Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekly Rewind

Another big week is in the books. This upcoming week will be quite a challenge as I am traveling most of the week, but I have already done my recon and found the local gym for spin classes and a 25 yard pool. Yes, I know, I am OCD.

I do have a confession to make though, these long Saturday workouts are starting to getting old. I started my bike ride in the dark (my hubby added a headlight and tailight) on Saturday and still had to cut my run short to make it to Andrew's first soccer game on time -- and it was at 1:00 p.m.!

All of the time in the saddle is paying off though as I was not even a touch sore from my nearly 6 hour workout. I did ride a bit slower than normal as I was riding with someone who rides a bit slower than me, but I appreciated the company and didn't mind saving my legs.

Double Standard

I have done 2 centuries in training that were not on the schedule, so I just added the time to the bike hours those weeks. This week, I feel guilty for cutting my brick run short to make it to Andrew's soccer game on time. If the schedule is so important, then why can I add to the workouts but not subtract a bit when I need to? I know it is not a big deal because I have been so consistent, but I still feel guilty. The good news is that I haven't lost sight of my priorities ...

Mileage for Week Ending 9/27/09
Swim: 6800 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts / 1 recovery]
Bike: 146 miles in 8:33 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 40 miles in 6:07 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 17:40

Friday, September 25, 2009

Redman Aqua Bike Race Report

Doug and I drove to OKC early Friday morning and arrived around Noon and were able to check into the hotel early and drop off some of our gear. After grabbing a quick bite to eat we went to the race site to pick up my packet and do a short brick. There was a crazy long line at packet pick-up to check IDs and USAT cards, but after about 30 minutes of waiting they figured out they needed several more people helping and the line sped up considerably.

There was not a lot of information about the Aqua Bike race so I had to hunt someone down who could tell me how the finish was going to work (rack bike, exit transition and turn left to run to the finish line, IM and HIM athletes turn right to run the run course). Once I got that straight, Doug and I went to clean up and hunt down my pre-race pizza dinner at Hideaways after a side trip down Route 66. The pizza at Hideaways was perfect and then it was off to bed for me.

Race Morning
We packed up my gear and had breakfast at a hole in the wall place called Beverly’s Pancake House since it was open 24 hours. I had oatmeal while my dutiful Iron Sherpa hubby enjoyed eggs with biscuits and gravy and sausage … I wasn’t at all bitter about having to stick to my pre-race diet! :)

After breakfast we had to hunt down a parking spot at Lake Hefner, which meant getting a little creative, but we ended up with a great spot in the grass on a median. We checked with one of the race officials and he said it was ok to stay there – perfect!

All the while, I was somewhat surprised because I was really not nervous at all about this race. I guess I was successful at convincing myself that it is just a long, well supported training day at race pace. (I sure hope I can convince myself of that in November!)

I also ran into Brittany race morning too – even in the dark, the red hair and Army tri top could not be missed! I was so glad to finally meet another IMFL / Blog World / Beginner Triathlete friend in person!

Next stop, transition. I decided not to utilize the changing tents or special needs bags for this race in an effort to keep things simple. So, I laid out my towel, bike shoes and socks and then put on my wetsuit. Then the skies opened. So much for the weather forecast. It was actually pretty chilly with the rain, so I was happy to have my full sleeved wetsuit on.

It's raining, it's pouring ...

Athletes gathered (and shivered) for the pre-race meeting, while spectators did their best to huddle under tents to stay dry. I never thought that the rain was that heavy, but it was significant enough that one of the roads on the bike course was impassable so they chose to delay the start of the race. The first update from the race director (RD) didn’t sound much better when he said the contingency plan was to do a swim – run – swim. I felt terrible for those who were doing 70.3 or 140.6 for the first time, as I would have been freaking out. As it was, I was freaking out about what to do about my long ride for the weekend if the bike leg got cancelled.

Thankfully, the RD decided the race could go on with a mandatory dismount at mile 6 of the bike course to walk through / around the standing water and the race start was moved to 8:00 a.m. (45 minute delay).


I had a banana Hammer Gel and then I entered the water with everyone doing the 140.6 race. At 8:00 a.m. exactly, the shotgun went off to signal the start of the race. The first couple of minutes were nerve racking and I felt awkward in my wetsuit. I had a hard time finding my stroke and wondered to myself how it would feel to swim 2.4 miles like this. Thankfully, I quickly fell into a rhythm, found my stroke and started swimming buoy to buoy. I was very pleased with my sighting and was happily surprised when I completed the first lap and my watch showed a time of 36 minutes and change. My HIM swim times have all been closer to 43++ minutes, so I was stoked. Several of the people near me stood up for just a moment and raised their arms in victory for completing the first lap and the watching crowd went wild.

I was very confident about the second loop, given my time on the first loop, how easy my stroke felt and how well I was sighting. I was not expecting the physical contact that came next. I thought that once the crowd thinned, I would be clear from contact, but there were a handful of us all swimming about the same speed and I got kicked in the face several times, even after I made an effort to move away from the other swimmers. I actually had my goggles knocked loose once and I had to stop to put them back on. Everyone was incredibly nice though, and the guy that kicked me on accident actually stopped to make sure that I was ok. I tried to imagine how much more contact there would be in FL with so many more athletes in the water, and I realized that I was thankful for the experience at Redman so would know what to expect in November.

When I rounded the last buoy to start the home stretch, I was happily surprised at how great I was feeling, despite the fact that the rain had picked up again. I reached the swim exit, stood up to wobbly legs (only momentarily), smiled and started taking off my wetsuit.


The wetsuit strippers did a great job of quickly getting me out of my “super suit” (as Andrew and I call it, thank you, Incredibles) and I was off to my bike. At this point I regretted not using the changing tents and T1/T2 bags because all of my stuff was soaking wet. Fortunately, just then I saw Doug and that cheered me right up.

I managed to put on my wet tri top (I swam in a sports bra), rung out my socks, put on my bike shoes, sunglasses (maybe rain glasses would have been more appropriate) and helmet and I was off. I was at the back of the transition area, which made the bike out a bit tedious as you had to go up and down a curb (and they made you go this way), but I still managed to attempt a run out of transition. I saw Doug again as I was exiting the bike exit and starting on the first of two 56 mile loops.


It was still raining at this point and all I could think about was how unprepared I was for the weather. Thankfully, I was not too uncomfortable, considering I was soaking wet from head to toe … in a sleeveless jersey … in the rain … in coolish weather.

I got settled in after 2 miles or so and I was starting to get comfortable when I reached the first turn of the ride and the first down hill. Hmmm, my brakes don’t seem to want to work in the rain, so I took it pretty easy on the turns and descents until the rain stopped. This course was a lot hillier than I had anticipated, but nothing too horrible and it was actually a nice distraction. I still managed to stay aero 99% of the time.

I drank concentrated Infinit every 20 minutes and drank water from my aerobar water bottle. I knew that I was going to have to stop at the porta pottys because I was not sweating as much as usual and sure enough I ended up stopping once each lap. The volunteers at this race were incredible. Each aid station had tons of volunteers, all eager to make sure you had everything you needed. They even had a volunteer at the beginning of the aid station area asking what you needed so that the volunteer could yell to the other volunteers what each athlete required. When I stopped to use the facilities they held my bike for me and restocked it while I was in the porta potty. Talk about service with a smile!

The first loop passed fairly quickly and I used the aid stations as markers along the way. There course was more crowded on the first loop as the HIM athletes were still on the course. I actually saw Brittany kicking some ass on the bike as I was on my way out and she was on her way back in. As I was reaching the end of the first loop, I saw the leaders starting out on the second loop. I think I figured out that the leader was about 20 miles ahead of me on the bike :).

At the turn around at the end of the 1st loop:
I made it back to the turnaround and was relieved to see Doug. He asked if I was ok, if everything was going alright and I think I replied “yes, fine” – then we did a virtual fist bump and I took off for the second loop. There were a lot fewer people on the course at this point, but I was never alone and never felt lonely. I surprised myself by being content in the fact that I knew where I was going and what to expect along the course in the way of hills, aid stations, the turn around point, etc. It rained off and on during both loops but thankfully, the sun finally came out towards the end of the second loop.

To say that I was happy to see the turn around on the second loop would be an understatement – I actually almost got emotional! There is something about knowing that you are on the home stretch that is very powerful to me during a race. There was another section on the main drag, right before you turn to ride the last couple of miles on the dam, that was lined with volunteers who were all cheering, clapping or offering words of encouragement and I nearly cried again there. In both cases I felt great but it was just a bit overwhelming and magical at the same time.

The last couple of miles passed in a blur and I was thankful that I had not had any mechanical issues and that I was finishing my second loop as I saw folks who were just starting theirs. I was thrilled to see the dismount line!

T2 & Finish

I ran my bike to my rack, took off my helmet and bike shoes, not bothering to take off my socks, and high tailed it out of there to the finish line. The Aquabikers had to run a little less than a quarter of a mile to the finish. As I rounded the corner, the announcer called out my name and some personal information about me, I saw Doug (of course!) and then I crossed the line. I had so much momentum that I nearly collided with the person in front of me that was just standing there (oops!). I have to say it was pretty cool to cross the finish line in my socks!

In socks!

So happy!


2.4 mile swim - 1:15:53 (pace 1:59 per 100)
T1: 3:33112 mile bike - 6:25:25 (17.3 mph)
T2: 1:20Run to Finish Line - 1:05
Total Time - 7:47:16
16/30 overall
3/8 Gender
1/1 AG

Post-race Run

After getting my gear out of transition and hitting the porta pottys, we took everything to the car so I could change for my 30 minute run. My legs felt great on my short run to the finish and I wanted to see how they would stand up after a couple of miles. I started my run, careful to avoid the run course itself, and was very happy about how I felt overall. My legs felt strong, my stomach felt fine and I was not hungry at all. I took one serving of cliff blocks with me and ate them over the first mile. They are so much more satisfying to me than eating a gel, and I like how I can eat them slowly over time instead of forcing down and entire gel.

I ended up running for 3.6 miles over 32 minutes (2 short out and backs, there was not a lot of non-race course real estate to be had). I saw Brittany on my run and she called out that I was looking good, which definitely put an extra spring in my step. I ended the run feeling confident that I could have finished a marathon and a little jealous that I was not on the run course completing my 140.6.

Overall, I think that the Aquabike was a great pre-IM, race environment test to evaluate how I felt about my pacing and nutrition and it was a huge confidence booster for me for IMFL.

Post-race Revelry

Doug and I got cleaned up from the muddy race site and decided to go back to Hideaways for fried mushrooms and pizza – so good! We also stopped for a visit at the National Memorial, which was simply incredible, especially all lit up at night, then it was off to Marble Slab for dessert! Sweet cream ice cream with fresh strawberries and chocolate chip fixins in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. It was divine!

118 miles down, 22 to go!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recovery – What’s That?

I was perusing one of the issues of Triathlon Life (USAT’s magazine) that I had laying around and I stumbled across an article on recovery. This being my second serious season in triathlon, I still have a lot to learn about nutrition, recovery, speed work … well, let’s just say I have a lot to learn about a lot of things related to triathlon! The one thing I think I have been fairly successful at doing is fitting IM training into my already hectic life, without feeling like any big balls are being dropped or like I am completely neglecting some other area of my life.

Then I read about all of the other things I should be doing (e.g. recovery) to ensure peak performance, and I feel like it is a lost cause. There are simply no additional hours in the day! I did my long run this morning and instead of taking an ice bath I took a shower and went to work. I did eat oatmeal right away – does that count for something? Saturday I will do my long brick for the week, and again an ice bath and nap should be on the schedule, but I will be rushing to make it to my son’s first soccer game, still covered in sweat. I will have a change of clothes, but I imagine, I still won’t smell very good. Thankfully, at 5, Andrew will not be embarrassed by my attire or by the fact that I stink. On both accounts, I couldn’t start my workouts any earlier to build in time for proper post workout recovery.

This is when having a coach would be so helpful – having someone knowledgeable to help me prioritize my workouts, nutrition and proper recovery, all the while understanding that my employer does not have afternoon nap time and that my children want to see their mommy. I am not downplaying the importance of recovery in anyway, in fact, I have a day off every single week and I do try to utilize my hour of TV time before bed to stretch with the foam roller and most importntly, I listen to my body… but let’s face it, the average age grouper is living a life similar to mine. What tricks do you all use to maximize your recovery?

Another article I read suggested that the lack of recovery (post workout meal, massage, nap, etc) is one of the key differences between the FOP (front of pack) and MOP/BOP (middle/back of pack) athletes.

All said and done, performance is important to me, but I am racing against myself, trying to do the best that I can do and of course, have fun! Oh, and if you see a stinky mom or dad at soccer this weekend, be kind!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I really have trained my body …

I am a sleeper. I love to sleep. I mean, I really love to sleep. Naps were invented for people like me. Some people think that it is a waste of time (e.g., my husband), but I am usually an 8+ hour a night kind of girl (although IM training has cut into that a bit). On the weekends I can sleep for 12 hours straight. I also can fall asleep anywhere. Literally. Car? Yep. Plane? Yep. Boat? Yep. Standing up? Probably! This is normally a GREAT thing, but it has been known to be problematic (e.g. trying to stay awake in class, business meetings, yawning while out with friends), but I digress.

Wednesday mornings I get up around 4:30 – 4:45 a.m. so that I can get to the pool by 5:30 a.m. for Masters. This morning I stirred and checked my watch and it read 4:47 a.m. Hmmm, I don’t remember hitting the snooze button. I checked the alarm, and sure enough, I set the time but did not turn it on.

Needless to say, I was thrilled that my body knew what to do all on its own and got me up at the right time to make it to Masters in time. Sunday is normally the only day of the week that I do not set an alarm and I never get up before 8:00 a.m., and I only get up that early because my boys wake me up, so I am still a bit shocked about this morning’s events, but very, very happy! I hate trying to reschedule missed workouts!


On a totally separate topic, have you ever noticed that taking a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel incredibly unfit? Seriously, I have been averaging 16 hours a week of training for the last month and yet my heart still races and l feel out of breath from taking the stairs. What gives?!?!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

4 Big Weeks Until the Taper!

With my last warm up race behind me, the countdown to IMFL is on (ok, as if it wasn't already)! Now, more than ever, with the hours continuing to ramp up, I think I am actually looking forward to the taper (please remind me of that when I am going taper crazy).

Mileage for Week Ending 9/20/09 (including race)
Swim: 9475 yards in 3:16 [3 workouts]
Bike: 163.25 miles in 9:26 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 21.6 miles in 3:11 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 15:53

This was a lighter run week for me so my legs should feel fresh for the miles next week. This week also marked my longest ever OWS (2.4 miles), longest bike ride (112 miles), and longest continuous workout (8:15, race + post race run).

Quick Race Recap (full race report to follow):

I am thrilled with my race performance on this wet (so much for the forecast) and hilly (well, hilly for me) course!

2.4 mile swim - 1:15:53 (pace 1:59 per 100)
T1: 3:33
112 mile bike - 6:25:25 (17.3 mph)
T2: 1:20
Run to Finish Line - 1:05
Total Time - 7:47:16

16/30 overall
3/8 Gender
1/1 AG

47 days to IMFL -- What's left on the list?:

1. Purchase Garmin 310xt -- debating whether I really need this
2. Practice using Garmin 310xt in multisport mode -- see #1
3. Sell my Gamin 305 -- see #1
4. Practice changing tires -- I have been practicing, but I need to practice several times a week
5. Get a massage -- I need another one! Next one is scheduled for October 1
6. Order more Infinit – I am running out already! -- I ordered 2 bags and already finished 1!
7. Buy an end of season pair of flip flops to keep in my car/tri bag
8. Start wearing my Heart Rate Monitor
9. Buy a Tanita scale -- again, do I really need this?
10. Order new halter style cycle top (my tan lines need help!) -- I decided I didn't need this top this year, since my tan lines are bad already. I might put this on the Christmas list.
11. Order and read “Going Long”
12. Push myself on the swim (my weakest sport)
13. Sign Hubby up for a Twitter account so he can tweet race progress on race day (hubby doesn't mind providing race updates but has an aversion to "tweeting")
14. Take Indy (my chocolate lab) for a run -- I took her for a walk, does that count?
15. Pick a Spring / Summer marathon for 2010
16. Decide what to wear for the big day (funny, most people would assume wedding when you say "big day")– am I going to change for comfort?
17. Thank my amazing hubby for being so supportive, especially as the hours ramp up -- need to do this again, every single day
18. Swim on average 7500 yards+ a week -- in progress
19. Run on average 30 - 35 miles per week -- in progress
20. Bike on average 125 - 150 miles per week -- in progress
21. Finalize nutrition formula/menu for the bike
22. Finalize nutrition formula/menu for the run
23. Try to go one full day without saying the word Ironman
24. Find/make matching shirts for my family to wear on race day
25. Write a pre-race plan (what can I say, I am a planner)
26. Write a race plan (like a birth plan, but longer!)
27. Think about Special Needs Bags (do they fit into the race plan?)
28. Determine back-up plan (plan B)
29. Determine back-up, back-up plan (plan C)
30. Find new audio books for the drive to/from FL
31. Give back to the tri community in some way (volunteer, help someone new) -- trying to be helpful to beginners and I definitely plan to volunteer at a local race next Spring
32. Read race reports for IMFL from 2008
33. Thank my family, friends, co-workers and any/everyone else who has provided an encouraging word along this journey
34. Find a temporary tattoo to wear on my arm during the race for a little inspiration (maybe Spiderman, my boys would love it!) -- tried this in a recent OLY and it didn't stay on, so I am scrapping the idea
35. Make a packing list (I love lists!)
36. Take my boys trick or treating, eat too much candy
37. Turn 30 and celebrate (yes, that is right, I turn 30 six days before the race!)
38. Pick up magazines / other reading material for the trip to FL
39. Make the long trek from Houston to FL with a car full of gear and children (I am so excited that my boys are going to be there!)
40. Enjoy the (hopefully) beautiful FL weather, do a practice swim in the Gulf, and takes lots of photos of the experience
41. Hit the expo
42. Meet fellow IMFL athletes from BT, Houston, Blogging world, etc. and share in the excitement of what is to come
43. Eat pizza at the Mellow Mushroom (my fave pre-race food), get a good night’s rest (is that possible?) and say prayers for the upcoming day
44. Fulfill lifelong dream of becoming an Ironman
45. (You have to have one to grow on!) Buy loads of M-Dot gear and start the recovery process

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mid Week Ramblings

What is the #1 thing that athletes do the week of a race? Check the weather, of course!

I am happy to report that the forecast for Saturday is perfect (well for a Texan at least!). Partly cloudy… highs in the lower 80s and lows in the lower 60s!

I am enjoying a slight taper (15ish hours planned this week vs 17ish last week)this week, which means that I have been getting to sleep in … and funny how sleeping in until 5 something instead of waking up in the 4 o’clock hour now sounds incredible!

I also took care of a bit of housekeeping and took my bike to the LBS for a quick tune up and got a new pair of goggles. I was shocked at how much clearer my view was with the new goggles. If you haven’t replaced your current pair, consider doing so (with the same make and model that you have) before your next race. The anti-fog and clear view are totally worth the $15, plus now my old goggles are my back-up pair.

The Motherhood Effect

“Stretch marks, weight gain and overwhelming fatigue are the side-effects of pregnancy with which most women are familiar. But for some, motherhood appears to leave the female body better able to cope with extreme physical demands than ever before.”

I came across a great article that that speaks to the effects of pregnancy and childbirth on competitive and endurance athletes. I’ll save you the trouble if you don’t want to read the entire article and say this: results are inconclusive and it is a tricky thing to scientifically study, BUT the likes of Kim Clijsters (Belgian tennis player that defeated Venus Williams), Liz McColgan and Paula Radcliffe (distance runners), and Catriona Matthew (Scottish golfer who won the British Open 10 weeks after giving birth) seem to suggest that “becoming a mother somehow spurs an already high-achieving body on to even greater things.” All of the mentioned women claim that “the demands of pregnancy and childbirth made them stronger of body and more willful of mind, suggesting that in some way the rigors of the process heightened their athletic powers.”

And the changes are not just physical, there are definitely psychological / emotional changes that come with motherhood.

“Women re-evaluate where they can anchor pain and many psychologists believe that woman’s pain threshold is effectively reset so that when she resumes or takes up training again, nothing ever seems as uncomfortable.”

It makes me wonder, maybe there is a shred of truth to my son’s idea that I am a super hero after all … it is the motherhood effect!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What A Difference A Week Makes!

I could not have asked for a better long ride/brick today to give me a major confidence boost going into the Redman Full Aquabike next week. Everything that was tough last week felt *almost* easy today.

I did the Tour De Pink Century, but smartie Anne, somehow missed the finish line and ended up logging 101.75 miles in 5:42 (moving avg of 17.7 mph). I followed that with a 5 mile, 45 minute run. I never got truly uncomfortable on my bike today and I can tell that all of the time in the saddle is starting to pay off.

I was really nervous when I started my post-ride run, but I could tell immediately that my legs felt great, especially my calves which bothered me last week. My knee felt great too, so I think the time on the foam roller is making a difference -- I highly recommend spending some QT on a foam roller while you are watching your favorite TV show.

The second best part about today's ride was that because it was an organized ride I did not wear my iPod and yet, I managed to keep myself entertained, despite the fact that there were long stretches where I didn't see anyone (at least in a race there is a lot to look at). That also meant I did my run without my iPod too :)

Oh, and my legs feel great tonight!

I am excited and nervous about Redman next week, this will be my longest race yet, plus the short run I plan to do should be me at about 8:00+ hours on the course. This is my last race before IMFL and I am hoping it will be a good exercise to prepare me mentally for what I will feel like coming off the bike in Panama City Beach.

Finally, congrats to all of the IMWI finishers! IMFL is the next Continental US IM! 8 weeks to go!

Mileage for Week Ending 9/13/09
Swim: 7400 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 150.2 miles in 8:29 [4 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 37.5 miles in 5:47 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 17:17

Friday, September 11, 2009

Team Trakkers 2010

Team Trakkers is now accepting applications for the 2010 team!

I have really enjoyed being a member of the inaugural Team Trakkers and I am looking forward to an even better year in 2010! Team Trakkers is seeking to create a diverse team of athletes from podium fixtures to average AGers like me, so if you are interested in being a part of a family friendly, technology driven team, send in your application TODAY!

Trakkers will be a fixture at all of the Rev3 races next year, including the new full iron distance race at Cedar Point. These races are going to be phenomenal!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thrifty Triathlete

My legs have been feeling great throughout training, but a twinge of knee pain on my run this morning reminded me that part of being an endurance athlete includes taking care of myself.

I took immediate action on the knee pain (ice, advil) and I decided that I needed to take a more proactive approach to taking care of myself and to stretching.

For a mere $20, enter one foam roller ...

I had no idea how tight my IT band was until I used the roller this evening. Holy cow! I now see why so many people swear by these. It hurt like hell, but I could tell an immediate difference. I highly recommend it!

Thankfully, all of the TLC I have been showing my knee seems to be working (fingers crossed)!

Brain Waves

Have you ever noticed that when you are focused on something, no matter what it is, you see things everything related to whatever said focus is?

For example, when I was trying to get pregnant, I saw pregnant women every time I turned around and when I was pregnant and was choosing car baby gear, I became hyper aware of strollers. I checked out the make and model of every stroller I saw while on walks, at the mall, etc. and I even noticed when I saw one on TV (what was Rachel using for Emma on Friends?!?) or in US Weekly (always Bugaboo!).

Well, yesterday I was on my way to a movie and I pulled up behind a Chevy Impala with a bike rack and I immediately tried to take a closer look. What kind of bike is that? Ohhh, are those aerobars? Hmmm, Scott Speedster, I wonder if that is full carbon?

Then, I passed the vehicle (I felt like saying “On your left!”, but I didn’t) and I had to check out the driver to see if he was a kindred spirit. This is humorous to me because a year ago I would not have given that bike a second glance!

Swimming, biking and running are on the brain!

Monday, September 7, 2009

2 Months!

You knew it was coming. I couldn't let the day pass without acknowledging the date. I have watched Ironman Live with palpable excitement and anticipation as IM CDA, Lake Placid, Louisville and Canada have all come to pass this Spring and Summer. I will be watching Wisconsin and of course Kona in the next 2 months as I wait for it to be my turn to experience the pandemonium and spectacle that is Ironman. When I get to Florida my mantra will be simple -- this is what you have trained for and you are ready.

I spent some time converting my Excel training spreadsheet so that I could more easily summarize my training and in doing so I realized that I surpassed my running volume for 2008 this week and I have doubled my bike miles and nearly doubled my swimming yardage for 2008 as well. What a year it is has been and it just keeps getting better!

Happy Labor Day, hope you are enjoying the extra day off from work!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Single Digits, Tough Brick, Sunday Report

We are officially in the single digit weeks counting down to Ironman Florida. 9 weeks! That means 6 weeks until the taper. Some days that sounds like no time at all and other days it feels like it might as well be years away!

I had a great week of training, although my long brick on Saturday did test my mental fortitude. I did 5 hours on the bike, which was just over 90 miles, followed by a 45 minute, 5 mile run.

I have discovered that after about 85 miles on the bike I start to get uncomfortable. I shift around more, my feet start to hurt and I start to get the itch to get off the bike. I am sure it is because I have been consistently riding 75ish miles so my body has adapted to that distance. I have no issues at all running off the bike after a 75 mile ride, but Saturday after 90 miles, my legs (calves especially) felt heavy and tight. I noticed the same thing after the Katy Flatlands Century.

What I am trying to determine now is:

1. Am I pushing too hard on the bike for these longer rides (18 mph avg)? My 75 mile rides are at the same pace and I do not have the tightness in my calves on my runs.

2. Will my body adjust over the next 6 weeks as I ride 90 - 112 miles each week, followed by a run? Is it a matter of gradual adaptation?

3. My bricks are usually done at my stand alone marathon pace, not my anticipated IM marathon pace. Would running slower feel better? It didn't seem like it would ...

The good news was that even though the run was tough, I was able to mentally get myself through it. I did a 2.5 mile out and back and I broke the run up by section and reminded myself that the tightness would pass, and it sort of started to. When doubts started to creep in my mind (like how in the heck am I going to run 26 miles feeling like this???), I pushed them out and tried to focus on positive thoughts. I also reminded myself that this workout came at the end of a big training week. My body was not rested, properly pre-ride hydrated or tapered. My training partner reminds me all of the time that these workouts are supposed to be hard and the race itself is dessert!

I am riding the Tour De Pink Century (raises money for breast cancer) next weekend, followed by the Redman Full Aquabike the following weekend. I really want to use Redman to practice pacing and nutrition, trying to nail down the right pacing combination to ensure my legs feel good enough to run the marathon. I will have 4 weeks after Redman to dial in my race pace.

Mileage for Week Ending 9/6/09
Swim: 8450 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 145.6 miles in 8:15 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 39.9 miles in 6:01 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 17:16

Friday, September 4, 2009

Motivation, Part II

Ok, Bob called me out for not having fun so I need to clarify something ...

I AM having fun. The last 1.5 years that I have been chasing this dream have been incredibly rewarding and I am having a wonderful, challenging, exciting time and I am enjoying every moment of this life changing experience.

That doesn't mean it is never hard, it is. Or that my motivation is always at its peak, it's not. Or that sacrifices are not being made to chase this dream, they are.

I have a second Iron Distance race on my radar for 2010, the Rev3 race at Cedar Point. I was talking to my husband about this race and I told him that I thought training for it would be very different than training for IMFL. I think the first time that you do anything, it is hard. You don't know what to expect. You don't know exactly what you body and mind are capable of. You take everything very seriously and you prepare in earnest for the challenge ahead of you. Once you have proven to yourself what you are capable of, it is easier to relax about the process for subsequent challenges.

In school, I always studied to make 100, never just to pass or to make the grade I needed on the final to make an "A". When I commit to something, I give it my all. Thankfully though, I adapt. In school, by the end of the semester, I had gotten to know my professors and their testing style, so I was able to study smarter and not harder.

I hope that I can say the same about IM training next year. For now, I will keep my game face on, just know that underneath is a giddy girl jumping up and down with excitement.


Pronunciation: \ˌmō-tə-ˈvā-shən\
Function: noun
Date: 1873

1 a : the act or process of motivating b : the condition of being motivated
2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : INCENTIVE, DRIVE

I thought a lot of about this word during my swim this morning. I definitely didn’t feel motivated when I got out of bed after hitting the snooze button a couple of times (I set it early on purpose because I have to be able to hit snooze at least once!).

I even joked to a fellow swimmer that my motivation was still warm in bed as I was getting in the water for my warm up. Yet, I still managed to get up and to the pool by 5:30. If it wasn’t motivation that got me there, what was it? Force of habit?

Pronunciation: \ˈha-bət\
Function: noun
Date: 13th century

applicable definitions
6 : a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior
7 a : a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance
b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary

Habit is definitely a part of Ironman training. You condition your body to expect certain behaviors, including waking up well before the sun and swimming/biking/running for longer than you once thought possible. I think habit is what got me out of bed, but what actually got me to the pool and into the water for an hour and a half?

Don’t get me wrong, I have learned to love swimming (when I am not hating it) and I always (well, almost) enjoy the time I spend in the pool, but it wasn’t my love for swimming that got me in the water.

Desire. Passion. Sacrifice. Commitment. Drive. Dreams. Fears. Goals. A training plan … and ultimately yes, motivation (now that I have looked up the definition).

I had a great 4100 yard swim, even towards the end when this “shorty got slow, slow, slow, slow” (thank you, Flo Rider). It is clear to me that IMFL is definitely my “motivating force” even though I picked up couple of wonderful "habits" along the way. I can’t wait for race day!