Saturday, August 30, 2008

Training in full force

Training week of Aug 25:

Monday – a.m. - 1 hour swim
Tuesday – a.m. - 1 hour bike (est. 16 miles)
Wednesday – a.m. - 1 hour swim; Lunch - 50 min run(est. 5.5 miles)
Thursday – a.m. - 45 min run (5 miles); Lunch - Brick (25 min bike / 10 min run)
Friday – Lunch - 1 hour run
Saturday – a.m. - 2:40 bike (42.5 miles) followed by a 30 min run (3.1 miles)
Sunday – Rest Day / 4 mile walk

Total workout time: 8 hours, 45 minutes (not including rest day)

Total distances: Run: 21.1 miles Bike: 66.5 miles

Favorite workout this week -- Hmmm ... can't say I had a favorite this week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Let's Go Racing!

Saturday I competed in the Clear Lake International Triathlon (not sure why it was called "International"). My goal for this race was to do a practice run for the Longhorn in 6 weeks - meaning a fast, steady, maintainable pace.

I was sure to properly hydrate and to not push too hard on the bike as to save my legs for the run (thought process here is that gaining 5 minutes on the bike will be erased if you kill your legs because your run time will be so much slower).


- 2:22:09 time
- 8th in age group (AG) of 17 competing
- 1000 meter swim time - 29:37(14th of 17)
- T1 (transition time between swim and bike) - 2:12 (11th of 17)
- 18 miles bike time - 53:43(7th of 17 at an 18.3 mph pace)
- T2 (transition time between bike and run) - 1:13 (5th of 17)
- 6.2 mile run time - 55:22 (5th of 17 at a 8:56 pace)
- 180/273 overall

Lessons learned:

Overall, I am happy with my performance. I know that I could have pushed harder on the bike and definitely on the run, but I felt very strong at the finish and had a lot of energy left. The top 3 in my age group finished between 2:04 and 2:15 and places 4 - 8 were separated by less than 2 minutes. It is clear that transition time can play a factor. It is also pretty clear that if I want to be competitive I need to get faster in the water!

The lake swim went well, but it was much more difficult than my pool swims. First, even though my age group started last and I stayed at the very back of the pack at the start knowing that I would be slow, I kept running into other swimmers / other swimmers kept running into me. The water was pretty warm and yucky - not ideal swimming conditions. Finally, sighting was pretty tough. Sighting is what you do as you swim to make sure you are following the right path (along the buoys). I felt like I was zig zagging quite a bit which made the swim longer. Sighting better in the water would have saved me a couple of precious minutes.

The swim was my least favorite part, but it was manageable and I didn't feel exhausted when I got out of the water! 6 more weeks of training in the pool and I should be able to fake my way through the 1.2 mile Longhorn swim.

Travel, Taper, Race weeks

Uploading the photos and blogging about vacation has been keeping me busy so I am long overdue for a training and race update. First and foremost, training and traveling, whether for work or vacation, is tough work. You are at the mercy of the equipment available wherever you are (bikes, pools) and of course, the weather!

The week of August 4 I traveled the Chicago the evening before Houston was supposed to be hit by a tropical storm and the same evening that Chicago WAS hit with major storms. I got diverted to Indy and ended up spending the night there before catching an early morning flight to Chicago (which was also delayed) so I ended up losing a day of workouts. I missed 2 workouts on vacation too, one was a swim that I skipped because of jelly fish and the other was my long bike ride. Missing the swim was probably worse because after nearly 24 hours on my feet (with Tyler on my back) at Disney, I got some endurance work in!

Running on the beach in Destin was a neat experience. I love the beauty of the beach and the people watching is awesome. Unfortunately, my feet were not as impressed with the surroundings and I got the blisters to prove it. Thankfully, I am no worse for the wear and I still got the benefits of the beach workout (see Runner's World article at the bottom of the post on beach workouts). I googled beach runs on our drive home from Destin because I surprised at how difficult the run was and it turns out that I was not imagining it. Beach runs are tough work outs. No wonder why people who live by the beach have such great bodies!

Since this last week was a race week, my training schedule was reduced to get me ready for the race. I am still waiting for the official results to be posted so I will blog about the race itself and the results in a separate post.

Also, as a side note, my swim coach has been on vacation for 2 weeks, so I have been following the workouts she left for me ... when I have been able to make it to the pool! I am glad that she will be back this week!

Also, after the last 2 lower volume weeks (taper and race prep weeks) this coming week will be beginning the peak training in preparation for Longhorn in 6 weeks!

Training week of Aug 18

Monday – a.m. - 45 min run (5 miles)
Tuesday – a.m. - 1 hour pool swim; Lunch - Brick Workout: 45/15 bike/run (est. 15 / 1.75 miles)
Wednesday – a.m. - 60 min spin (est. 18 miles)
Thursday – a.m. - missed pool swim because of weather Lunch - 45 min run (5 miles)
Friday – Easy Brick to prep for race (15 min bike / 15 min run)
Saturday – RACE (1000 meter swim (.6 miles) / 18 mile bike / 6.2 mile run)
Sunday – Rest Day / 4 mile walk

Total workout time: 7 hours, 30 minutes (not including rest day)

Total distances: Run: 17.9 miles Bike: 37.5 miles

Favorite workout this week -- RACE Day ... minus the swim :)

Training Week of Aug 11 (vacation and taper* week):

Monday – a.m. - 35 min pool swim
Tuesday – a.m. - 60 mins bike followed by 12 long hours walking at Disney
Wednesday – Off (no time to workout after a late night and early morning)
Thursday – a.m.- Brick (45 bike / 15 run)
Friday – a.m. - 45 min beach run
Saturday – Off - Driving home from vacation
Sunday – a.m. - 1.5 hour run (10+ miles) -- this felt easy after the beach runs!

Total workout time: 4 hours, 45 minutes (not including 24 hours (literally!) at Disney)

* Taper week means that I purposely cut back on training after the previous weeks of tough training to give my body a break

Total distances: Run: 16 miles Bike: 30 miles (both estimates)

Favorite workout this week -- Sunday long run because it felt great after a low volume workout week

Training Week of Aug 4

Monday – a.m. - Masters Swim Class: 1:15 hours lunch - 50 mins running (6.0 miles)
Tuesday – Lost Day to Travel Snafu
Wednesday – a.m. - 60 min spin (overlooking Lake Michigan at Sunrise on the gym balcony)
Thursday – a.m. 45 min run; Lunch - Brick (45 bike / 15 run)
Friday – 2:15 bike (38 miles) followed by 1:00 run (6.6 miles)
Saturday – OFF - Drive to Destin
Sunday – 45 min run on the beach

Total workout time: 8 hours, 50 minutes

Total distances: Run: 23.25 miles Bike: 69 miles

Favorite workout this week -- Despite the blisters, the beach run was a great change of pace

Link to Runner's World Article:,7120,s6-238-263-266-8164-0,00.html

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Isn't it ironic?...

I started training to lose weight and tone up. Working out was all about burning calories. I didn't drink things like Gatorade because I didn't want to take in calories I had worked so hard to burn. What's ironic, is that now I am having to spend quite a bit of money to buy products that I can use while I train to take IN calories so that I can work out longer.

I know it is important, it just goes against every fiber of my being ...

Eating Humble Pie

My confidence on the run and bike has been pretty high as I have been going longer and faster on a consistent basis. On my runs, I have been gradually adding speed work to my workouts (which seems to be working), but I haven’t had workouts where I am exhausted in the middle of my workout – until Wednesday.

Wednesday's training called for a swim workout in the morning and a run at lunch. My plan was to run for about an hour and the training guide instructed me to pick up the pace at 10 minutes into my run from a comfortable Z2 heart rate (slower, aerobic, fat-burning, comfortable pace) to a more challenging Z4 (faster, anaerobic, harder to maintain pace) for 6 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of jogging and then another 6 minutes of Z4, 2 minutes of jogging and then finishing the remainder of the workout at a Z2 level.

I have done things like this before, usually towards the end of my workout (opposed to the beginning) and I have had relative success in executing that strategy (like on Monday when I did a 7 minute Z4 segment at the end of the run).

So, the first part of my Wednesday run went really well -- the actual Z4 running was challenging but manageable but when I finished I still had half of my run ahead of me and I was spent! Every step sucked. I wasn't in pain, just tired and my legs felt heavy. All said and done, my average pace was actually pretty good overall (8:46 per mile) and I learned a valuable lesson from this workout. One thing is that hydration and nutrition are very important -- I didn't have enough to eat before my run and I think that my work out really suffered because of it. Also, you learn more from a tough workout than from the easier ones.

One thing I have been reading a lot about is that each workout is supposed to have a purpose and the purpose determines the intensity and duration of the workout. Speed work makes you faster. Long runs / rides work on endurance. So, long runs and rides are supposed to be done at a slower pace. I say this because I am not good at following the prescribed guidelines and my long runs are normally faster than they should be, so this week I tried hard to do the prescribed speed work and to go slower on my long run.

This week and next week are higher intensity weeks (even higher than the plan I am following) so that I can have a bit of a taper week when we go on vacation the following week.

Training this week:

Monday – a.m. - Masters Swim Class: 1.5 hours lunch - 53 mins running (6.1 miles)
Tuesday – Brick Workout: 40 mins biking (est. 12 miles), 21 mins running (2.5 miles)
Wednesday – a.m. - Masters Swim Class: 1.5 hours lunch - 53 mins running (6.1 miles)
Thursday – 60 min spin (est. 18 miles)
Friday – 1:16 min run (8.25 miles)
Saturday – 41.5 mile bike ride (2.5 hours) followed by a 45 min run (4.75 miles)
Sunday – Will be a rest day / plan on a 4 mile walk

Total workout time: 11 hours, 15 minutes (not including rest day)

Total distances: Run: 27.7 miles Bike: 71.5 miles

Favorite workout this week -- Definitely NOT Wednesday for reasons explained above. Probably Saturday because I had a great ride (with friends) and I was proud of myself for doing the run alone on the hills after the ride.