Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More running to work

I did the run (halfway) to work again today. The temperature sure dropped over the last week. Last Tuesday I was fine in a sleeveless jersey and shorts. Today I needed two layers and capri pants to run and I was still a bit chilled, probably due to the wind. My run to work (the 2.5 mile scenic route) took 27:15 and the 2.3 mile route back was 28:15. I think my heart-rate monitor had a meltdown on way to work. It says my max HR was 224. hah! My HR often seems to spike right at the beginning - I probably don't warm up long enough. The 224 was definitely a fluke though. Probably why it thinks I burned so many calories. Maybe I didn't earn that extra rice cake with honey on it afterall...

I hit the gym after running back to my car after work. Just a quick weight lifting session - 20-25 minutes. I did some stretching afterwards and saw a woman doing some interesting ab exercises. She was happy to show me them and give me some tips to figure out a good ab routine. I neglect my core way too much so am excited about structuring some ab workouts into my schedule. The abs really help keep everything else in its proper place when running, biking, and swimming, so a strong core can help prevent injury.

A little more on the Wildflower ride - we didn't see any wildflowers other than the ones that were strategically placed in vases (old bike water bottles) at the rest stops and finish. Also, I achieved my maximum bike speed so far in my cycling history: 40.1 mph. It wasn't even scary because it was a fairly straight road. The problem is when you're riding so fast, the wind is pretty loud and I tend to think there's a car behind me which can spook me.

Going backwards even more, the split times from the sprint tri last week still aren't posted. I hate waiting for official results! I'm anxious to see how I did in each sport compared to others in my age group. The official photos are posted though (with watermarks so large it's hard to identify the athlete). Here I am walking to T2 - it's a funny picture because I have my prescription goggles plastered to my face so I can see the little rocks that I'm stepping on. And a running photo and an awards photo too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I *heart* long weekends

I'm so glad I took today off from work. I definitely needed a recovery day. Having the vacation day let me spend Sunday night in Chico, spend more time with Dave and Sierra, and not have to drive back to Sac after the long bike ride. I still managed to fill the day with chores and did not get a well-deserved nap. Also didn't get to swim or hit the gym for weights - I'd wishfully thought I might have the time. Cleaning up around home and getting some grocery shopping and cooking done for the week is always handy though. Makes it easier to get through the week in so many ways.

I have this Friday and then Monday off from work too. Initially I'd requested them because I had plans to do either a half iron distance triathlon in Napa on Saturday or going to the Wildflower triathlon fest for the whole weekend. Rose is going to Wildflower, and I was really tempted to join her because the fest is legendary! But my legs are not in shape to run 13.1 miles right now and I don't want to travel that far for the olympic distance race when it would mean 2 weeks without seeing my husband or puppy! I'm also tempted to do the Napa race because they give Athena awards 3 deep and per previous year race results, they never have more than 3 Athena racers! But that's not a good enough reason to risk injury. I'm still nursing my IT band and trying to increase my running distance the proper way - no more than 10% increase of mileage total each week. Last week I ran just over 14. I'd really have liked my weekly total to be more than that right now but I still have enough time to get my mileage up to where it needs to be by October. Better safe than sorry.

The real point of this post is that having today off to just get things done and quasi-rest, instead of having to rush back to work Monday morning really helped me realize that I should try to do this more often. Just a few days ago I was thinking I should not take the four-day weekend next weekend since I'm not doing either of the long distance triathlons. But today, I'm ready for the four-day weekend! I think my body needs more regular R&R than a week off from work here and there throughout the year can really offer. Long weekends are going to be how I use vacation time this year.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wildflower weekend

I'm in Chico for the weekend. Pretty tired and about to veg out with Dave so this is just a quick post. Yesterday I ran 9.17 miles at Bidwell Park (the park where the forest in Robin Hood (the original) movie was filmed). It was a nice shaded park to run in. My knees hurt after 6 or 7 miles though.

Today Lauren and I did the Chico Wildflower 100k bike ride. It was a great day for a ride. Tons of cyclists for this event. I think I read 4,000. We actually rode 72 miles since we rode to/from the ride start. I did a 15 minute run right after it so it was my bike-emphasis brick workout. Run felt pretty good, but we did have quite a few stops along the way so it wasn't a constant 72 mile ride. Lauren had mechanical issues, and when there's so much great food at the rest stops, how can you not stop and eat for awhile? The ride was basically flat with one big hill to climb up to Paradise. The weather was pretty much perfect and I finally dressed appropriately instead of dressing as though I'm about to go on a bike ride on Antarctica. Time to veg!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The blustery allergy-filled day

Because of the wind/pollen issue and the allergy attack I had yesterday after just 10 min in the wind on my bike, I decided to drive to work today once I discovered the wind had been blowing all night and was forecast to continue all day. But first, I spun on the bike trainer at home for 50 minutes. (I didn't have enough time to go to the gym and run there, even though today is a run day.) Great workout. Dripping with sweat. A lot. Usually I only get up to the sweaty level, not the buckets level. I just don't push myself enough on the trainer. But today was great. I wanted to keep going but had to get to work. Work sure gets in the way of life sometimes. Might need to start waking up earlier....

The rest of today's plan is to go to the gym after work where I'll do my run and lift weights for the first time in awhile. Some coworkers going out for drinks after work though and I kind of wanted to fit that into the day too. I almost never go to those social events. I feel like I should and I want to hang out with the people, but don't really want to consume unnecessary alcoholic calories, especially when it will take time from the workout. Training vs. social life. The neverending battle.

I also need to pack tonight for the weekend. Heading to Chico for the weekend for my third 100k bike ride of the month - Wildflower. Saturday I'll run 9-10 miles and Sunday is the ride. I'm so glad I am taking Monday off work. I think I'll need it to get the every day stuff done for the week. My local bike shop is having a big sale through Sunday. I was hoping to decide on a new bike by now but I'm not sure it's going to happen by Sunday. Maybe I can convince them to extend the sale until Monday for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Long day + flim explained

Long day today with very little exercise. Too tired to even explain the circumstances (summary for the only person who is curious, mom: not much sleep because of kevin showing up at odd hours of the night, late to work, stayed late at work, only biked about 2 miles to/from where i ended up parking). The morning would've been perfect for biking. Just didn't work out for me. My afternoon bike ride to my car left me with itchy eyes and a non-stop sneeze. Tomorrow has wind forecast so I'm not thrilled about my plan to do a partial run to/from work. Will reassess in the morning and bike from the park if it's still supposed to be super windy. Since it's usually not windy til the afternoon, I may be able to get a longer ride done in the morning, leaving only a 15 minute ride in the afternoon. Fell for the old terrible habit of snacking when tired. Food is great energy but sometimes sleep is the only answer!

I'm still toying with doing the Napa Vintage 1/2 iron triathlon on May 2. I'm going to decide after my 10 mile run on Saturday. Rose (my IM training buddy) is running 20, and then she's joining me for the 100k bike ride on Sunday in Chico! And she thinks I'm hard core for running 2 miles to work on Tuesday. hah. It's so nice to have someone with whom to share all this training.

Before I forget, I wanted to explain my blog URL name. flim09. The 09 should be obvious. Ironman races are typically known as Ironman X, where X is the location (Ironman Arizona, Ironman Florida, Ironman Germany, etc). IMFL is the serious acronym. Friend Lauren called it FLIM once and it just sounded so funny. I use it for the light-hearted times. All this is just for fun anyways, so might as well get some laughs along the way. It reminds me of this guy I met when living in the VI. Flip (short for Philip) lived in Puerto Rico and somehow we became email buddies while both training for the St Croix half iron tri. St Croix was my first 1/2 iron race (and only, so far). I was a little nervous about it. The swim starts on a little cay just off the shore, so the athletes all have to swim to the race start. As I was swimming up to the cay, I saw Flip. He had brought an underwater camera and was taking pictures of everyone. He told me he planned to take pictures of the rescue scuba divers during the race. It just seemed really funny to me at the time and it totally changed my attitude for the whole day. I stopped worrying and just decided to have fun. I even stopped swimming to wave at the rescue divers during the race and one of them took a picture of me. Fun times. (Poor Flip, The Beast killed his chain and he DNFed.) (Watching these videos of people climbing a portion of The Beast made me nostalgic. Kinda wish I could hop on down there for the race next weekend! Getting to the top of that hill is one of the best feelings in the world.) So flim09 is the fun name I've got for IMFL '09.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

200 days to go!

This morning marked the crossover from having more than 200 days to prepare for Ironman Florida to having less than 200 days. 199 days seems a lot less than 200 days...

I was really proud of myself for today's workouts. First, on Sunday night I decided I'd run part of my commute on Tuesday. I planned ahead and on Monday I brought everything I'd need on Tuesday so that I wouldn't have to carry everything. When I got to work Monday I saw my reminder that I had to be at work an hour early on Tuesday. yikes. But I stuck to my plan and this morning I incorporated running into my commute for the first time. So that made me proud of myself because the me a few weeks ago would've blown it off.

The weather this morning was perfect for running. 59 degrees made my STC sleeveless jersey and running shorts the perfect outfit. I donned my Camelbak stuffed with my wallet, cell phone, inhaler, and keys, drove my car to the park, hopped out and started running. I learned that the on the bridge I cross, the pedestrian part is super slippery. I walked that portion. I saw a few other runners and wondered if any of them were commuting, or if they were just out exercising. I felt so efficient by eliminating a portion of my drive and saving money on parking downtown. The countdowns on the crosswalk urged me to run faster to make the lights, or to just slow down so I wouldn't have to stop entirely. There's only a half mile stretch with lights, the rest is along the bike path or through Old Sac, but when I ride my bike I feel like I have to stop at every single one some days. I didn't have to stop for very many stop lights while running though. I arrived at my office building ready for a cool shower and feeling good about my day so far. (2.5 miles, 27 minutes, not counting the cooldown walking at the end.)

The temperature was much hotter on my return run. 93! It didn't seem too bad to me. Must be that Phoenician blood. I learned it's hard to fill a Camelbak from a drinking fountain (but also that I'm fine without refilling). The traffic lights stopped me a lot more on the way back. I took a shorter route back to the car, eliminating a few extra blocks that I'd done in the morning. (2.2 miles in 25 min.)

Then comes the second best part of my day (the first part being feeling so awesome after running in the morning) which made me more proud of myself. Once at my car, I went to the gym (very nearby) and went swimming. Woohoo. That alone would've been great. I've been so reluctant to swim because it's been cold or dark or rainy, etc. Today was perfect swimming weather and I was hot from the run. The best part about this was the Masters swim group was swimming so I actually decided to join them for the rest of their workout. Thank goodness I got there late. I'm not sure my arms would've held up for a full hour. 30 minutes of swimming felt good though. Minus the toe cramps. I thought about quitting when the toe cramps set in, so I could put them in the hot tub to relax them. But then I thought about how I got foot cramps during the long swims in the VI and pushed through those and how I might get cramps during the Ironman so I better just learn to deal with them. So I kept swimming.

The coach gave me some good tips I need to remember. I need to look down, not ahead. Pool swimming is different from open water but I could probably still look down more. And when I breathe I need to look back - lips towards the shoulder. I'm still trying to incorporate tips I got from the tri class swim clinic too. Apparently I was very gently placing my right hand in the water. I've been working on pushing it through the surface more. The masters coach told me I had a good even stroke. Maybe it's true, maybe it was just the "say something nice before critique". I can definitely tell that my stroke is improving. Very weird to change my stroke after so many years. Also working on body rotation. belly button rotates from one side to the next.

Tomorrow I'd planned to bike to work and do weights at the gym on the way home. But my little brother is driving through Sac tonight so since I'll be getting up at 1 or 2am to let him in, my plans have changed. (that's what siblings are for though, right?) I'll still stop by the gym on the way home though. Maybe swim again though I'll miss the masters workout if I do weights first... I'll figure something out! Thursday I'm doing the partial run again, which means I need to go make Thursday's lunch right now!

P.S. The race director from Sunday's race informed me they had my time listed wrong because they thought I started with my age group, so looks like I really did get second place. Even cooler because (assuming everyone elses times are correct), I placed 7 out of 24 among women in my age group. I never would've dreamed that I could even be in the top half in my age group but I almost snuck into the top 25%. sweet! speed workouts really do help.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ice Breaker Sprint Triathlon

Sunday was the Ice Breaker Sprint Triathlon at Granite Beach. (This was also the "graduation" race for my spring triathlon class, so I'm back to being on my own for training.) About 400 people raced the sprint triathlon. Maybe 20-30 were from the class. It was a great day for a triathlon.

We swam 1/2 mile in Folsom Lake at Granite Beach, then biked 13 mile on the roads within the state park, then ran 4 miles on the dirt trails within the park. Boring details to follow so I can remember them for my next race: I woke up 6 and had my usual breakfast of coffee and cream of rice with a banana. Got to the race venue at about 7:40. Got my stuff setup, stood in the long bathroom line, had a banana and two Gu chomps with caffeine. Did very little warmup (i.e. ran to the bathroom line, ran back; then biked in small circles for 3 or 4 minutes and got in the right gear), set my stuff back up (rolled socks, etc, for quick transition). (I totally forgot to see how other people in the tri club set their transition areas up. I'd planned to steal ideas from them.) Had a Hammer gel just before heading down to the water to get used to the cold, around 8:50 or so.



The Athena division started last so I had plenty of time to acclimate to the cold water before I had to actually swim. We started after 9:30. I was probably in the water for 30 minutes before my race started. The water was probably about 55 degrees. I was happy to have my wetsuit. Here's a picture of my wave swimming (women age 35+ and Athena), taken by a kayaker.



The swim was fine. My right goggle got knocked a little out of place at the beginning but I pushed it back on to prevent any further leakage and it was fine. A lot of people fear drowning in a mass swim start. I fear having my shoulders kicked and dislocated (since they've both popped out in the past), but other than that I don't worry. I used some advice from one of the tri class coaches during the swim: when someone is right next to you for awhile and you can't shake them, during one of your regular strokes, place your elbow firmly in his or her chest and push off. It helped me surge ahead of her easily. (In theory it doesn't hurt anyone...) Once again I wasn't able to draft off of anyone. For a moment I thought I found someone to draft off, but then she veered off course. I prefer to swim the shortest race possible. I finished the swim in 15:49.6.

I felt a little dizzy after the swim. That happened to me during my first tri (in 1998!) too, but not since. I had to walk to my bike instead of run and then I had to take it easy for a few moments to make sure I was okay to ride. I struggled to get my wetsuit off of my ankles. 5 minutes later I was on the bike. (Apparently 5 minutes was not long enough for me to be organized, as I left my goggles and swim cap in the transition area of my IMFL training buddy, Rose. oops!)

Bike course was nice. Some short hills but nothing serious. I wanted to pass some guys because they started 2 waves ahead of me. I passed one guy shortly after I got on the bike and that was a great confidence booster. When two guys passed me though I wondered if they were really so slow that I'd passed them in the swim, then I remembered it's a two loop course and they were on their second loop. I enjoyed the bike course, making me wonder once again if a flat Ironman course is really the best for me. I will miss going downhill on November 7. But 112 miles of hills is different than 13 miles of hills. In previous years, the bike has been my limiter. I've never been a good cyclist and the bike has just been super hard. Last year my bike commuting really helped improve my cycling. In the tri I did last August, I felt like I was flying on my bike. I passed lots of people, which I'd never done on the bike course before. But by the time I got to the run, my legs were shot. So I knew I needed to try to restrain myself and save something for the run. During the bike yesterday I couldn't tell if I was doing a good job pacing or not. I had my bike computer show me RPMs instead of MPH to hopefully keep me from trying to keep up my MPH. I focused on keeping my RPMs at about 90. I told myself to take it easy at times but could not resist passing people going uphill, and then going downhill you might as well pedal fast to take advantage of it, so.. I had no idea how the run was going to go. The first 6.5 miles took me 23:26.5 and the second 6.5 were 23:41.2. Pretty close splits, and it doesn't bother me that I was slower during the second half, because I deliberately tried to slow down a bit to make sure my legs didn't get too tight, and I stood up to stretch a few times just before the end.

My second transition went so quickly that I took an extra few seconds to see what I forgot. In August I had 2 minute transitions, but my T2 yesteday was just 1:17.

The run went surprisingly well for me. I meant to try to pay attention to my heart rate and run based on that, but I ended up just pacing by perceived exertion. My plan had been to take it east the first mile, then build from there. I forgot about that too. I ran comfortably hard from the beginning. I was glad that Dave and I had run on the trails here last week because last week was the first time I ever ran on trails. I knew to watch out for poison ivy and when to be careful about my steps. It was mostly a single track dirt path we ran on. Some parts had eroded in the middle due to rain this winter, which left somewhat dangerous descents. I saw Rose during the run and told her I thought this might be the first tri where I could actually run the whole run. Only a few minutes later I found myself walking up a steep, but short, hill. I probably walked fewer than 3 or 4 minutes throughout the run course, including two downhills that looked easy to fall down, and one long uphill that just seemed faster to walk up. (I had planned to walk up that one anyways. A part of my pre-race plan that was easy to follow.) I passed a few more guys on the run which made me smile. Smiling is good - positive energy during the race. I was pleasantly surprised that there were mile markers on the trail. (The tri class coach, who organized the race, said there wouldn't be.) During the last mile I passed and then was repassed by a woman with "30" written on her right calf. Our ages were written in permanent marker there, and our race numbers on our arms and thighs. I decided to try to pass her before the end of the race, because I'd previously decided that even though I was in the Athena division, I was racing against people in my age group too (30-34). I passed her without too much effort, which surprised me, and then I spotted another younger woman ahead and managed to pass her, too. I gave it all I had for the home stretch and was happy to see myself finish in about 1 hour 51 minutes. My optimistic goal time (the one I didn't tell anyone in case I didn't make it) had been 2 hours. Most importantly, I felt good during the run. (Run splits: 10:23.9, 10:20, 11:44.3, 9:31.9 - the steep hill was in the third mile, but I kind of wonder if the last mile marker was misplaced.) I was definitely looking forward to the finish in the last mile or two, but I wasn't kicking myself the whole time asking why I'd signed up, or telling myself that the Ironman will be impossible. I felt good and after 15 minutes to recover from the race, I was ready to run some more. I felt slightly guilty for not doing a long run this weekend so I was tempted, but I thought better of it.

I managed to place in the Athena division too! They gave me the 2nd place award. Although now that the results are posted online, I have to wonder if it was a mistake. I'm listed as the 4th Athena finisher, but they have my time wrong too. So something is wrong. Hopefully it's just my time. It would be sad to have to give up my plaque from my first triathlon podium finish! [Update: Race director said my time was listed wrong, so I'm in the clear as the real 2nd place winner!] (Me on the left, representing STC, the Sac Tri Club.)


All in all, this was a great start to the triathlon season! The weather is warm and I'm finally ready to start swimming again!

Just over 200 days til Ironman Florida!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lunch run

Just got back from a quick lunchtime run with a coworker. We ran 2 loops around the capitol park (1 mile per loop). It's true what they say - exercise mid-day can really boost your energy level. I haven't had much exercise this week. I should have just skipped Tuesday's group run. It was so windy that by the end of my warmup mile, my eyes were itching like crazy, I couldn't stop sneezing, and it was kind of hard to breathe. So I got the instructions for the "tune up" (pre-race) run and headed home. Today's run was the rune-up run, kind of. We did a 1/2 mile warmup and then 1 mile at race pace and then a 1/2 mile cooldown. I can't remember the coach's instructions for the tune-up run other than 1/2 mile warmup and 1/2 mile race pace, followed by 1 mile but not sure of pace for that 1 mile. race pace? cooldown? so I did a combo.
 
Wednesday it was supposed to be windy in the afternoon again, so in lieu of riding my bike to work, I took Sierra to the dog park and ran around with her before work. We did it again on Thursday morning. 20 minutes of running laps at the dog park isn't quite the same as two 30 minute bike rides though. I decided I really needed to get my allergy shots this morning. It takes over an hour to ride my bike to the doctor's office for my shots, so I didn't feel like doing that this morning since it would've meant getting up at 5am to deal with the dog first. I'm just full of excuses! I'm getting my stuff together though and I did do a run at lunch so that's something. Tomorrow I'll hop on my bike for a little while before we go to Davis for Picnic Day. Then Sunday is the sprint tri. I should probably practice getting in and out of my wetsuit tonight or tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dragging today

I'm really dragging today. Tired and hungry, tired and hungry. It's so windy out that I decided I didn't want to bike at all, so I drove to work. I still got up early though and took Sierra to the dog park in the morning. Hopefully she is as tired as I am today. (We did get 9 hours of sleep last night though.) I'm heading to my last tri class workout in a few minutes. A group run at the park. We'll do a tune-up run, in prep for Sunday's sprint tri. My knee/IT band is hurting a smidgeon so I will be sure and ice it tonight when I'm done. Looking forward to the end of the tri class. I've met some great people, but I think I'm too independant to have 3 workouts per week dictated by someone else, especially when the coach has been aiming to please a range of beginners to the Ironman-in-training athletes. Hopefully the wind dies down soon. My allergies are not thrilled with the pollen in the air!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bike emphasis brick

Sunday I did a brick workout with a bike emphasis. It's a term I picked up from Joel Friel's Triathlete's Training Bible. Basically his theory is that doing a long bike ride following by a long run makes an athlete more prone to injury. So instead, do a long bike followed by a brief run, or do a short bike followed by a long run. I did both of these workouts this weekend, and was accompanied by other people during most of them.
 
I'm a member of the Sac Tri Club. The members are really great - nice, friendly, always willing to offer advice (or brandy before the start of an ice breaker swim...:)). One perk of membership is being a part of their very active email listserv. People often post workouts they're going to do to see if anyone else wants to join them. I mentioned that I would be biking the entire river trail Sunday morning, and I had 3 guys join me along various parts of the route. The guys were all definitely in better cycling shape than me. They pushed the pace for me, but for the most part didn't let me get too far behind (other than a short stretch of hills - I'm slower going up and I brake going down - wimpy kendra). It was a 62 mile ride for me. My average pace was only 15.7, which only served to remind me that cycling is once again my weakest link. I guess that's okay because it means I've improved my running significantly this past year. I told Dave in 2007 that I'd become a faster runner in 2008 and do my ironman in 2009. The plan is working so far. Hopefully my legs felt tired from the run on Saturday, and not just due to the pace. It was a great workout to try to keep up with those guys though. If I'd been riding on my own I know I would not have been pushing 19mph after mile 50, which is what we were doing for awhile. I ran for 15 minutes after I finished the ride. My lower back started hurting almost immediately, as it often does during a brick workout when I really push the bike. Probably need to work on my core strength and do more bricks to fix that.
 
Sunday's sprint tri will give me a better idea of my strengths/weaknesses because I'll be able to compare my splits (swim, bike, and run times) against other people in my division/age group. I registered for the (somewhat controversial) Athena division. Women over 150 lbs are eligible. (The Clydesdale is the men's equivalent and they have to be over 200lbs.)  150 is the lowest weight I've seen for Athena, it's often 160. At least two people told me I shouldn't do the Athena because it's not fair since I'm not heavy in their eyes. I figured the line is drawn somewhere, and there is no way I could possibly do well in my age group division (30-34 is usually the most competitive). I thought about it and decided I'd be most motivated by entering the Athena division because there's a slight chance I could actually podium. This race gives awards 5 deep. In the sprint tri I did in August, I also entered Athena division and I got 6th place. So I figured it's worth a shot mostly because during the race, I know there will be a time that I want to slow down or even quit, and I think if I can just focus on trying to get 5th place then maybe I'll keep going and push myself harder. Pushing myself harder is the only way to get faster. Getting faster makes for a better ironman. Even though I'm in the Athena division, once results are posted, I will be figuring out where I stand among women in my age group since that will give me a better idea of my strengths and weaknesses. I wonder how slow my transition out of the wetsuit will be!
 
I would've loved to make today a rest day, but had to ride my bike due to an interview/photo op for an office newsletter. My legs are tired, but the photographer will be riding with me for the first 3 miles, and then it's just over 4 miles home from there. By the time I convince myself I should never ride my bike to work again, I'm home and I've forgotten how much I dread the afternoon commute.
 
This week's plan: (one day might/should become a rest day)
Monday: Bike to/from work
Tuesday: PM group run (plus as little bike commuting as possible to get to work)
Wednesday: bike to/from work plus run a mile at the end of one ride.
Thursday: might run to/from work (from the park, so about 3 miles each way)
Friday: bike to/from work, but hopefully get a 2 hour ride in on either end
Saturday: rest or do a 1-2 hour ride
 
oh yeah and maybe swim in the wetsuit sometime too....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ice Breaker Swim+

The swim this morning was very cold. I heard it was 53 degrees. Brrrr. It took me about 10 minutes to get comfortable. (i.e. able to swim and breathe normally) That was before the swim started. During that time someone asked me if I was okay b/c I was so short of breath trying to force my face in the water. After 6 or 7 min I was able to swim and felt okay after 10. My face, hands, and feet were numb though. It should be warmer next weekend since it's supposed to be warm and sunny this week. I was very glad I bought a neoprene swim cap that covered my ears with a strap that went under my chin.

The 1/2 mile course took me 15:27. (Not bad for it being my 5th (or 6th?) swim of 2009.) Especially considering I had to stop twice to reassure myself that even though I could feel the wetsuit on my neck I was not in fact being choked to death. Since it was so strange being in a wetsuit I didn't bother trying to swim fast. It was the first time I ever had to just focus on finishing. I tried to focus on my stroke and saved most of the panic for after I finished. (There may have been tears involved as I asked Dave (conveniently located at the finish) to help me breathe by unzipping me.) It was psychological though - it was fine physically. The suit fit me well. I even decided to rent it for the week. (If I'd switched to rent another suit I wouldn't have been able to get it today.) I am also thinking I may want to buy a sleeveless wetsuit instead of full, since sleeveless will be fine for FL and there aren't that many cold swims here. Although when we move farther south, ocean swims may be happier with a full wetsuit.

My feet were still numb when I rode the bike course 45 minutes after I exited the water. The bike course is a 6.5 mile loop that we'll do twice next week. I was just cruising and took 28 min to ride it. When I had about 1.5 miles left, I went over a few bumps and soon it was hard to pedal. I thought I had a flat but the tire looked fine. Then I decided I must have just gotten really, really tired all of a sudden. When I finished the ride, I realized my bike brakes had started to rub against the tire. Felt much better knowing that.

Dave and I then went for my "long" run - my main exercise for the day. (The swim and bike were just practices.) My toes were burning as we started, since they were just starting to warm up. We enjoyed the many trails in the park. Lots of single track mountain bike trails but also horse trails. It turned into a beautiful day and the lake was very pretty. We ran for 80 minutes at a pace that was good for me (sub-11 min?) and not painfully slow for him. It was nice to get my whole Saturday workout in all while spending time with Dave (except for the 20 min or so that I was in the lake). I kind of wish we knew how far we ran, but it was nice to just randomly choose directions whenever we came upon crossings on the trails. We were exploring in a way.

I've got the wetsuit for the week so I will probably do a practice swim or two, maybe even just in the pool here, so that I can get used to the neckline. Maybe I should buy a turtleneck and wear it with a choker-style necklace, too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

pre-race stress

Tomorrow isn't a race, but I've got all the night-before-triathlon stress since my plan is to do the 1/2 mile (freezing cold) swim, then ride the 6.5 mile bike course loop that makes up the triathlon I'm doing the following weekend, then do my long(ish) run. So that means getting all my gear together for all three sports. Where are my goggles? What's the course look like again? Plus doing last minute wetsuit research to figure out which wetsuit I should ask to demo if there are still choices left when I get there. Bringing enough fuel (water, food) to get me through the 6-8 mile run, since I can't eat the pancakes that will be served after the swim. Making sure my clothes will be warm enough... etc. Plus getting to bed early - already too late for that! Time to get back to throwing all my stuff together. At least I don't have to worry about rushing between the 3 sports. It's like a time-delayed triathlon.

I love mornings

Thursday I woke up early so I could do a short run and some weight training at the gym before work. I snoozed a little so I didn't get to do quite as many weights as I'd planned. I prioritized the run since I skipped Tuesday's run. I just did an easy 3 miles (11:20 was probably my avg pace) and then did weights quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors. Of course I stretched afterwards. I love using the foam roller to stretch my IT band after a run. I use it twice a day, but it's especially good after a run. All day Thursday I felt good since I'd already done my workout. Just another reminder that morning workouts work best for me. I could tell I was feeling good on Wednesday after my ride to work when I found myself doing pushups at lunchtime. (My lack of upper body strength is pretty incredible, so I'm doing pushups against the counter and am slowly going to lower and lower objects to push against. Hopefully in a few months I'll be able to do more than 4 pushups on the ground.)

After work yesterday I had to take my road bike to the shop for some quick fixes. My derailler was all messed up after the mechanic at Party Pardee adjusted it for me. It was just slightly off and I thought he would make it better. But he made it worse. (Now I know which bike shop in town to avoid.) And then I hastily tried to fix it myself without consulting my Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, and I made it even worse. Rather than spend another hour or so messing with it, I figured I'd leave it to the experts. This is good though, because they're doing a safety check for me too, which will make me feel better about riding it in my race next weekend. Due to all the logistics involved, I drove to work today. I couldn't figure out a good way to ride my hybrid to work and pick up my road bike after work. And I need my road bike for tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning... I will not be loving the morning. I'm participating in the Ice Breaker Swim. The name isn't entirely accurate, but I think it'll feel that way. Expecting temps in the high 50s. The swim isn't a race (lame huh?) but is part of the tri class I'm in that ends with next weekend's Ice Breaker Sprint Triathlon. (The swim includes a free wetsuit rental. But the tri does not, so on the calendar for the next week is to rent or buy a wetsuit. I'll be needing it for other events this year anyway.) So tomorrow after a miserable 1/2 mile swim, I'm going to ride my bike on the race course to scope it out. Dave's going to ride his bike too - but he is skipping the swim. Can't say that I blame him. I am really tempted to skip it too. (We're both anxiously awaiting the arrival of a tropical bubble that we can live in. Oh what I'd give to be doing my swim along the north shore of St John tomorrow!) Then I will run for awhile (basically as long as I can run before Dave gets tired of waiting for me). Sunday I'm doing a long and flat ride - along the American River Trail - about 60 miles. Due to the IT Band flaring up, I decided to follow the advice in my tri book - do the long run before the long ride instead of the other way around. Reduces running injuries.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Morning brick

The rain started yesterday afternoon just as I was finishing a post-lunch walk with a friend. My hamstring started bothering me in the afternoon, so that plus the rain put me in a gloomy, grumpy mood. I rode my bike straight to the park where I'd left my car all day, and drove straight home (didn't even look at the gym where the treadmill was waiting for me). I was ready for my pjs and some hot soup. I had an evening of "what was I thinking signing up for an Ironman??" which I think everyone has every so often. Then I stayed up too late again - I really need to start getting my 8+ hours of sleep again. It really helps with the motivation to exercise. I knew I just needed a good morning workout and then I'd feel better, so set my alarm for 6am and forced myself to get up. It was a struggle. But I ended up out the door in time to ride my bike to work and then run a mile around the capitol park once I got downtown. There was no rain on my bike commute. The streets were wet, but the air wasn't too cold, even with some wind. The run felt good, though it was a lot slower than it felt. I'm hoping the ominous clouds go away before it's time to ride my bike home. My commute is only 7.5 miles each way on the bike, but in the afternoon it always seems a lot longer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tut-tut, it looks like rain

It looks like Sacramento is in for some rain this week. I'm so bummed, I thought the spring/dry season was here to stay. I know we desperately need the rain if I want to do triathlons in lakes here, otherwise they'll end up being "dry-athlons with no water for the swim, but I'd really like it to only rain directly into the lake so that I can avoid getting wet when I want to bike or run.
 
I don't like bike commuting in the rain because a small part of my commute involves riding on very busy streets without bike lanes. Since the sky is threatening today, I drove my car to Discovery Park and rode my bike from there. If it rains this afternoon, I'll only have a mile to ride on roads and the rest (2-3 miles) will be on off-street bike paths. My gym is right across the street from that park, so I can do my 3-4 mile run on the treadmill. If it doesn't rain, I'll ride my bike in the other direction and go to my tri class run and then still be able to ride my bike to my car before dark. I really hate getting stuck in the rain though so I might wimp out and go with the rainy plan even if it isn't actually raining at 5:30. A run at the gym would give me a good opportunity to get back into weight lifting too.
 
Tomorrow's plan is my normal bike commute, but I'd like to add some extra cycling miles to that if the weather holds up. Ideally I'd love to ride my road bike on the bike path for an hour or so before work, but I don't want to ride my road bike for my commute if it might rain. Too slippery. That's why I got a hybrid.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Party Pardee weekend

My first 100k ride on the year was yesterday. The Party Pardee ride was my friend Lauren's first metric century ride. We're both training for the full Aquabike (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike) that takes place in Napa on August 1. We had a great training ride since Party Pardee has some hills, just like Napa valley. Yesterday's 65 miles of cycling had us climb 4150 feet. I'd never paid much attention to the amount of climbing in a ride before, so wasn't quite sure what we were in for. It wasn't too bad though (I'd love to know the total climbing for the St Croix half ironman I did in 2007).

The morning started so chilly - 44 degrees F - I was actually shivering for a few moments. (If you think I'm being wimpy, keep in mind that my tri class coach suggests dressing for 20 degree cooler weather for cycling, 20 degree warmer for running; so think of it as 24 degrees.) But it warmed up to at least 65. I peeled layers all day it seemed, finally ending up with a long sleeve shirt (with leg warmers in the shirt pockets) tied around my handlebars!

The first 30 miles just had gentle rollers that kept things interesting. The scenary was pretty nice too. Lauren and I started asking ourselves if we'd hit any of the steep climbs yet, because we felt so good. Around mile 40 the steeper and longer hills started; they lasted about 8-10 miles. It was nice to reach the rest stop at mile 50 and know the majority of the climbing was done. Some of the descents were so fast they made my eyes water. There were plenty of long gradual climbs. I think I dislike those the most because you can't always tell by looking at the terrain that it's an incline, but when you see your current MPH you know you're going slow. Even when you know it's uphill, if it doesn't look steep, then I feel like it shouldn't be that hard and I shouldn't slow down much. That's much more mentally discouraging to me than when I see a steep incline. I think this probably stems from the fact that I started cycling when I was living on an island where a steep hill meant 18-20% grade. I can't think of any hills I've come across while cycling in California that I've thought "wow this is really steep." That's not to say all the hills I've climbed have been easy, but they all look doable to me, because they're all easier than The Beast on St. Croix. I'm so glad I did that race if for no other reason than the confidence boost it gives me when I've got hills to climb on the bike.

Stats for the Party Pardee ride:
distance 65.06
riding time 4:32.47
total time 6:04 (including all stops)
max speed 36.4
avg 14.3
max HR 180
avg HR 142

I felt good after the ride. My legs weren't any more sore than they had been all week, though overall I felt ready for a nap. I had to bring all of my own food since I'm on a gluten free diet and couldn't eat the standard pretzels, bread, pastries, etc, that you find at rest stops of organized rides. At the finish lunch I was able to eat the salad (iceburg lettuce with italian dressing), and Lauren gave me a LaraBar she had in her jersey, since I'd left mine with our bikes. I felt like I ate enough during the ride, but next time I need to bring salt since I realized my gluten-free sports snacks did not have enough sodium in them for me. I felt a little light headed at the last rest stop and when we finished the ride - not during the ride though luckily.

This morning I joined the Fleet Feet running group for their Sunday long runs. It's an out-and-back course, so everyone goes their own pace and distance. My friend J was there - she's training for the San Francisco women's marathon in October. (J - let me know if I can use your first name.) J ran the first 4 with me, which was nice of her since I'm a bit slower than her normal pace. She showed me the turnaround so that I could run 8 miles. I'd planned on 7-8 but felt good after 3.5 so went on to 4. After I turned around and ran on my own for another mile though, my knee started hurting pretty badly. Seems like my IT band again. UGH. I incorporated a lot of walking breaks on the way back to the car and am icing for the second time today as I write this.

stats:
distance: 8 miles
time: 1:33.15
max HR 171
avg 154
first 4 miles: 43.5 min
second 4 miles: 50 min

Plan for the week - (needs some more thinking but I thought I'd throw it in here since it's Sunday PM)
Mon: rest - ?
Tues: PM tri class run
Wed: AM/PM ride to/from work
Thur: maybe run to/from work from the park (~3-3.5 miles each way) and/or swim at gym which is right by the park
Fri: ?
Sat: open water swim event (1/2 - 1 mile); run 8
Sun: bike 60 miles

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Plyometrics = Sore

Leading up to an event, I cut back on weights for a week or two (or not at all, if it's entirely just for fun). I've been terrible about getting to the gym to do weights for the last few weeks due to having the puppy the whole time, so I figured this would not be the week to start doing weights, when I'm doing my first 100k bike ride of the year on Saturday. Silly me, I forgot that plyometrics can make me even more sore than lifting weights! (Plyometrics = jumping exercises.) Tuesday's group run workout included form drills and also plyometrics. Specifically the jumping squats are what's causing my current suffering.

Yesterday I biked to work for the first time this year. It was a nice 33 minutes to work and it took me 44 minutes on the way home. The windy afternoon made for a good workout. My legs were pathetically sore though going up the 4 little "hills" (freeway overpass, bridge, etc). I was already worried about the 100k bike ride due to not having missed 2 weekends of long rides and not doing enough hill training, so since I'm this sore from the jumping, I decided to take today and tomorrow as easy days. (i.e. skipping today's 5 mile run) Hopefully I'll recover in time. Today I might hop on my bike on the trainer when I get home for about 30-45 minutes, but first I need to change the pedals again. I decided it was too stupid to change all these things (saddle, shoes, pedals) before my longest ride of the year so far, so I want to change them back. Unfortunately I don't think I can swap the pedals on my own. It's a physical strength thing, not a technical issue. I'm not sure that makes me feel any better though. I hate having to rely on someone else to help me with my bike! Tomorrow will be a rest day if I have time on the trainer tonight, otherwise I'll ride the trainer in the morning very easy for 30-45 minutes and that'll be the end of that.

I should really do plyometrics on a weekly basis. It helps improve speed and strength for running. If I do them more often, maybe I won't get so sore!