Monday, August 31, 2009

Recovery Week!

Yay, it's recovery week time! Was supposed to start it off with a swim today, but apparently getting to work early when work is busy does not equate to leaving work early. My swim is just not happening today. Tomorrow was supposed to be a rest day though, so now today is.
Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 2.613 miles (4600 yards) (92.5 minutes)
Bike: 127.3 miles (503 minutes)
Run: 19.85 miles (234.5 minutes)
Weights: 61 minutes
Abs: 15 minutes (oops, I forgot about that last 5 minutes on Friday)
Total: 911 minutes (15 hours, 11 minutes)
I thought of lots of other things to post today, but now my brain is fried and I can't think of any of it.
I follow a bunch of Ironman blogs using Google Reader. Mostly just people who are also doing IM Florida. It's nice to read what they're doing for training, but not for comparison purposes. I like it because it really shows how there are so many different approaches to Ironman training. Anyone can do it, you just need to figure out what works for you. The blogs also tell me I'm not alone in feeling hungry all the time, or not wanting to swim, or getting the chills when I think about finishing my Ironman, or counting down the days until that happens. Wow. It's happening soon! In some ways I'm glad the time is going fast because I am looking forward to having some free time. In other ways, I want more time to prepare.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A nice windy ride

I did my 60 miler this morning, well, it spilled into the afternoon quite a bit actually. My legs were tired when I woke up so I was a little worried about the ride, but they warmed up soon enough. I rode from home past the airport and along the river to the park with the bike path, rode 7 miles on the path and turned around and came home. It was windy most of the way, but I managed to just accept it and be happy to have some good training for FL. I tried having half a PB packet 2 hours into the ride, and had the other half at hour 3. Seemed to do the trick! I turned my Heed powder into a gel with a little bit of water in a flask and just squeeze a bit into the bottle whenever I added water. I love this route, bathrooms and water available fairly often! I picked up the pace throughout the ride. I think part of that might be due to the direction of the wind.

On the way back home, about 30 minutes from home I was out on the empty road near the airport and came across two cyclists on the side of the road. I try to always offer help when I see a cyclist with mechanical problems. I carry a decent amount of tools, a patch kit or two, a dollar bill, and a spare tube. 98% of the time though, nobody needs help. This time they needed tire levers because the woman's tire was so tight they couldn't get it off with just the one she had. She'd hit a sharp rock and gotten a flat. I stuck around in case they needed the levers to get the tire back on. Wow that was a snug fitting tire. It took all three of us, and about 30 minutes, to get the tire back on. I'd planned to practice changing a tire today, but I think that counts. I should still practice changing my own tire soon though. After that long stop, my legs felt a little stiff on the last 7 or 8 miles to go, and the wind was in my face for that whole stretch. I was happy to be done!  My legs were pretty tired for most of the ride, but I managed to average 15.9mph. It was 16.0 until I stopped for the tire changing.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

15 mile run! and how I feel about swimming

Once again I had my longest run ever. 15 miles this morning. I really must start these runs earlier in the day. It was in the high 90s when I finished at noon. I felt like the heat was the biggest limiter today. I actually ran 1-2 miles near the end under the freeway because it had more shade than along the bike path. The bike path could really use more drinking fountains! It'd be nice to just do an out and back run from the park, but there is only water at mile 0, 0.5, and 2.5, and then I'm not sure where but it's definitely after mile 5. I think it might be around mile 8. So I stayed between mile 0 and 5 so that I'd be close to water. I drank a lot in the heat today! I used CarbBoom on the run for the first time, with my Gu Chomps, just wanted to see how it was in case I can't stomach my Chomps on the run in FL and need to try something else. CarbBoom was fine too. I'm hoping I don't have to go with the backup plan though. Caffeine is good. I had a little bit of knee pain/soreness near the end, but after mile 13 which is 3 miles later than last time.

After the run I did my 2000 yard swim that I'd postponed from earlier in the week. I took it pretty easy, but not as easy as my recovery swim after my 14 miler two weeks ago. It was so nice to get in the water after my run. The water felt so nice on my legs and it helped cool me off. I pretty much kept pace with the 8 or 9 month pregnant woman in the bikini next to me. I'm assuming she didn't run for 3 hours before the swim though.

During my swim I was thinking about how I'm feeling about swimming lately. I guess confident is one word. I definitely get a little scared thinking about jumping into that washing machine in the Gulf with over 2000 other swimmers all heading for the same buoy. But I've got confidence too. I've done a lot of open water swimming, probably more than most people heading into Ironman. Granted a lot of that was done in the calm Caribbean seas, but I'm well practiced in the art of accidentally inhaling water on a breath and then coughing it out with my face in the water and then catching my breath on the next stroke. I can do it in one fluid motion. I rarely have to stop when I inhale water or swallow a bit too much. Having someone grab my legs during the swim doesn't freak me out (if they let go...). I've even won an open water swim race of the Ironman distance. But all this still doesn't make me love swimming as much as I did when we lived in the VI. Convincing myself to get into the cold wet pool always takes some time. It's easiest when the sun is bright and hot! I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be thrilled about running into the cold wet Gulf of Mexico on November 7 at 7am. But once I get going, I will hopefully start enjoying it like I usually do.

Post-swim I hit the grocery store - I was really hungry but didn't fall for the usual mistakes of buying way too much food this time. Mostly because I was in a hurry to get home and just eat! (I did, however, start eating my newly purchased Larabar the moment I walked out of the grocery store...) I bought two ice bags for an ice bath too. I don't think it was enough, as the water was not unbearably cold. But it definitely did chill my legs pretty well.

To backtrack a little, Thursday and Friday were just biking days. Thursday was just a short bike commute from near my doctor's office, so about 8 miles roundtrip. I sure ride faster with traffic! Friday was an easy 25 miler, most of which I did in the morning before work, after dropping off Sierra at daycare. The doggie daycare is about 1/4 mile from a bike path entrance - so convenient on bike days! Tomorrow is another bike day, 60 miles.

Edited to add: I forgot I also did weights and abs on Friday morning before my ride!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Run, Bike, Bike, Bike, Bike, Swim, Weights, Bike

The subject is what I've done since my last post.

Ran 5 miles yesterday. Ok just shy of 5. 3 on the treadmill w/ hill repeats, 2 outside in fresh air with the puppy.

Biked to work from the park. I was late to work so I really booked it. My HR was way out of my cycling zone. I took a "short cut" which actually saved me about 90 seconds, but included almost falling as I turned left over the light rail tracks onto a busy street. Will probably skip that route next time.

Biked from work to the park. Less than 4 miles on the bike is almost not worth getting sweaty.

Biked this morning 24.80 miles, 1:34.36 (bike computer time), avg 15.7, mx 22.4, with wind repeats. At first I had a hard time finding the wind on the road that someone told me is always windy. But eventually I realized the wind was running east-west, not north-south. Luckily there are roads both ways that are bicycle friendly and very low traffic. So I did my wind repeats going east-west.

Then I biked some more, riding from home to the gym (~3.6). I only stopped at home to switch bikes. I don't want to be locking my precious up at the gym! The Trek is good for that though...

At the gym I swam 2600yd. My splits for each 500 yd were 9:32, 9:43, 9:37, 9:48, 9:24. I worked hard to get my last 500 as my fastest split, so I did an extra 100 to cool down. I was really enjoying my swim. If I didn't have a puppy and husband at home waiting for me, I may have kept going for awhile. There was a guy next to me near the end who had the most perfect stroke. He was Mr. SwimSmooth in the flesh.

After the swim was upper and lower body weights plus 5 minutes of abs. I did my last 5 min of abs once I got home - after lunch! So impressed with myself for actually doing them. 

The final bike was riding from the gym to lunch with Dave (~3.6).

Total bike miles today: 32.13
Total workout time: about 3.5 hours
Total naps: 0
Total snacks: lost track

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Rest Day

Once again, it's a Monday rest day. *ahhh* I got to a great start on resting yesterday. First I hung out with my friend Jennifer who is training for her first marathon. After running her 20 miler she went over to my place to rest and avoid the chaos of moving that was taking place at her new house. After I finished my brick workout and joined her on the couch, I definitely appreciated having a house guest who could relate to me eating without fixing her anything other than handing her a bag of non-gluten free bagels that I didn't want in my freezer anymore. After a long workout, it's nice when I can just sit and not have to worry about entertaining someone. I even took her statement of "don't clean up for me" at face value. I think we're both looking forward to sleeping in on the weekends in just a few more months. I slept for over 9 hours last night and am hoping to continue that trend tonight. After work I'll be continuing my rest day by enjoying a massage, which should hopefully loosen up the IT band too. Other than walking the dog and stretching, today I'll be resting my body as much as I can.
Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 2.557 miles (4500yds); 88 minutes
Bike: 146 miles; 602 minutes
Run: 16.5 miles; 186 minutes
Walk (when ITB started hurting during a run): 1.5 miles; 25 minutes
Weights: 35 min
Abs: 19 min
Stretching, dog walking, transitions, icing: Dunno, but it sure seems to take up a lot of my non-exercise time
Total: 955 minutes (15 hours, 55 minutes)
This coming week's schedule looks pretty doable from a time management perspective. Especially since I'll be taking Wednesday off from work to visit with Dave who will be enjoying his "weekend" home. Since I'll have the day off, I'm doing Thursday's swim on Wednesday, in addition to Wednesday's bike, weights, and abs workouts. Dave has some things to do, too, so it's not like I'll be totally neglecting him...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend wrap-up

Yesterday was my long run of the week, but just 8 miles. It went really well, especially given that my IT band had been bothering me during the week. I didn't have any problems with it yesterday. I took the doggie with me for the first half of the run. She doesn't really have to run to keep up with me. She mostly just walks fast and sometimes will trot a little. We ran around a nearby neighborhood that had grass right next to the street. So I ran in the bike path and she ran in the grass. Perfect for both of us. Since I had to come home and drop her off after 4 miles, it seemed like just two short 4 mile runs. All I did when I got home though was take off her leash and refill my Amphipod water bottles. Sierra drank about as much as I did so my bottles were almost empty. 9 miles in 89 minutes = 11:13 min mile average. :) My pace was much more consistent without the dog.

In the afternoon, I headed to Fleet Feet. I was wondering if I needed new shoes and maybe if that was aggravating the IT band. Jeff at FF, who helped me buy my shoes last time, was so helpful again. He confirmed my old shoes need replacing. I brought in both pairs that I'd been alternating. He checked the tread of my shoes and said it was even, so since I love my shoes, I decided just to get the same ones again. Unfortunately for my Yeti-sized feet, they didn't have my size. Jeff found two local FFs and each had one pair and are sending them to my FF for me. Jeff advised to save one pair for about a month before FL and then go back to alternating the two pairs of shoes. He also told me which of my current shoes I should stop running in now and which one was okay to run in until I get the new shoes. The new version of my shoe (per Jeff it's the same, just different color) is pink instead of red. Another sign pointing towards me pinking out my bike. The bike shop has a pink version of my saddle and pink bar tape waiting for me. I'm just waiting for them to get the Speedfil hydration system in for me. It's tough when I'm too busy training to head to the bike shop for upgrades/updates!

After earning tons of FF points and discovering CarbBoom makes a watermelon flavored gel (!!!), I hit the gym for my 2000 yard swim. As usual, I hated getting in the water, but after 250-500yd I was enjoying myself. My 500yd splits were pretty even, 9.5 min, 10 min, 10 min, and probably 10 min. I lost track at one point so swam another 100 to be on the safe side. So I swam somewhere between 2000 and 2100.

Today was my long workout for the week. An 80 mile bike immediately followed by a 2 mile run. I was a little bit dreading the bike after I walked the dog this morning. It was chilly and windy. But eventually I psyched myself up for it by digging out the hot pink arm warmers and my ear warmer and by deciding to try a new route (and reminding myself that tomorrow is a rest day and I better earn that rest day). A guy in the tri club told me about a very empty but new road near the airport (near me). He uses it for wind training because it's always windy out there. So I combined checking out that road with the airport loop, a route I've heard a lot of people talk about, but I was always wary to try it because I thought there'd be lots of traffic. Now I know, these popular routes are popular for a reason!

In the morning, I saw maybe 5 cars during the first 30 miles of my ride (and 5 cyclists)! I took the airport loop down to the bike path (30 miles including 5 or 6 miles on the super smooth and empty wind tunnel road), rode out to the 12.5 mile marker on the bike path and turned around and retraced my route. I had my arm warmers on until about noon and kept my ear warmer on all day. The ear warmer does a great job at making the wind sound less fierce. The wind picked up throughout the day (per NOAA, started around 9mph and ended up at 14 with gusts up to 22) so I wasn't super excited about doing the whole wind tunnel road again. I just did a little segment. In the morning, going north on that road I was cruising at 22mph or so. Turning around and going north cost me 10mph easily. Talk about discouraging to be barely hitting 11-12mph! I've heard IMFL can be windy though, so I think I may ride there more often. Since I'd skipped a few miles on the return, I had to make up for it by riding around randomly in a nearby neighborhood. Boring! Tedious! Tiresome! Next time I'll stick to the real roads. Back and forths are getting old.

Today I had to practice my race day nutrition. I had 430 cals of my sports drink, spaced fairly evenly throughout. Though I paid special attention to drinking it on the top of the hour (of exercise time). I aimed for 2 Gu Chomps (caffeinated) twice per hour (at :15 and :45), and on the :30 I had a gel. I ate 25 Chomps (22 cals each= 550 cals) and 4 CarbBoom gels (4x110= 440 cals) (watermelon = yummy!!). Also, I was thinking that to get some protein on race day, it'd be nice if I could eat some peanut butter or almond butter. I had 1 pack of honey almond butter 3 hours into the ride (190 cals). I think it was too much almond butter all at once, or too soon after the 2:30 gel. I couldn't make myself eat the gel at 3:30, but had it at 4:00 and the next one at 5:00. Maybe next time I'll try just half a pack of the nut butter. I also forgot to bring a banana, which I plan to eat on race day. Total I had 1610 calories during the ride, about 290 cals per hour. I was aiming for 300 per hour so at least that worked out.

Bike computer stats:
Riding time: 5:15 (total time, 5:35 = 20 min of bathroom breaks or water refill stops)
Distance: 81.09 miles
Avg: 15.44 mph

I was pretty good about keeping my HR in the proper zone. I noticed it spiked when I was eating though which I thought was weird. It would also spike a little whenever I had to deal with traffic and hills (I found both near the airport - crossing the freeway) but that didn't surprise me.

The brick run went well, too. At first it felt a little weird, almost like the saddle is a smidgen too wide (actually a common complaint about this saddle, but it's the only one that seems comfy during the ride), but within two or three minutes that feeling went away and I got into the rhythm. My running pace was about 11:18 min miles. I walked for a minute after the first mile, per my usual plan for long runs. It was easy to keep my HR in the proper zone. I think maybe my legs were a little tired... Run was followed by stretching and icing and I'm going to repeat that sequence again shortly. My face feels a bit windburned.

IMFL is now less than 11 weeks away! Tomorrow's rest day calls for a massage! I'm very excited about it.

Lessons learned this week:
  • When there's a super strong cross wind, the drops are a lot more secure than aerobars.
  • When a bee flies into my helmet and I'm in the aerobars, I should not shake my head around until I get out of the aero position.
  • Bring extra water for the dog.
  • Remember to ice the IT band before it's bedtime.
  • Watermelon CarbBoom is awesome. I really don't know if I can stomach any more Gu.
  • Summer's long daylight hours are fading fast. :(

Friday, August 21, 2009

Puppy keeps me busy

Being the single puppy mama again has kept me from blogging regularly. More puppy, less computer.
Tuesday afternoon I did most of my ab routine. I managed about 8 minutes; my goal is 10. I try to do 10 different exercises, for one minute each. I pretty much neglected my weight routine though. I did one exercise with a 20 pound free weight and then decided I desperately needed a shower and dinner, and surely I could finish the weights after that. Except once I was clean, relaxing on the couch with the puppy was just too nice.
Wednesday I had 25 miles to ride on the bike. Last minute I decided to make it a doggie daycare day. Next time I need to decide sooner so I can drop her off right when they open and finish all 25 miles in the morning. I did 17 in the AM and 8 after work. My hill repeats got cut short when my IT band started being irritated by them. Looking at my average mph on a weekday always seems discouraging. I know my average speed drops a lot when I'm stopping at stop signs and traffic lights. (I'm not like the automobile drivers who floor it to the next red light and stop suddenly.)
Thursday I had more IT band issues when I went out for my 4 mile run, which was supposed to be half on my own and half with the dog. Just 1.5 miles into the run, my right quad/ITB started hurting. So per coach's instructions again, I stopped. I walked back home, got the dog and walked until my time for the morning run was up. I did abs at home - 9 minutes, but I did the 10th minute that evening. I went to the gym and did my weights, cautiously to try not to irritate my leg.
Today's workout called for a 2000yd swim and 25-30 miles on the bike. With coach's okay, I'm pushing today's swim to Saturday. Weekends were made for workouts! I planned on riding 18 in the morning and just my 7.5 mile commute in the afternoon, but I got started late. Sierra and I stayed up too late last night because when I forgot to make my dinner ahead of time and my vegetables took forever to roast in the oven, then we had to walk, stretch, and ice the IT band. So we snoozed a little this morning. On my ride I saw a lost doggie. It looked really sad and pathetic. I was bummed that I couldn't do much for it on my bike (no collar). I finished just over half of my day's mileage. I'm going to look for the lost dog a little bit on the way home. Maybe I'll ride my hybrid over to that area with Sierra to get the extra miles done.
I started going to bed earlier this week since I'd been tired all week. 9 hours of sleep a night is the goal. 8.5 is more common. Last night was sub-optimal. But tomorrow is SATURDAY! I love Saturday. What could be better than a whole day when all I have to do is run and swim? (plus grocery shop and laundry....)  Doing all that with my husband is what could be better. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Run and swim down, weights and abs to go

I managed to wake up before my 5:30 alarm, but that didn't stop me from being late to work. Next time I calculate how long a 2 mile run with the puppy should take me, I need to factor in her bathroom stops... I started my run by doing 1.5 miles on the treadmill, then I did 6x1 minute "hills" by cranking up the incline and the speed but making sure my HR didn't exceed 85%. After each hill, I had 2 minutes of recovery running. The hill repeats took me another 1.5 miles, then it was time to run with the puppy. I'd left her unattended and out of her crate, but with breakfast to keep her occupied. Only damage was one pen. She also retrieved my inhaler from the table for me, leaving it on the floor. But she must have been breathing fine as the plastic was not chewed up like last time. It's fun to run with the puppy, knowing she's getting her exercise and I'm not missing my own workout. The 5 mile run took 58 minutes total. yikes. I'm getting slower. I blame the treadmill. At least it was an enjoyable workout.

Next it was time for a quick breakfast. Already 10 minutes behind schedule, I think I lost another 5-10 minutes here checking my email to see if my husband had sent me a note. He had, so I had to respond of course. Then I grabbed my stuff for work, swim, and bike, that I'd set out last night, put my Trek in the car and drove to the gym.

The whole time I was eating breakfast and driving to the gym, I was thinking how nice it would be to swim in the afternoon when it's warmer. I think I'm the only person who doesn't get overheated while swimming. I don't really understand the need to cool an outdoor pool to sub-80 degrees for lap swimming. I'd be happy with 82-84 I think. I knew the first few laps would be the hardest. Icky cold. I swim fast for the first lap or two to warm up! The swim went well. I lost track of laps twice, but added them back in so I'd reach my 2500 yards. I knew I was going to be late to work as I had to be done with the swim by 8:30 to have a chance at walking in the door at 9, but I decided I should really finish my swim and just bike and shower fast. I still ended up 15 minutes late. That just means sticking around 15 minutes later at the end of the day before riding my bike back to the gym and driving home. The swim was nice. It sure seems to get easier after each 500 yards.

I still need to do weights and abs. I'd love to do weights at the gym, but that'd leave Sierra home alone for more than 11 hours. 11 hours is kind of the bright line I try not to cross. She needs her people time, even if she does just sleep when I'm home. (Last night she put herself to bed about an hour before it was bedtime!)

My husband got some Rudy Project sunglasses as a graduation gift and the deal included a backpack. The backpack is awesome. Perfect for bike commuting. The back has special airflow pads that keep your back from getting too sweaty, and it keeps the backpack off your pack. Now I can bring hardcover books to and from work again! (Usually just my desk calendar, for vacation and workout planning purposes.) I just ordered some Rudy Project sunglasses for myself too, but all the lenses I wanted are on backorder, so I may rethink this. I've got to get used to my contacts again if I want to have nice sunglasses for cycling. But it'd be so nice to have more coverage from the sun. Then again, maybe wearing my contacts for about 24 hours for the ironman isn't a great idea. (Up at 3:30am or so, finish before midnight, eat, then finally sleep.)

Totals from last week (Mon-Sun)
Swim: 1.846 miles (65.5 minutes)
Bike: 123.76 miles (518 minutes)
Run: 19 miles (224.5 minutes)
Weights and abs: 40 minutes
Total: 848 minutes (14 hours 8 minutes)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rest day

Today was a much appreciated rest day. I was tired, sore, and hungry all day. Perhaps a mild case of the Mondays, too. I'm sure part of it can be attributed to having to say goodbye to my man, not knowing if I'll see him in 10 days, or 20, or 30?? Nevertheless, I was glad to not be exercising. I guess that's why rest days are useful. It should rejuvenate me, at least somewhat. I'm only semi-looking forward to tomorrow's workouts. I've got a full day, and the toughest part is scheduling it so that the puppy isn't home alone for more than about 11 hours. Doggie day care is only open from 7-7, which doesn't leave me quite enough time to do an hour run, a 50 min swim, 30 min of weights, 10 min of abs, and a 35-40 min partial bike commute, and still be in my office for 8.5 hours. I think I've figured out a way to get it done, but it involves getting up at 5:30, so I best turn off the computer, walk the dog, stretch my IT band with the foam roller, ice, and go to bed! Oh, it's going to be a long week... I'm hoping the pup and I can get into a routine so that the scheduling of days like this will just be second nature. Next Tuesday is pretty much the same minus the weights and abs.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Riding the new bike, longest run ever

I had my first real rides on the new bike in the past few days. Thursday I was assigned 25-30 miles with 10x1 min hill repeats. Turns out the longest hill near me takes me 35 seconds to climb. Working on a solution to that still. I rode just shy of 20 miles before work and with my return commute I hit 27.25 miles. It was so fun to get out on the new bike!

Friday I used the old Trek for my partial commute. I parked my car at the gym with the bike in the trunk. The plan was to do my weights, abs, and swim before work. But then I slept in a little and took longer than I should have to leave the house. While swimming the 2000 yards, I realized I left my helmet at home. Oops. Lucky for me husband came to the rescue, bringing my helmet to the gym, so I still had time to do lower body weights. I biked the 3+ miles to work and after the return commute, I popped back into the gym to do the upper body weights and abs that I hadn't made time for in the morning. I felt so proud of myself for doing them Friday instead of postponing them til Saturday. Whenever I postpone a workout, there's a good chance it just won't happen later...

Yesterday was my long run day. 14 miles. Longest run ever! Mom - stop reading now, just skip to the next paragraph. I parked at the gym since I had high hopes that I'd actually do a recovery swim after the run - the swim I skipped Tuesday afternoon. The bummer about this is that the first 1/4 mile of the run, to the park, is a hill! I realized that my watch was going to hit 0.5 miles soon and I was almost at the 0.5 mile marker on the bike path. So I did what any person with OCD would do - I made a shortcut. Then I stumbled while getting onto the raised bike path. Fall down go boom. My ankle hurt. I thought for sure my workouts for the weekend were over. But while crying on the phone to my husband, who I'd called since I figured I'd need him to come pick me up, I realized the ankle had stopped hurting. I stood up and it seemed okay. I walked 5-10 minutes and it still seemed fine. Not swelling. So I started jogging. Took it easy, stopping every 1/2 mile to walk and recheck on the swelling and flexibility. It hurt a little when I rotated it (1 or 2 on scale of 1 to 10) but other than that was okay.

So eventually I was doing my running thing, stopping every mile to walk for a minute. Coach had me keeping my HR between 60-80% of my max, and it seemed pretty easy to do. I was also practicing my IM nutrition. I had three 8oz bottles with me, 2 with Heed and 1 with water. I could've used a fourth one. I had 1 or 2 caffeinated Gu Chomps every mile during my walk breaks, drinking water with them. I sipped on the Heed whenever I felt the urge. The run itself seemed pretty easy until around mile 10 when my right IT band started flaring up and causing my knee to hurt a bit. I think my last mile was my slowest. Oh I finally figured out how to get the auto-lap to work on my watch. Very exciting as now I can compare 1/2 mile or 1 mile splits more accurately. But all in all, the run went alright. Average pace was 12 min mile. I'm excited about doing 15 in 2 weeks, I think I can do it at a faster pace, especially if I get started a little earlier. During the last few miles, I thought that swimming sounded like a great way to relax after the run. I swam an easy 1250. I was having fun and enjoying the cool water on my tired legs, but I was getting really, really hungry too.

Today I had my first chance to go on a long ride on the new bike. It's funny because the ride was supposed to be 60 miles, which doesn't seem that long to me until I start thinking about the fact it'll take me 4 hours or so. I decided to ride the whole bike path, from the park to the lake, about 62 miles. My new bike sure attracts guys. I had 3 or 4 guys ride with me at different times during my ride - all wanting to talk about my new bike. My legs were getting tired by the end of the ride. My feet were getting uncomfortable too. Joe at the bike shop has been helping me try to eliminate the outer foot pain and numbness that I was getting on longer rides. He built some arch support into my shoes. I think they help but maybe they are too big. I think I need another shim or two to tilt my foot a little more inward too. Next weekend I've got an 80 miler with a 2 mile run afterwards. I definitely need to get started earlier. Even though I love morning workouts, I think I will really enjoy sleeping in on weekends after November 7! During my ride I saw the two other people I know from the tri club who are doing IM Florida. They were on their 14 mile long run and had ridden 80 miles yesterday. We're all on track! It kind of feels like November 7 will be our graduation day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Biking errands and running non-hills

Monday coach Jamima had me doing a 25 mile easy ride, weights, and abs. I did the abs Sunday night to get them out of the way. They're much easier when it's not at the end of a workout. I really wanted to ride my new bike, but I had errands to get done on Monday, and there was no way I was going to leave my new bike locked up outside various buildings downtown. I had no car, due to complicated circumstances involving my husband moving back home, and once I looked at my to-do list, I realized it would take me 25 miles. It hardly felt like a workout since the 25 miles were just what I needed to ride to get everything done. I rode 13.5 miles to get my allergy shots, I made my way back home with stops to get some blood drawn (food allergy testing), pick up some GF cinnamon rolls, and then back home. I skipped the gym and the weights because I was running out of time and the person who drew my blood told me I wasn't supposed to exert my arm for an hour. I did all this on my old road bike, with my SPD pedals. It feels like a great commuter bike now when I've got my mountain bike shoes on. I'm considering adding a rack for my panniers. In the meantime, I'm doing the backpack thing. I got home just in time to shower before my parents arrived to give me a lift to Chico for my husband's graduation.
Tuesday called for a swim and a 5 mile run with hill repeats, plus I wanted to do those weights. I did the 5 mile run in Chico. Chico is just as flat as Sac so there were no hills to be found. The run was okay but wildfires are making the air pretty smokey and my lungs weren't super happy by the time I finished. I wanted to run in Bidwell Park for one last time, but couldn't bring myself to get up 20 minutes earlier and drive a few miles just to run there. Instead I ran 1.2 mile laps around the block. I am keeping an eye on my HR now. Coach said to keep the run in 60-80% of max, and a few times I saw it creeping up above 80% so I slowed down a little to let it drop.  I got the puppy for the last loop and we had a wonderful run together. She loves walking fast. And I run slowly enough that she can just trot along. Graduation and moving took longer than expected so the swim and the weights didn't happen in the afternoon. Coach Jamima to the rescue. She told me not to make up for it by doing it today. Today's a REST DAY!
Tomorrow I've got a 25-30 mile bike ride. I'm very excited to use my new bike!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New bike

I picked up my new bike yesterday! What a lengthy process bike shopping has been! I wonder how many hours I put into it. Yesterday was a 4.5 hour trip, minus about an hour for a lunch break at a nice gluten free restaurant in Davis, Farmers Kitchen Cafe. In case I hadn't mentioned it before, Davis Wheel Works is officially my favorite bike shop in the whole world. I wish I had the energy right now to write about how awesome they are. But just trust me. I walked out of there spending $$$ and feeling incredibly comfortable with it. More so than when I bought my hybrid last year. Honestly the only thing I'm having second thoughts about is the fact that I went with the lower end bike computer. Am now considering whether instead I should have upgraded my heart rate monitor to a version that has a bike computer option, so that all my data could be on one machine. It would be neat to have the climbing information when I'm riding hills... Other than that, I know I've got the bike for me! It's the Cervelo RS. Not exactly the typical bike for a triathlete (it's considered a "plush" road bike), but I love it and it is the best fit for me.

I did a brief test ride yesterday (~30 min) just to make sure everything was setup right. We had a few tweaks to the fit, which we'd dialed in over many visits in the past few months. I'm sure it'll still need some tweaking once I do some longer rides.

This morning I did my first run since I got sick. I ran about 3.75 miles in 41:30, plus did about 5 min walking warmup and cooldown. Felt pretty good. I felt like I could've run another mile or two, but I thought for the first day back it'd be better to leave my body wanting more.

Friday, August 7, 2009

3 Months!

I can't believe it's August 7! Just three months until November 7! Wow. Time sure flies. I am pretty sure I'm going to be ready when the time comes, but I am not looking forward to how nervous and anxious and worried I'm going to be. Packing the transition bags ahead of time and turning them in the day before the race... Hopefully I won't worry all night before the race wondering if I forgot anything, even after checking it repeatedly before turning it in. I'm thinking maybe I should practice that. Put all my gear for the next day's workout in a bag by the front door, and then just be done with it. Maybe if it's a habit I won't stress (as much) about it.

I'm feeling a lot healthier every day this week! Today I rode my bike from the park to work, about 3 miles each way. A big step from sleeping on the couch all day for most of the week. I did the nice and easy pace wearing my casual Friday clothes. Walking out of the office and just hopping straight on my bike and riding away is a little bit nicer and more fun than changing into bike clothes first. Today was a nice change, although I'm eager to get back to my workouts. Riding in the morning was so nice. Wind in my face again. I felt like I'd been away for such a long time, but it's just been since Sunday. (I did a 30 min recovery ride Sunday afternoon.)

Last night I had a freakout about my impending bike purchase, but I think that's passed. I'll try to post more about the bike after I pick it up tomorrow.

I forgot to mention that during the Aquabike race I saw so many different animals. I said hello to most of them since I had nothing else to do. Sheep, horse, ostrich (or emu?), bird, racoon or huge squirrel (this one was dead so it was hard to tell - it also reminded me of discussions with my younger brother about dead animals and it made me laugh. sicko.). I noticed today that I've been bumped down to 4th in my age group in that race. USAT rules for ages are a little odd - your age for a race is whatever your age will be on Dec 31 of that year. I'm guessing there was some confusion regarding two 29 year olds. The person who was 2nd in my age group got bumped up to F35-39, and the two people who got moved from F25-29 up to F30-34 got 2nd and 3rd in my age group, bumping me to 4th. On the plus side, now I only missed 2nd place by less than 4 minutes! I guess that's cooler than missing it by an hour. 2nd place woman is doing FL too, and she's from Sac. It'll be nice to see a familiar face there.

Ironman Coeur D'Alene spots are almost full. I'm pretty surprised there are still spots left! I'm ever so mildly tempted to sign up for it. It's a late June race and the course is beautiful. But the swim is cold and this year the weather was miserable - rainy and cold. Ugh. Not what this  tropical blooded gal needs. Maybe when I toughen up a bit more. So, yes, I'm still mildly insane. The IM distance still sounds like f-u-n! Not that I won't be surprised if I'm thinking of a different f- word 3 months from now.

Now it's time for me to be doing what other Ironman-wannabes are doing this lovely Friday evening at 9pm. Sleeping!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've been miserably sick since Sunday night. I felt fine all day Sunday until it hit. And it hit hard. After about 4 hours of this nastiness (I'll spare you the details) I ended up having to call 911 for a ride to the hospital, per doctor's advice when I called her at 1am. Diagnosis: acute gastroenteritis which caused severe dehydration which caused me to pass out, repeatedly. The passing out is what finally got to me crawl to my cell phone. After the dozen or so firefighters showed up in my apartment, they gave me oxygen and transported me to the hospital, sticking me with a needle on the way so I'd be ready to get an IV (not comfortable while moving!). If I felt better, I'd write the details of that early Monday morning, including the passing out trying to get to the bathroom in the ER, the nice warm blankets, the nasty meds, saline IVs, etc. Incidentally, I think it's probably a good idea to put your address near your landline. I always assumed 911 could trace your address, but I had to come up with it for them, and I could only do it because I had my drivers license.

Short end of it is that the doctors said it was likely NOT due to overexertion in the Aquabike on Saturday but instead the race just brought my defenses down and made me more susceptible to this nasty bug. Thank goodness. Before I even called 911, I was thinking "wow if just the swim+ bike portions of an IM made me this sick, there is no way I'm doing IMFL." Now I just need to pack a face mask to wear on the plane ride after the race.

I missed the last three days of work. First time that I ever think I've missed three days of work (or school!) for health reasons! I'm really thankful I've got a coach because Coach Jamima is keeping me positive, telling me it's okay to take the time I need to get better and that she'll rearrange my training calendar (that she worked so hard on last week!) and get me back on track when I'm ready. Just 3 months until Florida!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vineman Aquabike Race Report

I survived! First things first, I got third in my age group! This was really a function of there only being 5 women in my age group, but it was still a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I thought the age groups were 30-39 (I swear the website said that months ago) and with 20-ish women in that range, I knew I had no chance, so did not bother to even look at the awards. I only found out I got third (among 30-34 year olds) after walking in the door after driving back home and having my parents call to congratulate me on third place. So, there is a lovely bottle of wine in a nice box sitting in Sonoma for me and now who knows what will happen to it. Perhaps I'll find out what kind of wine the prize was and go buy it for myself.

Overall the race was a great experience. I got to test my nutrition plan, which I came up with the day before with the help of my coach. It still needs tweaking. I think my brain function dropped a bit on the second loop of the bike. Maybe I wasn't eating enough and the brain is the first thing to go? I couldn't remember when I'd eaten. My plan to take endurolytes (electrolyte tablets) every 30 min went pretty well, but eating was harder to remember. Sometimes I'd look at my watch and, for example, it'd say 5:32 (hours and minutes into the race), and I couldn't remember if I'd taken the swig of my sports drink, or the Gu Chomps at :30 or not. Maybe I should consider having my watch beep when it's time to eat, and then I don't have to think at all on the ride.

My swim time was 1:19:36.8. Pretty much double my swim from 2 weeks ago of half the distance. I hit the lap button on my watch so also have my swim splits: 19:04, 19:46, 21:49, 18:59. (That last bit is a little shorter than the other three.) Swim felt good overall. I realized I just don't enjoy the first 15-20 min of a swim race, but after that I find my groove and I enjoy it. The distance was not a problem for me even though I have been swimming 1-2 times per week, and almost never more than a mile. My shoulders are a little sore today though. The wetsuit worked well. It gave me something to think about since I don't usually swim with a wetsuit. It's nice to focus on my stroke instead of thinking about what might be lurking below me in the water, which was borderline too murky for me. (I require being able to see my hands, they were a bit blurred with murk.) Water temp was 75ish but I wasn't too hot in the wetsuit. I wore two swim caps again, and I didn't put enough Body Glide on my swim cap line, as they chafed the back of my neck. (90% sure it was the cap and not the wetsuit since it's at my hairline.)

I had a 10 minute transition, which included experiencing my first experience with wetsuit strippers! It was so nice to just run out of the water, pull down the wetsuit off my arms and torso and then sit down on the ground while two people pulled the wetsuit off the rest of me in about 5 seconds. Way faster than if I'd tried to do it on my own! Before the swim I'd decided arm warmers were going on if the sky was still grey, cloudy, and foggy. We had a thick marine layer above us. If the sun came out during the swim, I'd skip the arm warmers.

There was no sign of the sun after the swim, so I put on the arm warmers. I looked for my ear warmers but I'd already put it in the bag I'd tied shut, so too late for that. I was so glad I had arm warmers. As I started riding I realized there was actual mist in the air. My sunglasses got misty and my wet torso was chilled! I kind of wished I'd changed from my wet tri top to a nice dry bike jersey and bigger pockets to stash more stuff. The sun came out around 10:30, which was about 2 hours into the bike. Arm warmers came off a bit later.

The first loop of the bike was fine. I stopped to refill my water bottle at two of the aid stations. I had one water bottle and one sports drink bottle that was 3x concentrate, but I added water to it at the aid stations too, so after 2 hours or so it was regular concentrate. The plastic water bottles that were being handed out were too flimsy and I was afraid I'd lose it on a bumpy section of the road. (One nice thing about being behind lots of riders is that the bottles on the ground give an indication you're about to hit some bumps.) We hit Chalk Hill at mile 45. I timed myself going up it - 6 minutes. I have no idea how long it is, less than a mile. I used my granny gear a bit more than in the 70.3, and was glad I had it since I like to keep a high RPM. Going down Chalk Hill (probably when I hit 36mph), I lost my water bottle. Luckily my sports drink was at regular concentrate by then, and the next aid station was just 12 miles away and it was the special needs station.

My food plan was to eat 300 calories per hour on the bike. 100 in the form of sports drink, 100 in Gu with caffeine and/or CarbBoom gel w/o caffeine, 50 in Gu Chomps w/ caffeine, and 50 in sports bar (I broke up a Larabar and Hammer bar into 50 calorie pieces in my bento box). After the second hour of eating the bar calories, I decided I didn't want them anymore. Maybe it was the fat or the fiber in them that made them unappealing. Either way I decided to up my Chomps calories. I also started taking the banana halves from the aid stations. Mmm real food. so yummy.

At the special needs aid station, I stopped to get my bag. By then it was 5 hours and 8 minutes after I started the swim. So I guess my bike time was about 3:40 for the first 56 mile loop + 1 mile (vs. 3:15 for 56 miles 2 weeks ago). I was at special needs for almost 8 minutes. Refilled my Gu flask with 3 new Gus (sticky!), grabbed my inhaler, the extra bag of Chomps into the bento box, replenished my supply of stale GF pretzels, got my 3x concentrate bottle of sports drink, and the Gu gel that had 2x caffeine. I kind of wished I'd had some Chamois Butt'r in that bag too.

My bike time was 7:27:30.3. Definitely more than twice my bike from the 70.3 race on the same course. I was getting discouraged by my time on the second loop. I could tell it wasn't going to be nearly as fast as two weeks ago. I'd been hoping to do the bike in 7. I was stopped for 23 minutes during the bike, either refilling bottles, using the portapottys, etc. The second loop was definitely different than the first. I mean, the course was the same, but people were a lot more spread out. The friendly hellos and chit chats were no longer. The discussion on the second loops, when there was someone around to talk to, was more about how the roads had somehow gotten longer in the last few hours, and when were these hills going to end.

I had my dark time under a big mental cloud from about mile 90-95. The road had surely been lengthened. I was mad at the race organizers for magically stretching out this second loop. I didn't understand how they'd done it, but I knew they had. I was just mad in general. It was weird. I wasn't mad about signing up for the event. I was disappointed with myself for being so much slower. The rational side of me tried saying stuff like "hey, you ran 8 miles on Thursday. You actually RESTED during the week before 70.3. And you've only done two rides longer than 90 minutes since the month of May, and the longest was only half of what you're doing today. what do you expect when you go out for the longest ride of your life?" Thankfully I didn't go into that really dark place of "why am i doing this? there's no way I can finish an IM". I don't even know that place anymore! (Although it may reappear on my longer runs in the next few months.)

Around mile 95, I could hear the cowbells being rung by the volunteers at the final aid station. It put a smile on my face and I attacked the hill to get to a banana to go with the almond butter package in my bento box. Yum. The end wasn't far now! Just had to get to the top of Chalk Hill and then it was pretty much downhill. Ah there it is. Just 6-8 minutes and I'll be at the top of the hill. Oh wait, that was just 3 minutes. Darnit where is Chalk Hill. Oh THIS is it. I remember this. No... shoot. how many hills are there before Chalk Hill?? OHHH here it is. I think I started the hill in my granny gear. Not really a good sign. It wasn't too terribly awful though. I really enjoyed passing 3 guys who were mumbling about how painful the hill was. Top of the hill in 6 minutes. At least I'm consistent. I wondered if it's okay to think "half way done" when finished the bike portion of the ironman. By this time on the bike, I'd forgotten I even swam in the morning. It seemed like just a nice little warmup!

For the vast majority of the ride, I had my bike computer set to show me RPM. I didn't look at distance very often (which is partially why I didn't know where Chalk Hill was on the second loop). Sometimes it's discouraging how slowly each mile passes by, so I just try not to even think about it. Near the end, awhile after I enjoyed the downhill from Chalk Hill, I figured I probably had about 8 miles left. I also realized I just might be able to beat 9 hours. I decided to just think of it as a bike ride to work. "ok now i'm on airport road... turning up there at the light, then crossing the freeway with the last hill"... "ok on the bike path now.." .. it made it a lot easier. And when I got "downtown", there were people cheering on the sides of the streets, as the finish line was near. I picked up the pace and finished strong. Total time: 8:57:09.3.

I did a short transition run after the bike. I ran 1/2 mile, walked a minute, and ran 1/2 mile. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was kind of nice to be off the bike and doing something different. I think at some point I might be interested in doing the Vineman iron-distance triathlon. It was a pretty low-key event. It's cheaper than the IM trademark events and it's fairly pretty. And there's always wine tasting for the spectators. Almost all the women I spoke to who were doing the full Aquabike were using it as a training event for a later Ironman race. Lots of people had running shoes waiting for them at the finish to run a little bit. It's definitely a good training event! Is it nap time yet?

Bike computer stats: max 36.2, avg 15.7, time 7:06:38, dist 111.57 (i reset it just after I got on the bike because I couldn't remember if I'd reset it before the swim)