Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh Yeah!

One more day until the 3 week taper starts!

This week I hit *almost* all of my workouts. Some of the swims were cut short due to long work hours (and short pool hours), and I missed one 90 minute run. But all of the key workouts were done. And tomorrow is the last long day with a 6 hour ride and a 1 hour brick run.

So far for the week:
Swim = 9100 meters
Bike = 53.2 miles
Run = 24.44 miles
Total = 12.07 miles

Today I did a 65 minute spin on the trainer, a 4000 meter swim (took me 90 minutes exactly...even with breaks!), and just over a 3 hour run.

For the run I did a 9:1 run/walk schedule, and it worked out perfectly. I was able to get down most of the nutrition I had planned and didn't have much of a change in pace from start to finish. Even with the walk breaks I did under 12 minute miles (that's good for me) and had lots of gas left in the tank when I finished. Except for some rain at the beginning, the weather was ideal for running. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE all of the leaves on the ground. At one point I was kicking leaves up as I ran and stomping in the puddles. It's so great when running is fun!

The only downside to the day was when I was going through a cross-walk and a car came zooming out of nowhere, and in the process of running his stop sign, almost hit me. Actually, he did hit me. It's not like I was wearing all black or jay walking. I had to jump back and still got clipped by the corner of the car. He slammed on the breaks, I slammed my hands against his car with a "WTF is wrong with you" look. He just stared back at me blankly. So many morons on the road! Anyway, I wasn't hurt and a rockin song came on my MP3, so all was good.

The post-workout ice bath felt AWESOME (even though I look like a hunch back in this photo), as did the post-workout beer...and hamburger...and fries...and soup...and cookie. :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Thoughts

  • Do you think changing my bike fit this close to race day is a bad idea? Hmmm, well, my seat is now a 1/2cm forward, the angle is adjusted by 2mm, and I took a spacer out of the headset. I guess we'll find out on my 6hr ride this weekend if it was a win or fail.

  • I'm also changing my bike shoes. I seriously cannot stand the stench of them anymore and they no longer make that same style. I'm not sure they would make it through a cycle in the washing machine without falling apart. No, I'm not sure why I waited until 3 weeks before race day to figure this out.

  • Poptarts are a separate food group. Or maybe in the same food group as gels, GE, and shot bloks.

  • I'm embarassed to go get a pedicure b/c my feet are nasty. Nasty. I don't even want to touch them.

  • I am not really "scared" anymore. A lot has happened that I would maybe do differently, or would prefer didn't happen (the flu comes to mind...). But I've learned a lot about myself this year. And have made some really awesome friends, and realized who some of my best friends are. And, hell, I got married!

  • And instead of being scared out of my mind, I can feel the excitement building. It's like a little baby gremlin that gets bigger and bigger every day. I think it's because I've already picked my next Ironman. Yes, you read that right. Yeah!!! So this isn't the end all by any means, and whatever happens on November 22nd, I get to look forward to the next one. Disclaimer: I reserve the right to turn into a sniveling, babbling, scared-shitless weinie at any time.

  • Watching IM videos while on the trainer is no good. Because I cry and then I hyperventilate and then I can't pedal. I think that this is also why I'm not scared anymore. It has finally hit me how damn lucky I am.

  • There are about 2900 people signed for IMAZ. I exported the confirmation list into Excel. I haven't yet split it all up by occupation, pro, PC, etc. I'm saving that for a treat when my OCD rears its ugly head during taper.

  • Ahhhh, taper. 2 days away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Big One

When I first started this training plan...26 weeks ago...I remember looking ahead in the book and thinking "that doesn't look so bad". And then I started doing the workouts, logging the hours, and thinking "OMG, if it's this hard now, how in the world will I be able to do that". But over time, the body adapts. And hopefully, the mind adapts too.

So I head into Week 27 knowing that this is the last big week before the big show. It's not going to be easy, and at times it will likely suck huge sweaty balls, but it's only one...more...week. I can do this.

Mon: rest day
Tue: run 1hr (at 0:10, insert 5 x 6min Z4 @ 2min jog)
Wed: swim 60-90min, bike 1hr Z2, brick run 30min Z2
Thu: bike 90min (at 0:50, insert 30min Z4)
Fri: swim 60-90min, run 90min (at 1:10, insert 12min Z4)
Sat: swim 60-90min, bike 6hr (at 5:40 insert 15min Z4), brick run 1hr Z2
Sun: bike 1.5hr Z1, run 3hr Z2
Total = 20-21.5 hours, with a healthy dose of Z4 interval work

Sunday, October 25, 2009

End of Week 26

I wrapped up the week with another day of swim/bike/run, tired, but feeling stronger than at the beginning of the week. Week 26 totals:
Swim = 3700 meters
Bike = 144.54 miles
Run = 29.13 miles
Plus stretching, transitions, etc.
Total = 17.39 hours

My Sunday recap......

Run Like Hell Half Marathon:
Jeff showed up at the house at 6am to get into costume and carpool into downtown Portland. Have you ever seen a 6+ foot fairy/angel? It's awesome.
We did the usual driving around for parking, walk to the race, hit the porta-potties, and line up amongst thousands of others who were willing to get up early on a Sunday. We timed it almost perfectly and didn't have to wait long for the horn to go off.
The first 5 miles or so were pretty flat and went by quickly. Around mile 4 I saw a gal from the club and said hello...we ended up running the rest of the race together and had a great time chatting! She's 65 years old and has done many marathons. Today was a PR for her since she's been in her 60s!

Somewhere close the mile 6 the long climb up to Terwilliger started. It was pretty gradual, until the top when it suddenly got a lot steeper. Or maybe it just felt that way.

Once we hit the downhill (the last 4 miles are down or flat), it was pretty fast and easy. It was right around this time that I realized I would be close to a PR. A 17 hour training week, and the day after a 7 hour training day, and I was going to PR on a hilly course. I was so happy.

I crossed the finish line and immediately went to work trying to find Jeff, since he wasn't expecting me for another half hour. We finally met up and headed for warm coffee and the warm car. He had a great race too and beat his half marathon from last month by over a couple of minutes. Yeah!
I hit the lap button on my HRM whenever there was a mile marker:
Miles 1-2 = 21:59 (10:59 pace)
Miles 3-4 = 22:24 (11:12 pace)
Mile 5 = 11:10
Mile 6 = 12:07 (no idea...)
Mile 7 = 11:14
Mile 8 = 11:35
Mile 9 = 11:50 (the steepest part of the hill)
Mile 10 = 11:19
Mile 11 = 10:49
Miles 12-13 = 19:57 (9:56 pace)
Last 0.1 = 00:57
Unofficial final time = 2 hours 25 minutes (PR by over 3 minutes)

Another swim lesson with Coach Bake. 1700 meters of drills. My form is looking good, now I need to get my butt into the pool this week and build my endurance back up. Ken snapped a photo of me as I dashed out the door yet again...
I hopped on the trainer after swimming for the last workout of the week. Woohoo! I managed 40 minutes before my warm fluffy robe and cold glass of "Hop Stoopid" tempted me off the saddle.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zipptastic Saturday

Saturday Workout
Swim -- 54 minutes
Bike -- 5 hours 30 minutes

Brick Run -- 45 minutes
TOTAL = 7 hours 9 minutes

The morning started out with a swim...and not a very good one. The pressure from the water made my head want to explode and felt like I had an elephant on my chest. I was really slow and gasping for air the whole time. I cut the meters short and hoped that I would have a better time on the bike.
Self-photo at the beginning of the ride. Sunny and cold and awesome. I love fall!
After a minor mechanical issue with my new wheels, I settled in for a 5 1/2 hour ride. 4 of which were with my good friend Jeff (human wind blocker) and some with Jon and Tom (both also doing IMAZ). Lots of wind today, but it was negated by the awesome views down the river and in the neighborhoods. Autumn in the PacNW is stunning.
Jeff somewhere on Marine Drive, about 3/4 of the way done with his ride!
One of the many gorgeous trees of the day.
I went for a quick brick run after the ride. It was about as hard as expected. I was hoping to do an hour, but my lungs were trying to turn inside out through my mouth. And the inhaler and cough drops weren't really working anymore. Aside from being sick, my biggest limiter at this point is my weight. I wish I could have lost about 10-20 more pounds heading into this race, but there's not much to do about it now. Next time.
Me heading out for the run.From Ken's perspective. Probably thinking "one of these days I'll get my wife back".

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Baby's Got Her Dancin' Shoes

This probably makes me happier than it should. :-) Sooooo prettttyyyyyy... [wipes drool off key board].

If nothing else, they look fast. They weigh about the same as my stock wheels, but are hopefully much more aero. And if they're not fast, I'll for sure get the "placebo effect", aka "cool factor". They will go out for their very first spin tomorrow morning. At least the rear wheel will. If it's windy at all, I'll leave the front one at home for the day. It's worth mentioning that these babies are a BITCH to get the tires on and off. God help me if I flat in Arizona...

On another note, Week 26 has been a week of HTFU. Seriously. I'm over the H1N1 virus, but landed me a pretty sweet sinus infection and bronchitis. I would like to return my immune system in for an upgraded version please. My routine for the week has been: roll out of bed in a drug-induced haze, throw on the nearest clothes and go to work, stay at work until I am near passing out and/or my boss tells me to go home, go home and down some night-time meds and take a 3-4 hour nap, get up and take some day-time meds and do my workout, shower and take my night-time meds and go back to sleep. And I eat when I'm conscious (and when Ken is around to feed me since it's way too much work to feed myself lately). Ken has been thrilled with this routine really. I'm sure my liver is too. Most of the credit goes to the awesome modern-day medication and the inhaler that I may or may not have been using more than the recommended dosage.

Anyway, I've managed to log over 6 hours of training this week heading into the weekend. It's under-plan, but I'm proud of that number due to the effort it's taken to get it in. It's been all biking and running since I don't think it's wise to get in the pool with crap oozing out of my ears, nose, and mouth/lungs. Yeah, I really need to get some swimming in. Next week. So, this weekend's plan:

Saturday -- easy swimmy swimmy, rest, century ride, mellow brick run.
Sunday -- easy trainer ride, Run Like Hell half marathon (in costume) with Jeff, swimmy lesson

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Have Theraflu, Will Train

My master plan for the week didn't work out so well. No suprise there. BUT, my fever is finally staying below 100. Without drugs. AND, my waking hours have surpassed my sleeping hours. I even brushed my teeth and showered today. You may snicker, but after what I've been fighting the last few days, simple tasks seem almost like I conquered the world. So what did I manage this weekend on the training front? I mustered a 30min walk on Saturday solely to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air. Today I showed up for swim lessons and did an hour of drills. Coach Bake took it easy on me but promised to get me back in swimming shape for AZ.

I don't know how this week is going to turn out, but hopefully by the weekend I'll be back in the game. I've read the following blurb a few times and find it fitting right now. I don't know the author, but if someone else does, I'll give them due credit.

Racing is a privilege, not an obligation or chore. All negative thoughts about failing should pale in comparison to the opportunity to be at the starting line. Worry less about the outcome and focus on having fun, no matter your race level. Enjoy this moment in life when you're at this level of fitness and among this group of peers participating in an amazing event. You will find that by living in that moment, you will perform at your best.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Damn Pigs

There is nothing quite like missing two key long weekends in the final peak period before your first Ironman. Last weekend my body was run down enough that I felt the need to take a couple of unscheduled rest days. It seemed like the right thing to do. This week I started out strong again. But by Wednesday night something wasn't quite right. My back hurt to be touched, and my headache wasn't going away. Thursday I woke up feeling about as sore as when I got nailed by a car on my motorcycle. I came home early from work and had a fever of 102. Yep, the flu.

So, I'm typing this from my couch, while sitting in sweats that haven't been taken off in about 48 hours, peering through eyes glazed over by triple doses of Theraflu and everything else in the medicine cabinet that looked like it might bring my temperature down. It's a big ole pity party in my living room.

This isn't the ideal situation, obviously. But now my only option is to figure out how I can salvage the last 2 weeks before taper. Planning more than a few days out doesn't seem to be working for me right now, so I'm going to start with this:
--Get a good night sleep tonight and sleep in as long as I can tomorrow.
--Start with some easy stretches and then go for a 5 mile walk. If that goes well, I'll go for a 6-8 mile run/walk, making sure not to go above low Zone 2. Then crash for the rest of the day.
--On Sunday I'll start out on the trainer and try and get through the first 1/3 of Entourage Season 1. Then go cheer on the ladies doing the Girlfriends Half Marathon...while riding my bike around. Then do my 1 hour swim lesson.

There's a high probability that this plan is going to fail miserably and I'll end up right back in bed in my sexy sweats. But if it works, it will get me about 8 hours of aerobic activity this weekend, while not taxing my body too much. If I feel like it's hurting more than helping, I'll pull the plug. On Monday, I'll re-evaluate and modify the plan as needed.

To end this post on a fun note, here is a pic of Dingo Dave in the t-shirt that I got to design for him. This past summer we raced each other at the Blue Lake Olympic triathlon. As you can see, I won. :-) He has to wear it tonight to the annual PDXKayaker film festival. I just regret that I'm too sick to attend and won't get to see him prance around in it. And, yes, those are fairy wings sticking off the back. Special thanks to Carrie & Alex for their help in the design!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Boozeday

What a difference a [rest] day makes! Even though I'm still a tad sick, my muscles feel recharged and ready to go. And all of the support from my friends has helped recharge the noggin too. Thanks everyone!

This morning I had a track workout on tap. As I was driving to the local high school, I had to dodge tree branches and debris blowing across the road. Autumn is officially here. And while I usually welcome it with excitment (it's my favorite season!!!), it is especially difficult to get up in the dark and go train in the cold, windy, icy, rain. Anyway, back to the run...
Cold, dark, windy track.
1 mile warmup. Then 3x: 0.5 mile Z4, 0.25 mile recovery. For a total of 3.25 miles of mostly high intensity. I could definitely feel that I hadn't run since last Tuesday, but each speed set was faster than the previous set, and each recovery was faster than the previous one. This was supposed to be an hour, but by this time I was frozen and pushing the clock before work, so I headed for a hot shower. When I got to work, I checked our weather station there -- 40 mph winds!

Notice my hair sticking straight up in the wind!

Because of some fun plans tomorrow night (and the shortened run this morning), I decided to do my bike/run brick this evening after work. 60 minute trainer ride followed by a 20 minute run. Heh, I started my day with a workout in the dark, and I ended my day with a workout in the dark.

P.S. Tonights workout brought to you by Jubelale. I couldn't resist one after a tough work day. :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Week 25 - Mon thru Wed

After the ugliness of last week, I'm taking a different approach for Week 25. I'm only thinking three days ahead so that I don't fry the precious remaning mental toughness I'm grasping onto. And I'm easing into it and praying that my body cooperates. Six weeks until GO TIME. Five weeks until I'll be packing the car and fretting over lists. Okay, okay, yes, yes, we all know that I'll be fretting over lists by this weekend.

Today - easy peasy swim (got in 2600 meters before work)
Tuesday - run 1hr
Wednesday - bike 1hr, brick run 30min, swim if I have time during lunch

That doesn't look so bad!

Want to know what looks bad? This...
Tuesday - rain
Wednesday - rain
Thursday - rain
Friday - rain
Saturday - rain
Sunday - rain
Monday - rain

The Sinking of Week 24

Week 24 a tank. And not in a good way. My planned week of 18 hours turned into a struggle to get in 6 hours. It started out fine enough with an 8 mile run on Tuesday and a decent swim on Wednesday. On Wed night I nodded off on my aerobars. Thankfully I was on the trainer and not the road. But I was really proud that my legs never stopped spinning. Ken looked at me like I was out of my freakin mind. By Thursday, it was all I could do to put in 2 loops around Lacamas Lake...and that knocked me out for the night by 7pm. On Friday I did a short swim and then went to work crying because I was so tired. I bagged my Friday night run. And then stupidly got up on Saturday morning and began what was supposed to be a 70-miler at 7am. Have you realized how COLD it is at 7am now? And dark? I arrived at the gym almost an hour later (and almost 10 minutes slower than it normally takes me) and was done. Done. Shaking, shivering, spewing mucous from everywhere. Done. My body had quit IM about 6 weeks too early. I sulked to Nadine's car and she drove me home where I took a piping hot shower and crawled under lots of blankets. Sunday was spent watching sucky football games and force feeding myself multi-vitamins, supplements, and various healthy food stuffs. I think I gained 3 pounds just from soup and other fluids.
You're probably reading this and thinking "why would someone put themselves through all of that?" or maybe, if you're a triathlete, you're thinking "why didn't she take a rest day sooner?" I'm still struggling with the answer to the first one. It's hard to explain unless you've had a similar drive to do Ironman...or something equally stupid, er, challenging for you. The answer to the second question is that I'M SCARED. It doesn't matter how many times people tell me that I'm going to finish. It's still f'n SCARY! And nothing is guaranteed. Yes, a more fitting title for this blog would be "Training Scared".

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week 24 Plan

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - run 1:15
Wednesday - swim 1:15, bike 1:00, brick run 0:30
Thursday - bike 1:30
Friday - swim 1:15, run 1:30
Saturday - bike 5:00, run 1:00
Sunday - bike 1:00, run 2:15, swim 1:00
Shooting for 18 hours

So far...
-- I rested on Monday. Rest days are almost harder than the other days. My body needs the rest, my mind needs the rest, but my attitude always takes a dive into the shitter. I know that I am not any fun to be around on Mondays.

-- Today (Tuesday) I ran after work. I went almost 90 minutes instead of 75 and felt fantastic. Except for the bottom of my left foot. It doesn't feel right at all, but I'm going to ice it and baby it this week and see what comes of it. Anyway, 10 minutes into the run I had to do 3 x 6min of Zone 4, with 2min of recovery jog inbetween. 18 minutes of Zone 4 kicked my butt! An ice bath and homebrew made everything better.

Week 23 - DONE

Biggest week so far is in the books. Yeah! I was light on swimming, but did a century ride and hit almost all of my run workouts. This was the first time I trained straight through a half ironman. Silliness, really. And even though this week was 100% zone 2, I didn't get any recovery other than in intensity.

A little note about our 100 miler on Saturday. I could not/would not have finished this ride without my good friends Jon, Tom, and Jeff. Even though the route was mostly flat (except for those 10 miles in the middle that Jeff forgot about...), the way back was pretty much into a headwind most of the time. I think Jeff has a sixth sense b/c every time I was at the point of wanting to stop and whine/cry/pout, he would pull out in front of me and let me suck his wheel for awhile. So awesome.
So how do I feel after the big weekend? I feel great. Tired, but strong. It's almost indescribable. Like I am invincible...if only I could get one more rest day. I always feel like I need just one more rest day. I'm excited, scared...just about ready to get this thing done. Four more weeks until taper starts. But there is A LOT of work to be done in those 4 weeks.

Here's what I did in Week 23:
Swim = 4800 meters
Bike = 145 miles
Run = 24 miles
Plus some other stuff
Total = 16.5 hours

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Week is This?

I've lost track what week we're on here. 20-something I know for sure. 7.5 weeks left until the race. So maybe week 23? Yeah, week 23. That right there gets my heart racing like nothing else. Seriously, it's beating in my throat now.

I know it's almost the end of the week, but there is still LOTS of training volume left before Monday, so here's the plan:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - swim 60min (missed it), run 75min (did it)
Wednesday - bike 45min (did it), brick run 30min (did it)
Thursday - swim 60min (did it but came up short), bike 90min (did it)
Friday - run 90min (doing in the morning with the girls in honor of LiveSTRONG day)
Saturday - swim 60-90min (at 6am), bike 100 miles (to Salem and back), brick run 45min (UGH!)
Sunday - bike 45min, run 2hr, and perhaps a 60min swim with my rocket-propulsion specialist

Shootin for 17 hours. Biggest week so far. And just going to get BIGGER!

Black Diamond Half Ironman

It's been awhile since my last blog post, so what better way to get back into bloggercizing than with a race report? This past Saturday I did the Black Diamond Half Ironman as my tune-up race before the final push to Ironman Arizona. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. It seems ridiculous to do 70.3 miles as a non-chalant training day. I mean really, who does that? Ironman wannabes, I suppose. This isn't going to be a typical race report. I'm bored of those. So this is more of a "lessons learned" sort of thing.
Overall Time: 6:43:50
Swim = 0:41:56 (2:12/100m pace)
T1 = 2:46
Bike = 3:13:33 (17.4 mph)
T2 = 2:09
Run = 2:43:25 (12:28/mile pace)

My goals leading into it were:
1) Test out my nutrition -- the day before, the morning of, and during.
2) Keep my effort at a pace that I could keep allll dayyyyy longgggg. No Zone 4 shit.
3) Find out what I need to work on for the next 8 weeks. Hah! As if I didn't already know. Coughrunmorecough.
4) Have fun.

How did I do? Um, okay. 1) My nutrition the night before was a little shady. Jack-in-the-box for a late lunch and BBQ for dinner. Not ideal. And not what I'll be doing in November. 2) My effort was spot on. Aside from some craptacular back issues, I could have gone all day. I wasn't out of breath at the end, I had shit-tons of energy left, and I wasn't sore later on or the next day or the day after that. 3) Yeah, I need to work on the run. Didn't need to do a half ironman to figure that one out. 4) Overall, I had a good time. Not the entire time, but I had fun more than I didn't have fun.

The Good:
- As always, my husband Ken is my best supporter! I couldn't be doing all of this without him. He's the best! Also, my tri buddies who were doing relays stuck around to cheer me on, which was awesome. Julie, Brian, and Jeff on one team; Jason, Ian, and Cory on another. Both teams totally rocked the course! - I kept my HR in check the entire race, except for the climbs.
- My transitions were some of the fastest in the entire field of competitors. I maintain my title as Transition Nazi.
- I pushed through some major yuckiness. More on that later. "Ain't nothin gonna bring me down, oh no, I've got to keep on movin..."
- This was almost a 20 minute PR over my HIM from last year.
- I didn't pizz myself on the bike. This could also be put in "The Bad" category, as I was trying to do so for about 30 miles, but it just wouldn't happen.

The Bad:
- I lost my swim mojo again. But on the upside, I negative split the swim (yeah, I admit, I looked at my watch after the first loop). And I could have held that pace for another 1.2 miles. Or another 10 miles really. Bygones.
- I accidentally took Heed during a bottle hand-up on the bike aid station...and thought it was water. Until I had already poured it into my aero bottle and taken a big ole gulp. Blech. But I was out of water and had to drink it. My tummy revolted and I spent the next 25 miles being a fart machine.
- I didn't take in enough calories on the second half of the ride. I zone out and forget. Maybe I need to set a timer on my watch to beep at intervals as a reminder to suck down the fuel.
- A stupid car pulled right in front of me on one of the good descents and STOPPED. I couldn't get around and had to slam on the brakes. This girl can't climb, but I can FLYYYYY down the hills like no one's business. Nothing pizzes me off more than having to stop on a downhill.

The Ugly:
- The run. From the first steps off the bike I knew I was in trouble. Each step sent an excruciating throb through my lower back. It sucked. Then my left foot fell asleep. And then the outside of my right leg became intolerable (I even have a bruise and swelling...still...almost 1 week after the race). Thankfully Julie was running with me for the first 4 miles, otherwise chances are good that I would have quit. Okay, probably not, but I would have walked a lot more than I did. Thanks Bobulie!
- My mental toolbox needs a few more tools. I'm not proud to admit that I cried more than once on the run. I felt so sorry for myself. Which is just downright wrong, since I choose to do this for fun. And there are lots of people who would love to be able to do this, who can't. So suck it up buttercup and finish the damn race.

What I'll do different for IMAZ:
- NOT CRASH A WEEK BEFORE THE RACE! I am pretty sure this is the root cause of my back telling me to f-off.
- Eat better the night before.
- Not have to do last minute maintenance and gear changes. It worked out though...this time.
- I tried to get down 700 calories the morning of the race and only managed about 300-400. In November I'm supposed to get down close to 1500-2000, all before 7am! Apparently, my tummy only accepts liquid nutrition on race morning. Noted.
- Get off the bike and be super happy that I nailed all of my run workouts between now and the race. Cuz that's gonna happen. I already promised somebody, so now I have to.

The Swim...
The Bike...The Run...The Finish...