Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I'm not sure if her name is still Vicious Cycle or if she's now just Pink.

Need new goggles

Since I love my new Rudy Project sunglasses on the bike, I need some non-RX goggles. I dug around and found a few old pairs from when we lived in the VI. I took them to the pool for my Monday swim. Silly me expecting old unused goggles to work. The foam gasket peeled off one set of Speedos before I even left the house. The other ones seemed fairly in tact but leaked a lot once I started swimming. I tried my husband's old tried and true mirrored goggles with the rubber/silicone gaskets. They worked okay except the mirrored lenses were so scratched up that, combined with fogging up, the goggles made me think I was swimming in a murky lake instead of the pool. So I'm on the hunt. And the third swim in a week got cut short. Not even sure how far I swam since I was stopping every lap or so to make adjustments. Maybe I swam 1500 in the 35 minutes before I gave up.
Also made it to the bike shop on Monday. My new pink tires were in! I got Vredestein Fortezza tri comp tires. The pink is a little redder than the bar tape I got, so I am also looking for bar tape again. I think the Soma rose pink might work though. The shop ordered some and will let me know if they match at all once the tape gets in. Also tried a new helmet on and some new shorts. No purchasing though, other than the tires. But after reading about the shorts (Shebeest SSS) I am thinking of making the jump to the S-Pro shorts since says "And if you like Shebeest's classic Triple S Short, you are going to loooove the new S-Pro." I choose loooove over twenty bucks anytime. The helmet is a tougher choice. Why are they so expensive?? I just hate my current helmet. It isn't comfortable when fitted properly. Wheel Works also hooked up my new bike computer for me. I'm looking forward to riding with it.
This morning was my first workout that really felt cold in awhile. Dark and just 50 degrees (I know, everyone thinks I'm ridiculous when I say 50 is cold). I headed out w/ the dog and even though she is just a fluff ball, I felt safer with her than without. I'm sure she would've gladly licked any bad guys to death for me. I wore my headlamp for the first time running too. It doesn't work so well with a hat. I'm not sure if I'm going to wear it in FL, but I'll be bringing it for sure and decide then. The easy 4 miles were easy. Even Sierra had more energy left when we got home, but I bet she's enjoying her nap right now.
Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 1.136 miles (2000 yds); 40 minutes
Bike: 67.5 miles; 246 minutes
Run: 22.3 miles; 287 minutes
Weights: 30 min
Abs: ? min
Total: 603 minutes (10 hours, 3 minutes)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


One thing about training for an Ironman - I think I've learned to start listening to my body. Thursday morning I did my bike ride with intervals and felt fine. But shortly after lunch something wasn't right. I still can't quite pinpoint it, but I felt like some sort of illness was upon me. I got really tired all of a sudden - not just the "oh it's after lunch, I could go for a nap" but "I can't think straight and really need to just put my head down asap." I'm running short on vacation days with all my days off for the race and various events this year, so I really wanted my body to just push through a few more days - had to get through the weekend's workouts and then I could recover next week - during rest/recovery week! But after a quick chat with Artemis, who is much wiser than me, I realized the prudent thing was to call it a day and let my body get the rest it wanted. One perk of riding my bike to work regularly is that I am eligible for an emergency ride home when needed - so I got a free taxi ride home - my bike fit in the backseat (not the trunk though!). Less than an hour after I left work I was sound asleep. Slept til dinner time then went back to sleep for the night. I didn't feel a heck of a lot better in the morning, but I was still convinced I just needed a little more rest and then I'd be perfectly well again. Missing work Friday was kind of like missing the third day of work after my illness in early August - I felt like I could've made it through the day at work, but wasn't sure what kind of shape I'd be in at the end of the day. Since we're getting so close to IM, I selfishly decided to stay home Friday too. I just can't afford to end up sick at this point. Coach had me skip Friday's workout and we stayed in touch to decide about Saturday's run. I was extremely disappointed when I didn't feel 100% by Friday afternoon, but I woke up Saturday morning feeling totally better! Guess all I needed was about 24 hours of sleep in those 40 hours!

Saturday's long run was another LRE (longest run ever - Lauren's new acronym) - 17 miles on the schedule. I just got a new HRM/bike computer, but I didn't feel up to RTFM or going to the bike shop to have them set it up on my bike, so I didn't get to use the new tech on Saturday. Predicted high was over 100. I used a stretch of the river trail recommended by Jennifer. Wow, there were so many people out running and cycling at 8:30am on Saturday. It was awesome. The runners were all correctly facing bike traffic. The cyclists shouted "runners up" to their friends behind them so they'd all be aware of impending runners. The dirt section next to the paved bike path was wide enough and flat enough to run on. Oh, it was marvelous. I'm going to use this stretch on my future long runs, too. I used my new IT Band wrap for the first time, and ran on the dirt whenever possible. I had NO IT band pain!!!!! It was awesome. I ended up running 17.3 because it felt so good. I had a great time. Oh, and I used my ipod on a run for the first time in a long time. That may have helped a bit. Thank you Madonna, ABBA, The Eagles, and Bob Marley for creating songs worth repeating a few times in a row.

The first few miles of the run were a little rough mentally. I think that's always the case for me though. (Must remember this for Florida.) I look at my watch and feel like I've been running for so long but it's only been a mile or two. But after five or six miles the miles seem to fly by. (I think "Just Like a Prayer" is what really got me going. Please let the run aid stations play good music in Florida!) It also helped mentally that I ended up doing an out-and-back instead of having to run around in circles at the end to finish my mileage. (Although I did a little bit to try to stay in the shade.) I probably had fewer water stops than in my previous long runs because I used two new 10.5-oz bottles on my Amphipod in place of one 8 oz bottle. The extra weight didn't bother me. I didn't pause my watch for my bathroom/water stops. I usually do, but I've finally realized that's just stupid because time doesn't stop during the race. (Although I will be able to keep moving when I need water thanks to volunteers.) So with all those things factored in, my average pace was 13:08 min miles. So, yes, I stayed home from work on Friday because I wasn't feeling well, and then I went out and ran for almost 4 hours on Saturday morning. I'm a jerk, what can I say? I skipped everything else on my to-do list for Saturday though, including a friend's bbq. I figured I probably needed to just stay home and rest for the day.

This morning I did my ride - short and sweet. Just 42 miles, with the middle 20 at half iron race pace. This time I rode 18.6mph for that stretch. I used my new Rudy Project sunglasses for the first time, which meant using my contacts for the first time in a few years. That felt a little trippy but after about 20 minutes I was really enjoying the extra peripheral vision and the extra coverage the Rudy Project sunglasses give me compared to my prescription sunglasses. The whole ride felt good, although I wished I'd had the energy yesterday to get my bike to the bike shop. I need to have them unsqueeze my saddle. They pinched the front ends together when I complained it was a little wide (only noticeable for the first mile of a brick workout). I've been missing the cutout in the front and I think I'd rather be comfortable on the bike for a few extra hours and be mildly uncomfortable for the first mile of the run feeling like I just got off a horse.

So I'm still listening to my body. I have tomorrow as a vacation day - my husband's new work schedule gives him Monday and Tuesday's off, so I wanted to hang out with him. I kind of want to go to work tomorrow since I don't like being short on vacation days and hadn't planned on using a day on Friday. But I still have all these things to do - bike shop trip, plus Dr appt, etc - and I can't figure out how else to get them done. I guess it's kind of like sticking to the coach's workout plans. I stopped running at 17.3 because I wanted to follow the plan more than I wanted to see how far I could run. Today I felt mildly tempted to run after my bike, but a brick wasn't on the schedule. I can't just go around doing more than is planned because eventually it's going to catch up to me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting the workouts done before work

Yesterday I really took advantage of my flexible work hours so I could get my workouts done before work without having to get up before 5am. Dropped the dog off at daycare at 7 then hit the gym where I had my body fat tested in a hydrostatic test. It's a workout in and of itself. Exhale all your air and then go underwater. Not easy for a swimmer's brain. I convinced the guy running the test that I would be much happier to take a breath and then go under water and exhale it all. "But you'll be under water longer." Why should I care? It's 85 degrees and I like the water. I did this test back in January around the time I started training regularly. Since then I've gained (yes gained!) 5 pounds total, but I lost 2 pounds of fat and gained 7 pounds of muscle. If I could lose a few more fat pounds and keep the muscle, I'll be happy. (My Tanita scale with the body fat % measurement was exactly on the dot in January, but yesterday it read 2% higher then the hydrostatic test.)
The test was a fasting test, so I quickly inhaled two gels and headed off for my 5 mile run with intervals. I had enough energy for the run, though the first two intervals my legs felt like bricks. Must be all that extra muscle weight. After the run, which took 60 minutes on the dot - I love easy math, I did weights for 30 minutes. During the weights I really started getting hungry! I'd brought breakfast to eat at work but decided I couldn't wait that long so ate a Larabar and banana while driving back to the daycare, where I left my car and rode my bike to work. Logistically a little tough, but I fit everything in. Except the 10 minutes of abs. Maybe today...
This morning I had a 3000 swim on the schedule. I got Barricuda ear plugs the other day since I hate how cold my ears get when I swim and I figured ear plugs might give me one less excuse to not swim. Turns out they contributed to my many excuses this morning as to why I couldn't possibly swim the whole 3000. I wear two swim caps to keep warm, too. One under the goggles so that my goggles stick properly (directly on hair they seem to move around a bit), then goggles, then a cap over the goggles. The top cap is important to keep goggles in place even if I get kicked in the face. Well, the caps and the ear plugs didn't work very well together. I need to play with them a bit to figure out a solution, but one ear plug ended up hurting a lot and the other wasn't doing a whole lot. Plus I was really congested and had to stop every 100 yards to cough, and a burn I got the other day was stinging from the chlorine. So I decided I could only bear to do 1500 because really, isn't the whole point of this to have fun? (Yes, ironman training is FUN!) and being miserable wasn't fun. But then I realized it was wimpy to swim anything less than a mile, so I swam to 1750. Then I did a flip turn without thinking about it so figured I should just do another 10 laps and be done at 2000. I hit the hot tub for a few minutes then the steam room to help clear my lungs. It worked. Maybe I'll do an extra long swim on Monday to make up for it?
Looking forward to a massage tonight, now that the workout is out of the way. (Or as out of the way as it's going to be.) I'm hoping my legs can get loosened up and all ready for my long run on Saturday. Speaking of loosening up muscles, I got a few more pieces of near equipment recently, too. I got the Grid Foam Roller a few weeks ago to help stretch my IT Band. I wanted a portable roller to bring to FL. It works pretty much the same as a regular foam roller. I'm not overly thrilled with the different textures. I think I like a solid surface better. It's hard to tell a difference, but I definitely like the longer traditional roller for my back and to do ab workouts. The customer service at Trigger Point is great though, and I'm really happy to have a roller that fits in the suitcase. I bought the Grid from my local Fleet Feet, but my puppy shredded the piece of cardstock that came with it which had different stretching exercises. I didn't even have a chance to look at it before Sierra tore it up. Trigger Point emailed me the image file! Also, a new HRM/bike computer is sitting at home waiting for me. This IT Band Wrap is on its way to me. I'm curious if the IT Band Wrap works at all. The reviews on Amazon are pretty positive though.
Got an email from Ironman yesterday saying they will be issuing race numbers soon! The 2009 Athlete Guide came out too. Lots of fun details with official rules:
"If you have a technical problem or have bonked, the Sag car will take you to the next aid station."  (For the bike portion. I remember when my friend Nikka started cycling, she said she loved that there was a word for totally running out of energy)
"No form of locomotion other than running, walking or crawling is allowed. " (For the run portion. Hopefully won't have to pull a Julie Moss crawl!)
And is it just me or is it lame that swimmers are allowed to hold on to kayaks as long as "no forward motion" takes place? I guess that's to try to keep the drownings down.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Slow and steady

Clearly our parents were wrong. Slow and steady doesn't win the race. But it might get you to the finish line. I'm focusing on speed and mental training this month. I actually enjoy speed work, though it's hard for me to see any improvement, I like to tell myself I'm getting faster. During my 100 mile ride on Sunday I realized my pace is what it is. I hope to beat the 5:15pm bike finish deadline with some room to spare, but it might only be an hour or so. One thing that sucks about being slow on the bike is since my swim isn't too terrible, I'm going to get passed by a lot of people on the bike. I guess it's better than not seeing anyone on the course. It's all relative anyways. My average pace during my first half iron (almost exactly 2.5 years before IMFL) was something like 12mph.
My 100 mile ride on Sunday had me finishing with a 15.7mph average pace - considering riding time only. Add in 27 minutes of various water and bathroom stops, and it pulls me down to 14.7mph. I'm hoping I can hold 15mph in Florida because 1) I'll be tapered, and 2) I won't have to stop for water. I'm pretty sure I can get by without stopping at special needs either, considering I carried all my food on Sunday without any problems. I'll probably still leave a bag with some extra food at special needs in case something flies off my bike, probably CO2s and a spare tube or two also.
Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 17 miles (3000yds); 58 minutes
Bike: 162 miles; 674 minutes
Run: 17 miles; 210 minutes
Weights: 8 min
Abs: 0 min
Total: 950 minutes (15 hours, 50 minutes)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

100/2 brick

Today's brick was a toughie, mostly because it was so hot. I can't believe I'm complaining about heat and it's not even 100 degrees (though close). Guess it's been too long since I lived in Phoenix. The week is going to just keep getting hotter, too. Isn't it technically autumn soon?

I ended up taking the pup to the dog park before my ride. It was mostly for my own benefit because it gave me the chance to write up my nutrition plan for the ride while Sierra got some exercise. It's hard to walk the dog and take notes at the same time. So my ride didn't get started til 8:40am. Ugh! Not the best time to start a 100 mile bike-2 mile run brick on a day where the high is supposed to be 94!

The 100 miles on the bike were alright. I took the scenic route to the bike path (~22 miles, passing the airport), rode the path til my odometer hit 50 and turned around and came back the same way. The route past the airport is pretty awful in the afternoon. It's exposed and can be pretty windy. I figured it'd be a good mental toughness workout. I averaged 15.7 mph overall, the first 50 were 16.0. I finally noticed my bike computer shows arrows to indicate if my current speed is above or below my average speed. I saw a lot of down arrows in my last 20 miles.

Around mile 70 is when I started getting uncomfortable. I think I need to adjust my saddle again and I'd really like to figure out the problem with my bike shoes. Maybe it's time to try a different brand. I finally remembered to bring a banana for a long ride, since I plan to eat the bananas on the race course. I need to figure out a way to ingest more protein on the bike. I managed to eat a packet of honey peanut butter, but the first half was so thick and tough to choke down that it took me at least an hour or two before I convinced myself to try to finish it. The PB was better with banana. Why do drinks with protein taste so bad?? Can the aid stations just pass out grilled chicken bites? How about kabobs to place across the aerobars? Also I think I need to have more sodium. I had one Endurolyte every 30 minutes but it's got a mix of electrolytes and the sodium is probably not as high as I could use.

The run wasn't as bad as I envisioned during the last 10 miles on the bike. I left the dog at home because I decided it'd be too hot for her, and I didn't want her slowing me down with all the stops she likes to make. I found some shade so I wouldn't have to listen to my skin sizzle and I averaged an 11:37 pace. I felt like I was taking mini-steps though for the first half mile. My lower back felt pretty tight on the left side for at least the first mile, but that seems to be normal for me. I drank almost all 16oz of water I brought with me on the run. A lot of water in 23 minutes. I jumped in the pool right after my run (sweaty running clothes still on) and that helped cool me off. It was 96 degrees when I finished. My head is still hot 2 hours later. After I showered I couldn't tell if I was hungry or nauseous. I correctly assumed it was hunger, luckily.

I've been seeing lots of wildlife on my rides lately, which surprises me given the heat. Today I saw lots of turkeys and a few dead snakes. On my ride last weekend I saw a buck (at least a 4 pointer!) and the other day I had to stop on that hilly and hot ride to let some deer pass. Sometimes the snakes I come across aren't flattened enough for me to tell if they're alive or not. I did come across one really big snake on the bike path a few months ago. No live snakes today though!

With the countdown on, it seems I'm not the only one who's getting serious about watching what I'm using to fuel my body. My fellow IMFL bloggers all seem to be thinking the same thing. Traveling 140.6 miles with 5-10 fewer pounds sure might make the whole day a little easier. I was thinking about eliminating all non-fruit desserts, since my sweet tooth is the real problem for me. Then I had a dream about brownies and it made me realize how hard it's going to be. But I'm still going to give it a shot, and ever since I made this decision (2 days ago?) I've been wanting vegetables a lot more than sweets and just focusing on alkaline foods in general, so I think it might be okay. And maybe it'll make me want to get to that finish line that much faster if there's a gluten free brownie waiting for me. At the grocery store yesterday I stocked up on cantaloupe and frozen mango and strawberries. Frozen mango was a nice cool treat today after my brick workout.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I can't believe I forgot to mention that we've now broken the 50 day mark. Less than 49 days to go! Wow.

It was really hot, and there were hills.

Just got back from a few days along the central coast. Here's the recap from the last few days...

Wednesday bike:
  • I had some intervals to do on my ride which was fine but I got started a little late (a terrible trend these days) and had to cut the warmup a couple miles short. oops.
  • Rode my Trek so I could lock it to a bench outside my Dr's office, which was my pre-work destination, but then I ended up just bringing it into the Dr's lobby. I figure if I ask them to install a bike lock for over a year and they don't bother, then they should just accept that my bike is coming in with me since the U-lock can't fit around the bench. They seem to accept it just fine. I'd rather then install a bike rack though since it might encourage other people to ride their bikes to the office.
  • Got to work 3 miles short of the day's 30 mile goal, so after work I literally rode in circles (~.08 mile circles) until Dave showed up. He was picking me up at work so we could drive down to the central coast. I got so dizzy after the 2.3 miles of circles that I had motion sickness for the entire 5 hour drive, though I slept through most of it.
Thursday run:
  • I started our 2 days of togetherness by going for an 8 mile run... at 9:30am. The high was supposed to be 90-something. It was really hot, and there were hills.
  • My middle two "tempo" miles were the easiest part because I didn't have to keep slowing down to a ridiculous pace to keep my HR in check, since my HR was allowed to be high for those miles.
  • I did, however, have to pause in the second tempo mile to ask someone with a hose to refill my water bottles. It was really hot, and there were hills.
  • I was practically crawling the last few miles back to the hotel, finishing the last 1.5 on the treadmill with a/c and a fan. One of the last miles was seriously a 15 min mile pace and my HR was still too high. It was really hot.
  • A few hours into our together time, I remembered I really had to go to the Running Wherehouse to buy a case of my watermelon Carb Boom since the shops near where we live are out of stock. (hm wonder who bought them all?)  While we were there, I saw the IT Band Compression Wrap. Anyone know if it works?
Friday bike, swim, and weights:
  • Since Dave had to work starting at 2pm on Friday, we just had the morning together. Since Thursday's run had been so hot, it seemed prudent to do my 40 mile ride in the morning instead of the afternoon, if the ride was really going to get done. After sleeping in, together time for the day became just breakfast and a quick hello after I finished my ride. Three cheers for supportive spouses.
  • I found a nice hilly route (Peachy Canyon-Willow route) that went past a lot of vineyard and I got started at 10am. It was already hot, and there were hills. Even just 15 minutes into the ride I felt like I was either going 10mph uphill or 30 mph downhill. My average ended up being a measly 13.0mph and my max was 36.4mph. Tells you something. My chain fell off twice. I wished I had my Cervelo.
  • It was really hot, and there were hills, and I was doing intervals. Intervals going uphill, when it's really hot and there is no shade, well, they kinda suck. Intervals going downhill on curvy roads with huge trucks bearing down on you, well, they kinda suck, too.
  • Since I had my Trek, I didn't have my Speedfil which meant I only had 40oz of liquid with me. Thanks to the Tablas Creek Vineyard for the nice cold water.
  • Girls who look like they're about 21 who are driving in a convertible and slow down to ask you for directions, while you're standing on your bike in the lowest gear desperately trying to get up about a 15% grade, clearly haven't ever been on a bike.
  • Since it was really hot, and there were hills, and I was drinking (water) like crazy and I knew there weren't any vineyards on the next 8 mile segment, I cut my ride short. I felt a bit lame about that, but I felt that I'd put more effort into it than I would have a 40 miler at home since we don't have hills here. My 32.5 miles took me the same amount of time my normal 40 would.
  • All in all, I felt happy to finish what I did do since I toyed with asking Dave to pick me up for most of the ride, but I also thought about how I'd be such a better cyclist if we lived near hills. Either that or I would never ride. 
  • With the whole afternoon and night to myself, I looked into city pools thinking I could get my swim done. WTF is up with lap swimming from just 12-1 and only M-F? Who lives in these towns? I wasn't about to swim an hour in a 15 yard hotel pool with steps on one side, so the swim got pushed another day.
  • Sierra and I ventured to the hotel's gym so I could do the weights I neglected earlier in the week. The hotel had welded all of the weight machines' adjustable parts into place. They fit perfect - for a 6' person. I just did the vertical bench press, then I unsuccessfully tried to get Sierra to use the treadmill.
Saturday run and swim:
  • Just a short 4 miler this morning with 6x1 intervals. Felt ridiculously short and easy, except for about 2-3 minutes. 
  • I started before 8am. It wasn't hot, and there were only mild inclines, no hills.
  • Food for thought - the day I signed up for IM Florida I ran 4 miles. Four miles was my long run at that point.
  • Today's swim, well, I'm not fooling anyone. I just spent 4 hours in the car and I need to go grocery shopping and I would really love a nap. My coach is far away in Hawai'i so somehow I feel like my teacher is on vacation and she'll never know what I do wrong, even though I know the substitute is going to leave a note... Surely it's more important to mentally prepare myself for tomorrow's 100/2 brick than to go spend an hour floating around in the pool.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feels like fall

The days are definitely getting shorter. I had to convince Dave to come with me on my easy 3 mile run this morning so that I wouldn't be running alone in the dark or on the treadmill. We started about 45 minutes before official sunrise time. I think it gets bright enough to feel okay running on my own about 30 min before sunrise. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next month!  (Maybe the people who do IM Wisconsin have the right idea of getting it over with by mid-September!) To keep my HR in the 60-70% zone we were trotting along at just a 12 min mile pace. 36 minutes later it was time for breakfast before I headed to the pool.
I've said this before but this time I reeeeeally didn't want to swim. Dave tried to motivate me by telling me how much better my swim will be in FL if I swam today. That's when I realized that last winter I kept telling myself "I'll start swimming regularly in the winter. I'll go to masters 3 times a week." I figured since it's now mid-September, I should perhaps stop putting off swims. (But I'll continue to put off masters. Those people are way too fast.) When I walked into the locker room at the gym, I thought "hey I could do weights now and swim after work instead of the other way around" but I knew it was possible I'd blow off the afternoon swim by reasoning that the pool is always crowded after work. I chatted with a woman in the locker room who told me the pool temp was nice and reminded me that the cooler the air feels, the warmer the water feels. After I decided I should give the pool a chance, she warned me that she's "one of those crazy people who swims in the winter." I tried not to feel conned. Walking to the pool which still didn't have the glimmer of morning sunlight yet, I glanced at the hot tub longingly. Maybe if I got in the hot tub first, I'd warm up! I bargained with myself that I could sit in the hot tub for a few minutes after my swim. Even once I got halfway into the pool I was thinking of hopping back out and getting in the hot tub instead. But I decided I'd look really stupid if I did that. Even though I didn't see anyone around who might make that judgment, my ego got me swimming and one lap at a time I finished the 3000. Every 250 or so I thought "hm I could cut it short, hit the hot tub, and still have time for weights" but I just kept swimming because I didn't want to disappoint my coach! I either swam 3000 or 3050 in 58:30. I don't know how I always manage to think I'm off by a lap. I didn't even save time for the hot tub. Whenever I worry about the cold water, I remind myself that I'll be wearing a wetsuit on November 7. That'll keep me warm.
I love the post-swim feeling I get, much more so than the pre-swim feeling of dreading the cold! My mind is practically numb, probably from the boring laps! So it feels like my brain has a clean slate for the day. I feel a little sleepy, very relaxed, and sometimes my arms are so tired it's hard to wash my hair. The chlorine seems to linger even post-shower, so it makes me feel clean, though perhaps also overly sanitized.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Half iron race pace

Yesterday's ride was a 60 miler, 20 warmup, 20 at half iron race pace, 20 cooldown. I wanted to do the middle 20 entirely on the bike path so I wouldn't have to worry about traffic slowing me down, and then I decided I also wanted to do it without having to turn around in the middle because that would slow me down too. I wasn't really sure I could do 20 miles at a 17-17.5 mph pace. I felt like my race pace at Vineman in July was a fluke. I have no idea how I did the bike course so quickly. I think the wind must have been at my back the whole time. Or maybe due to not having trained a whole lot in the month before the race, I was very well tapered. Yeah, that must be it.
Long story short(ish) is that I ended up pushing 18.5mph for the middle 20 AND I kept my HR from going too high. I think the wind may have been at my back, but I already picked the "uphill" direction to do that portion of the ride, so what more could I do? I passed 3 people with bike problems during that 20 mile segment and I felt so bad for not asking if any of them needed help (although they all looked like someone else was helping out). I promised to stop for everyone on the way back during my cooldown. One guy I talked to had gotten FOUR flats that day. He didn't care to change another tire though so turned down my spare tube. Made me wonder if he kept forgetting to check the inside of the tire before switching tubes... All in all it was a good ride. I did my 60 miles, plus 7.5 for my friend Lauren who's been working too hard and hasn't had enough time to ride outside lately. The miles for her were the easiest in my body. Perhaps because I was almost home! But wow there were plenty of drivers who need to be taught a lesson by the one armed man about why they need to respect cyclists.
I forgot to total my miles for my recovery week, but as you'd expect, they are not impressive at all. Then again, in 2006 my goal was to exercise 6 hours a week. So I guess comparatively, things are going well.
Recovery week (8/31-9/6)
Swim: 1.7 miles (3000yds); 59 minutes
Bike: 72 miles; 289 minutes
Run: 8 miles; 96 minutes
Weights: 65 min
Abs: 12 min
Total: 521 minutes (8 hours, 41 minutes)
Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 3.1 miles (5500yds); 108 minutes
Bike: 136 miles; 513 minutes
Run: 20.1 miles; 245 minutes
Weights: 35 min
Abs: 20 min
Total: 921 minutes (15 hours, 21 minutes)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekends exist for long workouts!

Today was the first time in awhile my husband got to join me on some of my workouts. He took charge of the dog as I started the 16 mile run. The three of us ran the mile to the new dog park near us where I paused to stretch, then they played at the dog park while I ran a mile or so loop back to them and we met up for another mile of running before they headed home and I just kept running, and running, and running... I just kind of picked residential streets to run down and ended up running all around the neighborhood, using drinking fountains in the parks along the way to refill my bottles. It wasn't quite as long as I thought it was going to be. The first 8 were pretty good, and I was surprised to think "I'm already halfway there." Then I decided I was taking it too easy so I picked it up a notch. Mile 12 was my fastest (11:18) and then things got really slow, as in 13-14 min mile pace for the rest of the run. My IT band started hurting. I'd stretched a little during each of my walking breaks (1 min per mile) but for the last few miles those stretching breaks got longer as I tried to coax my leg into cooperating. At some point it actually seemed harder to start jogging after the breaks than to just keep going. I ran circles in a parking lot so that I'd hit 16.0 by a convenience store so I could buy 3 bags of ice and walk 5 minutes home for an ice bath. Dave had steak, potatoes, and corn on the cob ready for lunch after my uber cold ice bath. The cold ice water felt so good on my legs.

The weather was dark, cloudy, cool, and windy with occasional sprinkles during my run. So after an ice bath I just wanted to get cozy. But Dave kept reminding me about my swim. He wanted to get some exercise and kayak. We headed to the lake and he rented a kayak while I pulled on my wetsuit. The water temp was 58 degrees! I just swam 50 minutes as my ears felt a bit cold so I wanted to turn back. Per Google Earth it was about 1.4 miles (about 2500 yds). Not as far as I would've liked, but probably better than just swimming a 3000 in the pool since it was only the third time I swam in my wetsuit. It was definitely more enjoyable than laps in the pool!

In pink news, yesterday after work I only had to stop by one bike shop to find bar tape (Fizik) to match my saddle but it's not installed yet. I also bought a pink bottle cage (Bontrager). They're both pretty close to the Adamo pink. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

A nice swim

Yesterday's swim was really nice. Probably the first time in awhile I was happy to hop in. I still felt a bit chilled for the first 100 but after that it was nice. I swam what felt like a pretty consistent pace throughout and churned out the 3000 yards in 58 minutes. I wonder if part of what made it mentally easier was that I just told myself I had to go swim for an hour, instead of counting all the laps I was going to have to do (120). I did the first mile (1750) in 32 min which was the same pace as my mile on Saturday. But yesterday's swim just felt better and it was enjoyable. The water aerobics class started while I was swimming, and I was just on the other side of a lane line from them. I thought about how great it'd be if they started splashing and hitting me while I swam, to get the practice for a mass swim start.
Yesterday's big Ironman news was that we bought our plane tickets! I'm very excited that my husband is going to be able to join me after all! A friend we made at an open water swim in the Caribbean a few years ago will be doing Ironman Florida, too, and we're looking forward to seeing him and his wife in Panama City. It'll be so nice to be back on the beach after so many years away from the ocean.
Today is just an easy ride which I'm doing as my commute. I added an extra 30 minutes or so to my morning commute to get in some extra miles. It was such a nice morning to ride. My legs felt good and I was sorry to have to turn around and ride to work! I'm going to try to swing by some bike shops soon, maybe on my ride home, to look for the right shade of pink bar tape. If I can't find anything close I'm going to buy some on ebay that looks like it might work. But I'd rather see it in person first.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Skype: puppysitting and cheerleading

I was soooo hungry today. I couldn't possibly bear to go to the gym and do weights before dinner, so I just drove home. There were a few lane changes just before the exit for the gym. Brain said "exit - go directly to gym. do not pass go!" but my stomach won ("Me want FOOD"). Evil stomach brain said "just go back to the gym after dinner and then you can do yesterday's swim too. You'll be way more productive!" As soon as I got home I put my gym clothes on to make myself do weights later, and then I finally ate. It felt like it'd been days. Ironman training sure makes me hungry! I feel like I'm always either hungry or tired, or exercising or working. Sometimes combinations. Oh, and I sleep, too. Tomorrow morning I need to do a fasting blood test, so I'm sure I'll be starving by the time that's done with - 2 hours after my normal breakfast time. I'm just staying up a little bit later tonight...

So of course after I ate dinner, I didn't want to go back to the gym to do weights. I thought about how much better it'd be to do them tomorrow, but tomorrow is a REST day. So I told myself that it'd be nice to really deserve that rest day by doing everything on my training calendar today. I finally managed to convince myself to head over to the apartment complex gym and see what I could do with the weight machines there. Meanwhile Dave supervised Sierra via Skype. Apparently she just howled and then sat in front of the computer listening to Dave and his music. Remote puppysitters. Awesome. I got a good upper body workout, and a so-so lower body workout. Then came the final test of the day - could I possibly also do 10 minutes of abs? Dave assisted by keeping track of the time for me and letting me know when each minute was up so I could switch to another exercise. Sierra seemed to really enjoy running her head into my feet when I did the bicycle exercise. Silly doggie thinks she's a goat. He let me know when I had just 50 seconds left of the whole 10 minutes. A little while later he cheered "YAY" I thought I was done, but he continued after a brief pause "only 20 seconds left!"  :P thanks honey!

Waspy ride and intervals

My 40 mile ride yesterday was more interesting than I would've liked! I didn't mind the intervals I did in the beginning of the ride - they made it interesting in a good way. But a little over halfway into the ride I got stung by something. I stopped, checked my side where it hurt and just saw a red mark, no stinger, no bee, so I kept riding. Then I felt an even sharper sudden pain on the left side, so I stopped, looked in my shirt where it hurt, saw a red mark and then I saw a huge wasp! So I threw my shirt off as quickly as possible and shook it out. I didn't see where the wasp went so I was really paranoid about it hiding on me somewhere. I was putting my shirt back on when another cyclist rode past. He slowed down enough to make sure I was okay and told me he gets stung by bees on that road all the time. The big wasp sting was just under my left armpit and it hurt for the rest of the ride. I toyed with taking a shortcut home but realized I could only cut off a few miles anyways. I was doing the same route I did on Sunday with Mica and I wanted to see how my time compared to the ride with him.

Sunday's ride: 40.33 miles, avg 16.0mph, max 25.0, bike computer time 2:30:00
Monday's ride: 40.13 miles, avg 16.5mph, max 23.7, bike computer time 2:25:33

I popped some Benedryl when I got home since I have a tendency towards allergic reactions. That made me drowsy, which made me so sleepy I couldn't even consider driving to the pool. I took a nap instead. By the time I was awake enough to go swim, it was time to think about getting ready for bed.

In keeping with this month's goal of focusing on speed, today's run included intervals too. I know intervals are supposed to be torture, but I enjoyed them. I'm pretty sure I was running fast enough since my HR actually went too high in one interval and I had to slow down a little to keep it below 85%. I ran a little more than 4 miles, finishing at the convenience store close to my apartment to get some milk, but they had none that I wanted, so then I jogged over to the grocery store to get my milk and jogged most of the way home because I thought it was later than it was. So maybe 4.25 miles or so.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

40/4 Brick

I'm a member of various fitness groups. It's a way to meet people with common interests, but mostly I use it to find group rides. I almost never participate in any of the rides though because they rarely fit my training schedule, or they require me to drive 20 miles to go on a 30 mile bike ride, which just seems silly to me. Recently some group rides have been organized on Thursday evenings near me. I know myself well enough that I can't commit to an evening ride with anyone, but I did manage to email the ride organizer a few times and as a result I found myself with a riding buddy this morning. I met Mica nearby and off we went on a 40 mile route he knew.

Mica's route took us along a pave bike path I'd been on once. We headed north to the farmlands and ended up doing a big counter-clockwise loop past the airport and down to the park. We traveled about 15-20 miles on the same roads I've been taking lately, but other than that it was new to me. Fairly good roads to ride on - either almost no cars at all, or a decent shoulder with very light traffic. We managed to ride side-by-side for most of the ride. Having someone to chat with sure makes the time fly, and I probably rode a little faster, but I did aim to keep my HR in the right zone. The ride ended up being 40.33 miles - pretty darn close to 40! It was especially nice riding with someone who is a bit faster than me but willing to ride at my pace - it meant my training wasn't slowed down! My only complaint is that our quick stop at the restrooms and drinking fountain turned into a 10 minute snack stop, but I guess not everyone feels comfortable eating while riding. My Speedfil worked well, though I wasn't riding in the aerobars as much as usual. I'm hoping to figure out more about where I want the drinking tube to be tomorrow on my ride. Right now it's velcroed to my right aerobar. I think it needs to be trimmed a little too, but still deciding on that one. (40.33 miles in 2 hrs 36 min by HRM, bike computer says avg 16.0mph)

Immediately after the 40 mile ride, I changed into my running shorts, velcroed on my amphipod with my prefilled water bottles, leashed up the dog and ran out the door. Sierra and I ran 4 miles around noon - it felt a lot hotter than the weather sites said it was. We stuck to the shade whenever possible, even though it meant running back and forth on a few stretches to squeeze out the extra mile. (46 minutes for 4 miles, 11:31 min mile pace) The first 3 miles felt long, but the last one was done before I knew it. I guess that's better than the other way around? The rest of the day Sierra and I were tired and hungry! I feel like I ate the whole kitchen. I'm a little worried about how tired I might be tomorrow since I've got a 40 mile ride with intervals followed by another swim. Swimming always makes me sleepy! Maybe I should start napping on the weekends like Sierra does...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday at the bike shop

I did manage to get my swim in this afternoon! It was tough (to get started). Even once I got halfway in the water I wanted to just go back home. But after the first 400 or so it wasn't too bad. I swam a mile, 1750 yards, in 32 minutes. Each fourth lap was build (faster pace), which kept things interesting. After the mile, it was hard to convince myself to finish the full workout, but I kept telling myself "I'm a fast fish. fast fish." so I could think about that instead of the other things I wanted to do. Total I swam 3000 yards in a little under an hour. As always, it felt nice when I finished and I wasn't sorry I did it. Most of the swim was enjoyable. It was especially rewarding because the pool had lots of slow people in it. I'm pretty sure I was the fastest swimmer. That always feels nice for a change. After the swim I did about 35 minutes of weights and 2 minutes of abs. Abs are just too hard for me to do at the end of a workout. Must do them before bed or first thing in the morning.

I spent my morning at the bike shop, which is probably a contributing factor to wanting to just sit around at home and relax all afternoon. It's amazing how much time I spend at the bike shop. I'm glad they've got comfy chairs to sit in and a big tv with cycling races on it to watch while I wait for the tweaking. (Okay I guess I just wanted to sit around and relax today.) My new saddle came in so we swapped out the old and put in the new. Exactly the same, but PINK! (I'll post pics once I find the perfect pink bar tape to match. They just had a light pink which doesn't quite match. Right now my bike looks a little ridiculous with just the pink saddle and everything else stock color. Pink tires come in next month.) The Adamo racing saddle is so much more comfortable than the other saddles I've used, but at the start of my run during my 80/2 brick the other week, I felt like I'd just been on a horse all day instead of my bike. The saddle is a little wide. Joe fixed that by pinching the front together. Apparently the width is a common complaint and this is the fix that works for most. Joe adjusted my aerobars a little too. I was having some mild tightness in my upper left back area. I did a quick test ride and it seems either the same or mildly better, so we'll see how it works after tomorrow's 40/4 brick.

A little bit more of my money went to the bike shop today, too. My new hydration system came in. I've got the Speedfil system now. This should be the ticket to saving time by not having to stop and refill my bottles at all the aid stations! It's basically a 40oz reservoir that sits on the downtube and has an opening to squeeze water (and Heed) into from a bottle, then I drink from a tube that dangles up near my aerobars. My bike frame is large enough that a bottle still fits on the seattube, which makes for easier refilling of the Speedfil on nonsupported rides. I'll post more on Speedfil after I use it tomorrow. I also bought my first CO2 cartridges and an air gun so should I get a flat, I won't have to spend 20-30 min handpumping my tire. And I got pink socks to match the saddle.

Yesterday I just had an easy 20 miler, which I did most of by riding my Trek from day care to get allergy shots (20 min stop) then to work. I did the last 3 miles by swinging past the Gluten Free Specialty shop on the way to day care. I lost any fitness gains from the morning by buying a box of gluten free cinnamon rolls. I talked to the owner, Melanie, about the Ironman Janus Charity Challenge, and she said she'd help me if I decide to raise funds for a celiac/gluten free nonprofit. I just need to decide if I have the time to do it! That decision is on this long weekend's to do list, along with biking, running, biking, and swimming.

This week has been so busy at work that I started drinking coffee again. UGH! I'm avoiding it this weekend and am instead aiming to get at least 9 hours of sleep a night. Thursday I got 9, Friday 9.5. I'm meeting someone at 8:30 to ride tomorrow, so if I finish this post and go to bed right now, I can aim for 10 hours of sleep!  Oh, but I haven't stretched yet... Ironman Florida is 9 weeks away! The midnight finishing deadline is 9 weeks and 1 hour from now. Between now and then I am going to work on getting plenty of sleep. I can tell my body needs it!


I'm sitting here trying to motivate myself to go to the gym to do today's swim. It doesn't sound like fun at all. Swimming back and forth over 125 times, counting laps, just staring at the bottom of the pool. Boring. I really wish I could just head to the beach on St Thomas where we used to swim a lot. Or better yet, to St John. I'd rather swim the 3.5 mile course on St John from Maho to Hawksnet than go swim 3000 yd in the pool.

I was trying to find my "Becoming an Ironman" book which is a collection of stories written by various people about their first attempt at finishing the Ironman distance race. I thought it might motivate me. But I can't find the book. So I googled some swimming blogs. Didn't find anything too motivating there either! I guess I need to just do it. I'll just pretend I'm swimming with the turtles on St John...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Easy run with the family

My husband was able to come home for his "weekend" Tuesday night, so my Wednesday morning easy 4 mile run was with him and the dog. Forced family fun!   To keep my HR in the proper zone we had to go reeeally slowly. My HR kept tinkering on going over 70% so then I had to slow down some more. The slow run reminded me of how much faster I've gotten at running since I started 4 years ago. My long runs when I trained for my first half ironman were typically at a 14-15 minute mile pace, and the shorter runs weren't that much faster! Yesterday's average pace was 12:19. At one point we came across one of those electronic signs that shows drivers how fast they are driving. It actually registered us, alternating between 5 and 6 mph for a few seconds before another car flew past.
After the run I went to the gym to do weights before riding my bike to work from the gym. I did just 1 minute of abs in the morning while waiting for my breakfast to cook, so all day I had the other 9 minutes hanging over my head. If I had my yoga mat in my office, I could do them at lunch, but the floor is just not soft enough for crunches (or for sleeping on, which is why I really need to bring the yoga mat to work next time I drive!). It was so nice to get a ride home from work and come home to a yummy smelling house with dinner already made. It was just like how things used to be when we lived together like a normal husband and wife. Surprising both of us, I did my last 9 minutes of abs before bedtime. Go me! Working on replacing the keg with a 6 pack 1 minute at a time.
Today is rest day/swim if I can. I've got my swim gear with me and am hoping to hit the pool after work. I'm looking forward to the long weekend. I've got a bike shop appointment Saturday morning to make some minor fit adjustments and later in the day I'll do a swim, weights, and abs. It'll be the first Saturday without running or biking for a long time!
In following a trend on many other athlete's blogs, and in the hopes that it will make me feel productive, I've decided to give a summary of my August training:
Swim: 8.279 miles (285.5 minutes)
Bike: 522 miles (2120.5 minutes) 
Run: 60.17 miles (684 minutes)
Walk: 1.65 miles (25 minutes) (just counting walking when done b/c of ITBS)
Weights: 126 minutes
Abs: 39 minutes (Not counting time spent vomiting, although it certainly made my abs sore...)
Total: 3392.25 minutes (about 56.5 hours of training), 602.75 miles traveled
Not too shabby for spending the first week of the month absolutely miserably sick.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Missed workout

I think today's the first day I missed a scheduled workout that I'm not sure I can make up. Okay maybe not. I did have that entire first week of August where I was really sick, but I was so sick then I couldn't even worry about missing those workouts. Work is really busy for the next two weeks. Today I couldn't squeeze my swim in because I was at work so long that I had to get home for the doggie. I was looking forward to the swim which included a timed 1 miler, since I haven't swam for time in awhile. But of course I was also dreading getting in the water for that initial 300-400 before I warmup! I may be able to do it on Thursday. Only time will tell! I'll be glad once these two weeks are done at work. Then I've got mostly four day work weeks until I go to Florida!