 mile walking warmup), but even with walking it was a 10:47 pace. (10:18 without.) I think I'm in danger of always running the same pace regardless of workout plan/distance. Must work on my pacing a bit more. It's just so hard to resist running "fast" now that I can. Long runs are supposed to be a bit easier, with some speed work, pick-ups, or strides mixed in. I can't really explain last week's 8.4 miles in a 10:16 pace. I still think I must have measured it wrong, though it was on the bike path with mile markers and I checked it with my bike computer... Shorter runs should have variety in speed too. I incorporated some variable speed into my workout this morning. I must remember to do the faster running at the end instead of at mile 1 or 2.

I'm hoping with all this speedy running that I can PR in a 5k on Saturday in Chico, though I am not tapering/resting at all and I may bike before, depending on when it starts. I can't actually even remember what my 5k PR is. I have 31:51 listed in my mediocre training log. Speaking of which I need to figure out a better way to keep track of my training. I love having the data in a spreadsheet but I don't sit down after each workout to enter it so I end up writing it on scratch paper or my calendar and having to type it all up every few weeks. It's not the most accurate way to keep track of things. But really I'd love to get sub-30 in a 5k soon.

After the run I biked to work (reverse bricks are useful too?). I was worried I'd get cold do to being sweaty already, but it was fine. Definitely summer here. I tend to always ride fast on the AM commute - perhaps because I always think I'm late? My watch is set to not show the time when my HRM is going, must fix that. My legs were tired when I got to work...

Almost 9 hours later, I left work (a little late) and enjoyed the reduced traffic on the ride out of downtown. I ride a pretty busy street for 8 blocks and just take a lane to myself. I've only been yelled at by one driver. I can keep up with traffic until the last 2 blocks where the lights are consistently green. It's so much faster to go this route than to take the wider, arguably safer street that I take into work. Bikes and cars get stuck at each light going both ways. It took me 3 minutes to get from my office to Old Sac which is about 1/2 mile, I'm shocked my HR was only 159 because when I'm pushing 22mph (my max on level ground?) to try to keep up with the cars in those last few blocks, it feels like my heart is going to explode. My quads are screaming too. But it's much better than a 12 minute stop-and-go on the other street.

After I rode through the park, I decided to try a new route home. I recalled seeing the airport loop route online last weekend when I was deciding where to ride my century and I wanted to explore part of the airport loop. I got a little bit lost by failing to make a turn. I ended up in a business area and the street ended - all I could see was the interstate. No biggie, just got some extra miles! Turned around and guessed which way to go to find a way over the freeway. Then after I crossed the interstate I thought I was lost but just as I was about to pull into a truck stop and call someone (anyone with google maps available to them), I saw the street I was looking for. The roads weren't that great, but less traffic than the streets I usually ride on. It was fun to explore. I may try the full airport loop sometime although crossing I-80 on El Camino wasn't really my favorite part of the day.

Exploring is one thing I love about riding my bike. The route can be changed so easily. On Tuesday I rode my hybrid with panniers so I could take my clothes, lunches, and snacks for the week to work without having the weight on my back. On the way home I stopped on the side of the road and bought cherries and they fit nicely in the empty panniers.

Today is the third day in a row that I've gotten 2 hours of aerobic exercise in a day. (Monday's run was 10 minutes short.) Makes sense that I'm tired!

Tomorrow I have to be at work early which means I'm not getting 2 hours of exercise. Sleep is an important part of my training plan!

Bike month miles with 3 days to go:
Rose: 643
Kendra: 592

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting faster

This morning's bike workout focused on increasing my muscular endurance so I can ride a higher (harder) gear more effectively. The higher the gear => the more revolutions the tire makes with each pedal rotation => travel farther. My training book says a key skill for IM training is to be able to churn a high gear for a long time in the flats. But it's important to keep cadence up around 90 rpm. So my workout today was based on a suggestion in the book: ride 30 seconds in typical gear that gives me 90 rpm, then switch to a higher gear for 30 seconds and try to maintain the 90 rpm, repeat.

My warmup was riding from home to the park (although starting on the busy street I live in does not really give me a good warmup, I'm usually pushing 20mph within 3 or 4 minutes), then I rode east on the bike path. I gave myself 25 minutes to ride out, giving me 25 to get back to the park, 20 to get to work, and 10 to shower and change.  I had so much fun pushing myself that when I got to the 8.0 mile marker at 25 minutes I figured I should just ride til 8.5 mile marker. Luckily I was 2 minutes faster on the return so I wasn't late to work. Riding faster on the return seems to be the standard these days, makes me wonder if I actually get faster throughout the workout or if the wind is always heading west. Pretty sure it's the latter.

One thing I love about workouts like today is that it seems like I can feel myself getting faster. That keeps me motivated throughout the workout. On the return trip I upped the time in the harder gear to 45 seconds, keeping the 30 seconds recovery gear.  My total avg speed was 17mph, but for the stretch on the bike path alone it was 18mph. It sounds so slow when I write it as I know it's not speedy for most serious triathletes, but it's fast for me. My legs could definitely feel it.

I squeezed in 25 miles in the morning and then just 12 in the afternoon. I tried to make myself ride more in the afternoon but the pollen was flying in my face and my legs were tired! I'd toyed with the idea of doing my 4 mile run after my bike ride home - a good brick workout. But I think I need fresher legs for the run. Maybe tomorrow morning? I've got a 5k race on Saturday so I need to run at some point tomorrow. Speaking of running, my long run last week (8.4 miles) was faster than a 10:30 min mile pace. I'm still in disbelief after doing the math over and over again. Woohoo. I'm getting faster!

Rose: 611
Kendra: 571

Pretty sure we'll both be glad when Bike Month is over.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Poor man's century + long run

My mom complained that I haven't updated the blog so this is for you mom..

Thursday was Bike to Work Day, so I had to bike to work. Just 15 miles roundtrip, not much! I ran 0.7 miles immediately after the return trip with the dog. A short and easy brick workout and it gave her some exercise after being home alone all day too. Then I headed to REI to pickup my new aerobars and a new saddle. Always fun to buy new equipment!

Friday seems like a long time ago at this point. It turned into a rest day. I'd planned to swim after work but Dave was going to get back to Sac early and I wanted to put my aerobars on in time for my Saturday morning ride and clean up my bike a little. I had no idea how long the bike stuff would take. It ended up taking a lot of time. I was so exhausted Friday night that I gave up on it and went to bed around 9.

Saturday, with Dave's help, I attached the aerobars. It took awhile though, and then I had to decide on a route. I wanted to ride 100 Saturday and 100 Monday so I could get ahead of Rose by as much as possible. I found a route that was a 25 mile loop that would put me back home every 25 miles (<2 hours) which would be perfect for restroom stops/water refills/etc. But once I got riding I realized how windy it was and since I wanted to put in aero miles and not worry about cars, I rode to the bike path instead. I really enjoyed my ride. The weather wasn't too hot or too cold (after about 25 min). Surprisingly there weren't that many people on the bike path for a nice Saturday. I did have 2 almost accidents though, one would've been a 6 person pile-up and I thought for sure I was going down. But somehow my bike just slid all over the place and I stayed upright and unclipped just in time to put my foot down as the guy behind me caught my elbow and we leaned against each other to both avoid falling. That was near the end of my 100 mile ride and it got my adrenaline going again so no harm I suppose.

The bike ride was nice for lots of reasons... During the Lodi century I didn't have any of those "why did I sign up for IM?" moments, and I didn't on Saturday either. It's nice having those be mostly a thing of the past. Although maybe they'll come back as the running miles increase?

On Saturday though I was tempted to make it a shorter day and not ride the full 100. (It's called the Poor Man's Century because it was all on the bike path and I didn't pay any money to an organization to provide me food and water, etc, during the ride.) Mostly I was tempted to call it quits because I started the ride so late it was going to blow the whole day. It's really hard for me to go and exercise ALL day when it's the only day of the weekend that Dave and I have to spend together. But I knew I had Sunday to spend with Dave, so I persevered and at a certain point there was no reason to even consider calling it quits because I wanted to see how fast I could ride the 100 and I didn't want to have to start from scratch the next time. Total time was 6:47:48 which is an average of 15mph - though this includes the water stops, and the 180s that I did to double back and add miles. I did a stretch on the south side of Lake Natoma 4 times because it requires good technical riding due to the curves in the road and the "hills". It was good practice for me. My actual riding speed was an average of 15.9 mph.

As soon as I got back home I changed my shorts and shoes and headed out the door for a short transition run with the puppy. I ran 1.3 miles and the first mile took 12 minutes but that included a few stops for the puppy, so I feel pretty good about the transition runs. I felt like I could've run 5 miles but I was hungry and ready to spend the evening with Dave!

Sunday I went to Arizona at the last minute to visit my ailing grandparents. I had a good visit with them Sunday afternoon, followed by a quick swim in my parents' pool, and then gluten-free pizza and beer at a local italian place. Ate all those calories I burned on Saturday, and then some.

I planned on a run for Monday, but it hadn't occured to me while packing that I could actually do a long run while in AZ, so I didn't bring any hydration packs. Mistake! I hate carrying water bottles so I found a 4 mile loop to do and went home to drink water after 4 miles and after 8 miles, but wow I was so thirsty. Sure is a dry heat there. I ran 9.68 total. I was tempted to make it a nice even 10, but knew doing more than planned was the road to injury. I averaged 11:30 minute miles (including my stops). Felt a little slow but not terrible. Curious what my pace of actual running was. I also remembered (mostly) to walk 1 minute after every 10 minutes of running. For the most part I was doing 15:00 min mile pace during the walking.

If I can average 15 mph on the bike in Florida, that'll be a 7.5 hour bike ride. Assuming the swim + transitions takes me 2 hours, that leaves me with 7.5 hours to run the marathon (17:10 min miles). I am starting to think I can actually finish the race in under 17 hours!  I'm feeling confidence in my cycling and I already had confidence in my swim (although I need to swim more regularly or that confidence is going to be a mistake). So things are going well!

Back home in Sac now and am getting back on the bike tomorrow!

Rose: 535  (some of those on a new bike - so jealous I am!)
Kendra: 511

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I've been thinking that maybe I'm making my blog too boring. Too much of a training journal and nothing of interest to anyone else? So I thought I'm aim to put more of my real thoughts into it. I think about Ironman all the time. I've read that people who exercise in the morning or bike to work are more productive during the day, but sometimes I'm not sure that's true for me. Sometimes after a great workout in the morning, all I can think about is Ironman training and it's hard to focus on work!

On a more positive note, I realized recently that I haven't had the "what have I gotten myself into?" thought for awhile. (Well, to clarify, I meant I haven't thought that with regard to Ironman. I have had that thought in regard to the bike month contest.)

Today's training was all on the bike. Since I've got the dog I have less time in the morning to exercise, so that meant I had to ride faster. I need to do a time trial soon so that I can do one every few weeks and measure improvement more scientifically. I haven't been working on run speed lately, which is starting to bother me in the back of my mind. My foot has been hurting a tinsy bit. Not sure what it is but I'm hoping to get to the running store (I love Fleet Feet) this weekend so they can give me some advice. Until then I'm just doing some easy runs.

Bike month miles:
Kendra: 395
Rose: 389

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dog run

I finally found my shoe-pod, a little device that attaches to my shoelaces and sends a signal to my watch which keeps track of how far I run. So this morning I took Sierra to the dog park, and we both ran around in circles. I ran bigger circles and managed to run 2 miles - 20 laps around the park. Boring! There were two other humans there and one of them had chatted with me before and my ironman training came up and he's a former marathoner, so he just said something about me getting plenty of mileage in today. The other human was too busy with his dogs to think I was crazy, I think. Then I ran with Sierra along a path through a park. I jogged slowly so she could mostly keep up by walking fast, and she was on the grass which is good for her puppy joints/paws. It wore her out. Yay. After work we went on a walk together and I biked a little bit, just trying to stay ahead of Rose as long as possible. I only ran twice last week and it may end up like that again this week. Thursday should be my long run day, but it's Bike to Work Day, so I have to bike to work!

Kendra: 372
Rose: 357

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lodi Sunrise Century

Rose and I survived the century ride on Saturday! We conquered 100 miles (a few more actually) in 100 degree heat. It was really an oven out there and most of the ride had no shade. But the ride organizers were smart and added some extra water stops. Just when I'd start to question whether it'd be okay to refill my water bottle from the sprinklers in a field, we'd go up another hill and the oasis would be there. Ice cold water and gatorade and chairs shaded by a tent. Pretty nice. The ride took a bit longer than I'd hoped, but we finished it. Some people actually took a shortcut after about mile 65, giving up on the hot day. We toughed it out though. Overall, it really wasn't too bad. I don't think I'd want to ride 100 miles all the time, but now that I've done it, I feel a lot more confident in my riding for Florida.

Sunday I did some more bike shopping. I tested 5 or 6 bikes, riding them each a few miles. I tested one tri bike from a guy in the tri club who is selling his and the rest were road bikes from a shop. The tri bike was squirly but I liked the aero positioning. I still like the Specialized Ruby and now I like the Trek Madone too. Maybe go back and try the Cervelo RS... It's a lengthy process. Hopefully at the end I'll have a bike I love!

Today I rode before work. I've got the puppy this week so I didn't have a lot of time, so that meant I had to ride faster. My legs got tired but it made me feel strong all day.

Bike month tally (pre-PM rides):
Kendra: 363
Rose: 312

We both met our mileage goals!

Friday, May 15, 2009

First century - tomorrow!

Tomorrow I'll be riding my first full century bike ride (100 miles). Rose and I are doing it together, so no chance to edge her out tomorrow. We can start between 6 and 8am, we're aiming for closer to 6 since it's going to reach 95 tomorrow. The more I think about it, the more I have no idea how long it will take us! Organized rides are always tricky because there is so much food at each rest stop to entice you to 'rest' longer.

I opted to sleep in instead of swim this morning. The only exercise I got was test riding a few bikes after my massage. Gotta finish packing my stuff for the ride. Plastic baggie of Heed powder, gluten-free pretzels, Lara bars (so far my only protein, must work on that), Gu Chomps and Gu (with and without caffeine), and will bring a banana to munch just before starting. Maybe I'll make a PB&J rice bread sandwich too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Monster and peloton

I've created a monster! Rose has decided she loves bicycle commuting so much she's going to do it every day! That's 150 miles each week for her. The contest is not looking good for me. But on the plus side, I've encouraged another person to get out of her car and onto a bike! One less car!

My long run this morning went pretty well. I started in the park along the bike path a little before mile marker 0.5. I planned to run to marker 4.0 and turn around and if I had enough time I'd run some more before getting the bike out of the trunk and riding to work. I learned something new today - there is no painted mile marker 4.0 on the bike path! (Either that or I missed it both ways.) I knew I had to turn back after 42 minutes but I thought I was so close to 4.0 that I kept running, figuring I'd just have to run faster on the way back. Finally I realized I should check my split time, since I was letting my watch keep track of each 1/2 mile. Well, the 1/2 mile I'd been running had taken me 9 minutes by then, so I knew I'd missed it. I saw the freeway up ahead so I decided to run to that figuring I could measure the distance from the 4.0 marker to the freeway later on Google Earth, but once I got there I could see the 4.5 marker so I ran just a little bit more. Needless to say I walked into my office at 9:03. oops! I got a good 20 minutes of tempo running in the middle of the long run. I think I like the mid-week long run, though I need to wake up earlier each week to add mileage. Also I think I will need to drink some coffee after arriving at work. I was ready for a nap by 3pm today.

On the return bike ride after work, I saw a big group heading out for the Thursday night river ride. A peloton of maybe 25-35 guys (pretty sure it really is all guys) who are known for being hard core riders. A coworker joins them, but I've been warned by members of the tri club that I need to stay away. They really push the group riding and ride fast (high 20s mph) and it's apparently a really good place to get into a crash. I'll pass. It was fun to see them ride by though, as I headed along the trail to get a few extra miles in.

The afternoon rides are just not enjoyable for me for the most part. The wind picks up and there is pollen flying everywhere. I usually turn around and head to my car when I can't stop sneezing or my eyes itch so much that I want to scratch them out of my head.

Tomorrow is a long swim day followed by a short day at work followed by either a massage or some bike test rides. Saturday is a looooong bike ride!

Kendra: 223
Rose: 193

Riding and schedule changes

Yesterday I rode a good solid 20 miles in the morning. I didn't do any intervals, just tried to keep up a good pace. I need to check my training log, but I think my ride went the same distance as the previous week when I'd done intervals, and took the same amount of time. Maybe my recovery pace between intervals was too slow? Maybe I'm getting faster? In the afternoon I rode a few extra miles, but my back started hurting with my backpack on, and my allergies flared up so I called it a day.

After reading Joe Friel's training books, I've decided to try to mix up my typical training week a bit. He suggests scheduling the long run and long bike days at least 48 hours apart from each other. If you can't do that, he says do long run on Saturday and long bike on Sunday, to prevent injuries. (Most triathletes seem to do it the other way around, so that it's done in the same order as the actual triathlon, bike before run.) I made that change about 6 weeks ago and it's really helped my run. My knees and IT band didn't hurt as much mainly. So I've decided to give his ideal schedule a try by doing my long run (just 8-9 miles this week) before work today.

It's tempting to scratch the long run entirely and do another bike ride so that I can maintain my lead on Rose, but another Ironman-in-training (who had a similar dilemma this winter) reminded me, I'm not training to win the contest, I'm training for Ironman! Less than 6 months until race day -- I can't afford to quit running for the month just to bike more, even though it's amazingly tempting. Must remind self - contest is fitting into the IM training. Not the other way around.

Kendra: 214
Rose: 157 (though I think she forgot to log her ride home yesterday, which would put her at 174)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gotta ride

Yesterday morning I got so excited about bike month that I ended up running out the door with my bike clothes on, determined to ride in the morning and get that pesky run done in the afternoon. By the time I got to the park with my bike in the trunk, I'd thought better of it, changed back to my running clothes, and did my 4 mile run. THEN I hopped on the bike and squeezed 9.5 miles out before arriving at work. On the way home I rode an extra .5 to make the total a nice even number (decimals are not allowed on the bike month website, and Rose and I are aiming to be as accurate as possible). Then I decided I might as well ride 1 more mile. I stopped at 1 extra because I had my backpack on with my running shoes in it and it wasn't comfortable. (When I ride my hybrid to work I use panniers, no backpack.)

Today is a bike day so I gotta go ride! Rose's 30+ mile commute is helping her gain on me.

Kendra: 186
Rose: 138

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May is Bike Month contest

As I think I mentioned, May is Bike Month here in Sacramento. On the website where we log our miles, there's an option to "challenge a friend." Just for kicks, I decided to challenge Rose to see which of us could log the most bike miles this month. She then responded saying, ok but only if this is a real contest where the winner wins something. Winner now gets dinner at PF Changs (gluten free and nutritional information easily available!) courtesy of loser. Apparently Rose does not take lightly to contests. All of her friends have told me I'm going down.

We were both around 50 something early last week. Rose turned her 30 mile roundtrip commute into a bike ride a few times, and I had my long ride this weekend. If she rides to work each day I may have a problem. My only hope is that she realizes she has to run a marathon in 2 weeks. (I also got lucky that her parents were in town last weekend keeping her busy.) It's tempting to ditch my run this morning and ride my bike instead, but I do want to make sure I keep my running miles up! I'll try to include an update on the contest regularly.

Current tally: Kendra: 172, Rose: 105.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beautiful biking weather

We had fantastic weather this weekend for cycling. I rode 30 miles on Saturday during my test rides, and 84 miles yesterday along the river bike path. The 84 miler was my longest ride ever (hit 75 last year and before that it was the 56 miles in my half ironman).  I'd hoped to do 80, and when I realized 84 was exactly 3/4 the distance of an ironman bike leg, I had to add 4 more miles. It felt great. I wished that I had aero bars though, or a tri bike!  I used my REI members coupon to buy aero bars before I went to bed.
I think this was the first time I rode more than 50 miles by myself. I actually enjoyed it because it meant I only had to stop when I needed to stop and I was going my own pace the whole time. Noone ahead of me that I had to hammer my legs to catch up to either. It gave me the chance to focus on muscular endurance. Total ride took me 5 hours and 43 minutes, actual riding time was 5:22 (15.6 mph). I need to work on speed too... I had a steady 15.7 until the last 10-15 miles or so when it started to drop.
During the ride I happened to meet a few fellow Sac Tri Club members at a water fountain near the hatchery. (I was wearing my STC jersey.) When they passed me awhile later while I was stopped to get my pretzels out of my saddle bag, they made sure I was okay. One of the things I love about the river path is that there are so many other cyclists out there that you're never far from help if you need it. There are even emergency call boxes along the path. The water fountains and restrooms and lack of cars make it pretty unbeatable in terms of a good place to ride.
I stopped by chipotle on the way home to get a burrito bowl which I put in the fridge as soon as I got home. Wasn't sure my stomach was quite up to it. Drank an Ensure to get the refueling going (perfect refueling food!), showered, stretched, then relaxed on the couch for an hour before I felt hungry. I eat and drink plenty on my rides, so it's not like I was starving. Burned over 2300 calories on the ride and consumed about 1750, approx 300 per hour. My goal caloric intake per hour on the bike is actually 300 per hour. I was surprised I hit it almost exactly since I didn't plan it in a timed manner. I just brought what I thought would be enough, and then brought a few hundred extra calories just in case. I think I finished with about 400 calories in my bag that I hadn't touched. After finally eating, I made my lunch and dinner for the week by cooking chicken, salmon, buckwheat, and chopping various vegetables. It took me quite awhile, but I'm thinking part of that was due to being so tired from the ride that my brain was a little slow. It's nice to have my food all ready (and now at work) so I can just focus on my workouts, work, and sleep during the week. Next time though, I think I'll make the food on a long run day. Long bike days are just too long for lots of cooking.
Almost nine hours of sleep later I was ready to go for a swim before work. Concentrated on drills, so if I counted accurately (doubtful but probably somewhat close) I only swam 1000yds in 30 minutes. But my form was good, and it's important to focus on form!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Swimming before work and bike testing

Thursday was a run day and I had to get to work an hour earlier than usual, so I did my run after work. Biked to work from the park again, then did an easy 2 mile run on the treadmill. This is an easy week for me so I'm maintaining frequency but reducing time. Probably should've reduced intensity too and skipped the hill/intervals from Tues/Wed. Live and learn!

Friday I swam before work for the first time since we moved here. Swimming at the outdoor pool at the gym is not quite the same as starting my day with the sea turtles at Magen's Bay, but it was still nice. I'd planned to swim a 1500. I did a 1000 yard time trial after a very short warmup. (18:26, give or take a few) Once I hit 1500 I figured I should do 1600 for a real mile, then might as well do 2000, then I was so close to doing 1.2 miles (half iron distance) I did that. I basically only called it quits because I had to get to work! Biked from there to work and had time for a few extra miles once I got downtown, which was great because Rose and I are competing to see who can ride the most miles this month for May is Bike Month. Rumor is she's incredibly competitive about contests like this, so I need to ride whenever I can! Very tricky because we both have to keep up our running too!

This morning I did my Saturday run, but kept it short for the recovery week. Plan was 5 miles, need to map out my run exactly but I think it was 4.5. My stomach started hurting after a mile or so. I didn't leave enough time after breakfast before the run.

Then I headed to Davis to test ride some bikes. I rode the Cervelo S1 again as well as the S3. I rode them each for about an hour and now we know how the setup needs to be adjusted to fit me better. Not sure I could tell the difference between the two frames (S1 is aluminum, S3 is carbon) other than when I first got on the bikes, but that is probably mostly because the S3 saddle was so uncomfortable that I couldn't think about much else! I was so happy to get off that bike. I spent a lot of my return ride on it standing up to avoid sitting on that thing. Yikes.

Tonight was a tri club party but I was pretty tired so we didn't stay long. It is really nice to have a group of triathletes to see on a regular basis and discuss bikes and training with them. And it's always great to see a familar face during a race! Three of us are doing Ironman Florida.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Riding intervals

This morning I woke up early to get a good bike ride in before riding to work. I took my road bike to the bike trail and did a workout from Joe Friel's Triathlete's Training Bible (it really is). It involved doing "cruise intervals", which basically amounted to riding hard for 6 minutes, trying to get my heart rate up to Zone 4 at the low end of comfortable cadence (70-80 rpm for me since I usually ride at 90, I may go lower next time though), and then recover for 1-2 minutes, then do it again. I planned on doing 6 intervals with 1 minute recovery because that plus a 10 min warmup and cooldown was close to an hour. But at some point near the end, I realized that I would end up back where I started having already done a 10 min cooldown and still having 15 min left to ride downtown, so I added a seventh interval so that my cooldown wouldn't be so drawn out, and so I'd definitely get to work on time! 
It was a really great ride. The weather was pretty perfect and lots of other cyclists were taking advantage of the weather too. I need to do a fitness test Friel suggests to ensure that I've got my Zones calculated properly. (I think the test is something like do a 30 minute time trial, the average HR in the last 20 minutes = lactate threadhold (LTHR), and the zones are all based off the LTHR).  Just based on my estimates, I think I got to Zone 4 in all of the intervals, although the first one it took awhile. I think if I didn't quite make it up to Zone 4 then that means my legs are weaker than my cardiovascular system. (does that make sense?) Basically I just pedalled as hard as I thought I could sustain for 6 minutes. I think I was mostly doing 20mph for the intervals. (I kept my bike computer on cadence instead of mph for most of the riding, but when I switched to speed, 20mph was typical.) It felt good to push myself and I think I'm going to do this once a week. It's a nice feeling to get to work having already ridden 20 miles and burned the calories from my breakfast + post-ride snack.
I'm a bit tempted to go swimming after work, but I need to make sure I get enough rest and recovery so that I don't end up having a few days of hard workouts followed by many days of rest. Much better to balance it properly and keep the frequency of workouts high and the intensity lower if necessary. My legs are definitely feeling the burn of yesterday's hilly treadmill run, weight lifting, and the interval riding this morning. It'll be nice to ride 3 miles back to my car this afternoon and stretch out my legs a bit. The weather is getting nicer again so hopefully soon I can go back to riding my bike from home and avoiding the car.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bike shopping and a great workout day

Yesterday I went bike shopping. I'm looking to upgrade my entry level road bike (trek 1000) which doesn't fit me as well as it could. I've been testing bikes for the last few months. I've found two I like - the Specialized Ruby and the Cervelo S1. The Cervelo seems like a really great deal. The bike rides fast, looks great, and all the reviews online are stellar. I'm just not sure it fits me. The bike shop guy said it did, but I'm not sure I trust him. (Can someone my age really be that knowledgable about fit? Probably, but send the old folks my way, please.) It would be great because it doubles as a road bike and a tri bike. The Ruby has a compact geometry though, which was suggested to me by the last bike fitter who saw me on my Trek (he was older and therefore wiser, yes?). I didn't reach any conclusions about bikes yesteday, and since the shopping trip took over 3 hours, my workout for the day turned into the bike test rides (maybe 10 miles of riding total...)

I had a great workout day today though. In the morning I biked the 3 miles from the park to work (it didn't even rain on me!), then biked an extra mile around the capitol park. In the afternoon, I biked back to my car then rode an extra 2 miles. I pledged 300 miles for the month. (May is Bike Month in Sacramento. City's goal is to get people to ride and log 1 million miles on bikes this month.) Since I didn't ride over the weekend, I'm a bit behind. After I got to my car, I drove to the gym (it's really only 1/2 mile away from where I parked my car, so I could've just ridden there and locked the bike up, but the park closes at "dusk" and I haven't figured out when that is yet and so I'm trying to make sure my car doesn't get gated in overnight).

At the gym, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill - I made it a "rolling hills" workout, but I think I overdid it trying to run 3-4% incline at 11:30 right at the start. By 1.5 miles I was too tired to keep running hills and I had to slow the pace down to 12 min miles. I am definitely not in shape to run my hilly 5 mile route that I used to do on St Thomas every so often! The "hills" kept the run interesting though. Then I lifted weights for 30 minutes. I think I finally found the right weight limit for each machine that I do to be exhaust the muscles so that the last rep was the last one I could possibly do. My legs and arms have a great post-workout feeling.

I feel like I lost an hour somewhere today though. I was sure the clocks in the gym were wrong, but once I got home it really was almost 8. I'm glad I had my dinner planned and mostly cooked. When I workout after work and before dinner, it's hard to eat enough to get through the workout but not eat so much that it irritates my stomach during the workout or so that it leaves me with no calories left for a real dinner post-workout. I'm trying to make sure I've got my food ready a few days ahead. Not sure I'll manage to get to bed by 9:30 tonight as I'd hoped because I still need to get my exercise gear together for tomorrow, and I need to stretch some more, too. Planning on riding to work, but riding for awhile on the bike trail before actually heading to work. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend in Chico

I'm enjoying my weekend in Chico, though it's been rainy so I haven't been on my bike because I forgot to bring my trainer with me. (the thingy that turns my bike into a stationary bike when i hook them together.) I'm not thrilled with the idea of riding on slick roads in the first place, but also my rear tire is pretty worn (from using the trainer all winter) and doesn't have much traction left. I should replace it soon, but since I'm considering getting a new bike, I'm putting off buying a new tire.

Yesterday it just rained and rained. I've mentioned before that I like to do my workouts in the morning so that I don't slack off and avoid it altogether. It'd be great if I followed my own advice and rules. Dave's academy class had plans to meet at Bidwell Park for a run in the afternoon, so it seemed like a good idea to combine my long run with his run, and maybe I'd even have someone to run with. Instead of running in the morning, we went to the park with the dog and then headed to the farmers market. Unfortunately the rain never let up and the group cancelled the run. With the lack of a group of people to meet up with for a run, our motivation sizzled out too. We did manage to do some important and tedious grocery shopping though and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking sugary chai tea followed by gluten free beer and gluten free strawberry shortcake. Not exactly a healthy day! I did feel guilty enough about blowing off my run that I forced myself to do a 10 min ab routine I found on netflix. It was something... I really admire all the ironmen-in-training who don't have days like that. I imagine there are some out there.

Woke up to grey skies, but it was dry! Since the roads were still slick and wet, I decided to do my long run today. (The rain was bad enough that the bike races on Friday night and Saturday morning got cancelled for safety reasons.) Dave put an audiobook, Ender's Exile, on his mp3 player for me and I listened to it while I ran. I think I'm going to do that more often. I try to avoid listening to music, or anything really, while running as a general rule. First, I view them a bit as a crutch. Mp3 players are not allowed in most races, and definitely not in the ironman. I don't want to have to rely on listening to certain songs to get myself through a workout. I have to be used to the silence, or voices, in my head. It's important to train my brain too. Second, it's safer to have my ears open listening for cars or would-be felons. But every so often I like to indulge in having something else to focus on while I run. My run went pretty well. I ran by time instead of distance since I wasn't entirely sure of the distance. (I'll check it on google earth later.) I ran 10 minutes, then walked 1 minute, repeatedly. Walk breaks are encouraged by a lot of triathlon experts, especially for beginner ironmen-in-training. (Some weeks I probably spend more time reading about triathlon training than actually training.) The walking gives some muscles a break for a minute, and generally reduces the risk of injury, while negligibly slowing the overall pace down. I followed this technique, roughly, for my half marathon in March and it resulted in a hefty PR. Sometimes it's hard to convince myself to take a walk break, especially in a race situation, but my legs felt a lot better on today's run than last week's. Both runs were close to 1 hr 45 minutes.

One mistake I made on today's run was not eating anything during the run. I consumed 100 calories of Hammer's Heed beverage during the run, but that's it. I felt pretty out of it at the end. I'd brought two gel/gu packs of 100 cals each, but didn't feel like I needed them at first, and then once I only had 30 minutes left it seemed like a waste. It's not a good idea to let myself get so drained though!  I felt like I ran a good pace though. As best I can tell from tracing my route on, I ran the first loop (5.91 miles) in 62 minutes (10:30 min miles), and my total distance was 9.25 in 102 minutes (11 min miles). I had to slow myself down a bit at the end because my HR kept going above where I wanted it. I want to focus on pacing more evenly, but before I get too concerned about that I think I'll try to find the thingy I attach to my shoe so that I know how far I've run. Plotting a route using a satellite image of an area that is covered with trees is not exactly the most accurate way to keep track of my training...

Meanwhile in the rest of the world, friends are participating in half marathons and triathlons this weekend. One of my heroes in the Ironman universe, Sister Madonna Buder, finished the half Ironman course on St. Croix today. She's 79 and she's awesome. And my friend Jennifer finished her half marathon yesterday in a time I can only dream about. I love being able to track my friends during a race. Rose is out on the run course right now at the Wildflower triathlon fest. Go Rose!

Friday, May 1, 2009

1.2 miles

Earlier this week I wasn't feeling super well. I woke up early to ride my bike on the trainer Wednesday, but I just didn't feel right. I spun on the bike for 5 minutes, then hopped off, deciding I didn't feel well. After a few minutes, I decided I was just being lazy and I climbed back on and rode for another 15 minutes before deciding it was time to call it quits. I still can't quite identify what the problem was, but I kept thinking about a bit I read in one of my many triathlon training books - each workout should serve a purpose. Since I wasn't feeling well enough to really ride and get a cardio or muscular workout, I couldn't identify a reason to keep going, and there were plenty of reasons to stop - mainly, so I could rest if I was ill! I took Thursday off from exercise too and got 8.5-9 hours of sleep Wednesday and Thursday night and I feel much better today. One of the hardest parts about self-coaching is knowing when to push myself and when to give myself a break. It's a tough line to identify sometimes.

This morning I felt like swimming for the first time in awhile. I swam 1.2 miles - the distance of the swim in a half iron triathlon, so yes, half the distance I'll do in Florida. It was nice that it wasn't hard for me, considering I've not been swimming more than once or twice a month. I'm pleased it came back easily. I timed each 500 yards (20 lengths) and they were all almost exactly 10 minutes. The 1.2 (84.5 lengths) took me 42 minutes. I think I've definitely improved my stroke. I concentrated on my stroke the whole time, in addition to concentrating on which lap I was on. Lauren taught me a good way to count lengths, for a 20 length set, go through each month of the year: January is the first length, February is the second, etc, after December, count length 13 as "13", just because it's 13. Then go through the days of the week. That gives you 20. It was a lot easier than just counting up to 84. The clouds were very dark but the water felt nice after just a lap. It was sprinkling a little, but the pool was pretty empty so I got to swim in a middle lane for a change. (At masters swim, I'm in the slow lane, which is on the edge.)

After a brief pause in the hot tub, I hopped on the treadmill. I planned to run a mile but I got distracted. When I saw the distance had reached 1.05 I decided to run 1.2. (ocd!) Did that in 14 min - it was set at 11:30 pace. It is so nice to have 11:30 be an easy run for me. A few years ago an easy run speed meant 15 minute miles, basically just barely a step above walking fast.

Then I did my weight lifting, which takes about 35 minutes. My arms are pretty tired right now! I've got to pack to head up to Chico though. I think I'll bring my bike and my trainer, in case it's raining and I need to do my weekend ride indoors. If the sky clears up, I might join one of the Chico cycling clubs on a ride this weekend.