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Plugging along

Monday’s 2 mile run after 30 min. lifting went fabulously.

Tuesday’s 2750 yard swim went pretty well:

Warm-up
400 swim
2 * 200 on 3:10, kick/swim/drill/swim by 50

Main Set
2 * 300 pull on 4:10 – arms felt really good and solid
4 * 200 on 2:45, descend 1-4 – No descending on my part. Basically just worked my ass off to keep up.
6 * 100 on 1:25 hold all at moderate-fast pace

Cool Down
200 easy – I did 100.

Total: 3,000 yards….I miscounted once, sat out a couple of 50’s, and only did 100 cool down to get to the meeting afterward in time so my overall distance was 2,750 yards.

I paced with M in the next lane over. She is a grad student and former swimmer for William & Mary. She’s currently a member of our tri club and coaches the swim practices. She has a relaxed stroke, lightning flip turns, and a really good underwater pushoff every time. I managed to more or less keep up on most of the sets but took a couple of breathers to recharge and get back in the game. She complimented me several times on my pace so that felt good. I’ve never been a huge fan of freestyle and it’s never been my strongest stroke relatively speaking (although given how infrequently I do the other strokes now maybe it is at the moment) but I’m working it out. I’m sure it would also help if I swam more than once a week!

Wednesday – My 10K plan says I was supposed to do a five mile tempo run last Wed. and a speedwork session this Wed. Because I skipped my main two runs last week due to back issues, I decided to be good to my legs and ease back in this week. Therefore, I skipped speedwork and instead did five easy miles yesterday. Four miles before it got dark and one mile after 30 min. strength-training on the indoor track. My legs were generally achy during and afterward, but after a solid sleep last night I am feeling fab today.

Thursday – I had originally planned to swim tonight as they’re removing the lane lines to simulate an OWS, but I think I’m going to give my body a break and take the day off from exercise. I’ve got 6 miles and lifting to do tomorrow, a 12+ hour day on my feet at a wedding on Saturday, plus a bunch lined up for next week, so tonight I’m going to meet up with the girls for dinner and call it a day.

Update on my bike trainer – The CycleOps Mag trainer from Craigslist didn’t work out, but I found an even better deal on a Kurt Kinetic trainer that a friend of mine is picking up for me tomorrow. I should get it mid next week. I’m excited as this brand is supposed to be top quality/performance and I’m getting it at a fantastic price. This time next week I should be all set up and hopefully cranking out the miles!

Garage, meet Dining Room Table.

I bought a gently used bike trainer on Craigslist. It’s a CycleOps Mag Trainer plus climbing riser block and training DVD. I haven’t gotten it yet but I’m excited about using it and building quads of steel.

Because I live in a small townhouse, my lovely dining room table, which I never use, will be relocating to the garage. That way I can do my riding in view of the TV and annoy D while he’s playing video games. Home decor takes one for the team.

I really wanted a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine but those things are crazy! pricey so this will do for now. Maybe it’ll be an option one day once I’ve proven to be a dedicated little triathlete.

It’s been 4.5 days since I last exercised (with the exception of some WWS – walking while shopping) due to my back. I’ve handled it pretty well aside from eating a lot of pizza and dessert. The back is feeling much better now although my right leg still feels a bit off. We’ll see how it does tomorrow. I’m not really sure how to ease back into my running training plan after missing one tempo run and one long run? I guess I’ll try an easy 2 miles tomorrow and upper body weights at the gym and go from there. Tuesday will be swimming, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Hello, hello.

Training for the last week and a half (note: all runs include a 1 min. walk break after each mile):

Friday, 9/4 – 30 min. strength training

Saturday, 9/5 – easy 4 mile run… Not going to lie, this was rough. I did a poor job of hydrating/fueling beforehand, didn’t bring anything with me, and went out during the heat of the day so by the time I was done, I felt light-headed and kind of sick. Went home and slowly rehydrated and ate. I kept a 10:46 avg. pace, right around the 10:53 my plan called for.

Splits:
Mile 1 – 10:21
Mile 2 – 10:53
Mile 3 – 10:50
Mile 4 – 10:59

Sunday, 9/6 – Rest

Monday, 9/7 – easy 2 mile run in the morning, 30 min. strength training

Mile 1 – 10:11
Mile 2 – 10:55
Avg. pace – 10:33

Tuesday, 9/8 – Rest – The plan was to join up with the local tri team for swim practice but that afternoon I suddenly started feeling really nauseous, headachey, dehydrated, tired. So I skipped and took a nap. I’m thinking it may have been exhaustion even though I don’t feel like my workouts are enough to wear me out so much. Bodies have a funny way of communicating with you.

Wednesday, 9/9 – 3 mile easy run in the morning (I needed the endorphins to get me through a lunchtime dentist appointment!), 30 min. strength training

Mile 1 – 10:21
Mile 2 – 1o:55
Mile 3 – 10:53
Avg. pace – 10:43

Thursday, 9/10 – Rest – Met with my event planning partner and a bride with an upcoming wedding to go over last-minute details. No time to work out. After Tuesday’s episode, I decided extra rest this week was probably a good thing. I’m all for HTFU and was a card-carrying member as a teenage athlete but I’m trying to break that mindset now. I keep reading articles and books that emphasize a healthy balance of rest and easy training along with hard workouts in order to maximize results so I’m trying it out.

Friday, 9/11 – 30 min. strength training, 10 miles on the stationary bike. I’ve been feeling bad about how much I’m neglecting my bike. It was dark out so that’s better than nothing, right? Holy crap, talk about sore sit bones.

Saturday, 9/12 -easy 5 mile run. This time I was sufficiently fueled and waited until the early evening to do my run so the weather was just perfect for running. I felt so good that I had a hard time holding back to keep the 10:53 pace my plan calls for. I felt like I could have gone a lot faster. I know it’s important to build my aerobic fitness but I’m pumped that next week marks the beginning of faster paced runs!

Nutrition: I ate normally beforehand and had a GU (carbs) immediately afterward, then some sips of Powerade (carbs) when I got home followed by a meal replacement shake (some carbs, lot of protein). I was trying to reach a 2:1 ratio of carbs to proteins for post-workout recovery fuel. I’m out of my favorite powdered recovery shake but have reordered and it’s on the way.

Mile 1 – 10:33
Mile 2 – 9:58
Mile 3 – 10:50
Mile 4 – 10:33
Mile 5 – 11:01
Avg. pace – 10:35

Sunday, 9/13 – 15.5 miles biked trying to keep an aerobic HR so my avg. speed was pretty low. Nutrition: low sugar granola bar & water during the ride as I felt my blood sugar dipping, then a mixture of carbs and protein via whatever I had on hand at home.

On an equipment front, my new sushi swimsuit arrived and it’s pretty sweet. I can tell the quality of the suit (ClubSwim – mostly nylon) is a bit lower than the Dolfin Uglies suit I have, which is mostly polyester. However, for a super fun $21 practice suit, it’s totally worth it! I can’t wait to wear it this week.

My Xterra sale wetsuit also arrived and I really like it. I’m a little concerned about the neck tightness but I keep hearing that all wetsuits are like that and that it will ease up a bit in the water. I need to test this. In the meantime, I feel like a plastic superhero!

In biking news, I’m struggling a bit. Reasons:

– I am scared of cars.
– I suck at changing gears although I’m a little better after the short tutorial my friend gave me.
– I am not very fast – I don’t think I have adequate leg power.
– I don’t know what I don’t know and I don’t have anyone around on a regular basis to guide me. Most of my cycling friends are either WAY above me or have completely packed schedules.

Basically, I have no confidence in myself because I feel sort of like I’m floundering. I *hate* this feeling so I dread riding my bike. It shouldn’t be that way.

I talked to D about it and came up with a couple of temporary solutions:

– I am going to buy a bike trainer for the winter. The #1 thing that stands in my way between riding and not riding is my fear of cars. The #2 thing is daylight/weather. I will be much more likely to ride my bike if I remove these two hurdles. I’m going to try to find a good used one.
– I will try to start attending one or two spinning classes per week at the gym after my races are over.
– I may hire a temporary cycling coach to give me some pointers and feedback on where I’m doing well and where I’m falling short.

As I get stronger and more comfortable on my bike, my confidence should increase. As my confidence grows, I will probably be more likely to seek out group rides and road riding again. I know a trainer is not a perfect substitute for road riding but, seriously, right now I think this is the best way to get me on the bike more often.

I realized today that the way I feel about biking is probably similar to how a lot of triathletes feel about swimming. I read about their struggles and breakdowns and fears and constant working, working, working to improve. This is how I feel about the bike right now. I am afraid I won’t conquer it enough to get me to where I want to be.

However, on a positive note, my running is coming along really well. That 5 mile run I did yesterday was the farthest I’ve gone in 10 years. How about that! 🙂 My fitness and breathing felt so good yesterday. I’m becoming better acquainted with the subtle signals my body gives when my HR reaches the high 160’s. I’m learning how to tackle hills. The best part? My knees continue to feel awesome! I get a little bit of achiness in the last mile of these long Saturday runs but once I finish and walk they’re fine. I keep hearing my physical therapist’s words, “As long as the pain is at a 4 or less, go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing.” I’d say the pain is a 1, maybe a 2 max in that last half mile. I stretch and ice afterward and they’re golden. LOVES IT!

On the racing front, I have officially signed up for the Richmond Sprint Tri. W00t! Can’t wait. I finally bit the bullet after attempting to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon 10K on Friday only to be denied. AGH. I was soo disappointed because I’d decided that would be the perfect venue for my first 10K. I’d been on the site the day before and it was open. Anyway, that lit the fire under me and I immediately got my spot at the tri before that sold out, too.

Crossing my fingers that a spot in the MCM 10K will open up soon. I would really, really like to run it. Otherwise I’ll have to find another 10K that weekend.

I’m leaving you with this pretty souvenir from my 11 mile ride last week. Eat it up, roadies!

Exercisin’

Sunday – 14 mile bike ride. I was not feeling it at all so the ride was long, hard, and weary. My average speed was sad.

Monday – 2 miles easy run in the morning, 30 min. weights in the evening

Tuesday – 2900 yards swimming – first practice of the year with the tri club and it was awesome! Love the pool we have access to, so nice. Followed that up with a tri club meeting and ice cream eating contest (although I had to leave before it ended).

300 warm-up
2 * 300…150 pull, 50 kick, 50 swim, 25 under water, 25 build
2 * 300 at a 1:30ish pace…I think we miscounted and only did 550
5 * 200 even speed at about 2:00
4 * 100 on 1:30….fast, slow, fast, slow
50 cool down, had to get to the meeting afterward

Total: 2900 yards, about an hour

Wednesday – Did my first ride ever with someone else and it was SO much better than riding alone. Holy crap. I learned so much more in less than an hour of riding with my friend than I have in weeks of riding on my own. Plus, we went faster. 11 miles total. Also 30 min. weights at the gym.

Thursday – 3 miles easy run on the track with D

I am sold on group rides now. It was so much easier and less scary to crank out a ride with someone else than it is alone.

People aren’t kidding when they say triathlon is an expensive sport. I realize I don’t *need* a lot of these toys but most of them really do help. And apparently roadies find it very important to look good even if you don’t “ride good.”

Current wish list:
clipless pedals & shoes
bike trainer
wetsuit (in process, still waiting to get the right size and 100% convince myself I’ll use it)
bike jersey
running/biking tights for cold weather
compression socks
tri suit
sweatproof/shatterproof/slipproof sunglasses for riding and running
bike rack for car
bike stand for home