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New Schedule For The New Year

With the new year upon us and a new season of race training, I’ve been pulling the new practice schedules and working on an updated routine for myself for the next couple of months.

For the last few months, my schedule has looked something like this (give or take the swimming depending on facility availability and runs depending on weather):

Monday – lift; short, easy run

Tuesday – swim

Wednesday – lift; moderate run or cross train (cycling or elliptical)

Thursday – moderate run or rest

Friday – lift; cross train

Saturday – rest or long run

Sunday – rest or long run

I had been swimming with the local triathlon club but I think I’m going to go back to my local rec center advanced masters’ practices.  I enjoy the tri club swimming a lot but the facility is hard to get to and the practices consist of almost all distance freestyle.  This is great for triathletes, I realize, but it bores the heck out of me after a while and my first priority above all else is to enjoy what I’m doing.  The advanced masters’ practice is in a less-nice facility and isn’t quite as challenging as the tri club practice but it’s more interesting and easier to get to.

That said, here’s a tentative look at my new schedule for the next couple of months.  I may tweak this in a week or two after I see how it works out initially.

Monday – swim 6:20-7:20

Tuesday – lift & easy short run

Wednesday – swim 6:20-7:20

Thursday – lift & cycling

Friday – moderate run

Saturday – easy long cycle on my bike trainer

Sunday – long run

Since my brain is still focused on running races, I haven’t given a lot of thought yet to triathlons in 2010 despite the fact that I know I want to do at least one Olympic distance tri.  Once the year progresses a bit more I’m sure that will change so stay tuned if you have an interest in triathlon!

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My Second Tri: Sprint Tri Race Report

Splits & Rank

Swim – 437 meters
6:36 – 5/30 age group

T1
3:49 – 7/30 age group

Bike – 12.4 miles
55:38 – 24/30 age group

T2
1:15 – 10/30 age group

Run – 3.1 miles
28:33 – 8/30 age group

Overall: 1:35:50, 13/30 age group

I achieved my realistic goal so I guess that means my expectations were just right.

I wish I had pictures to share but both sets of batteries I’d charged beforehand were dead by race morning.  Gr!

PRE-RACE

Saturday morning I woke up at zero o’clock and drove 3.5 hours to the race site.  I arrived just in time for the pre-race meeting.  Afterward, I did a quick swim in the pool to get familiarized with the flip turn distances and practice under-lane-line flip turns.  Then I picked up my packet, ate a late lunch/early dinner, drove the bike & run courses (was exhausted and decided to save energy by driving rather than riding the course) and called it a day. I’d heard rumors about a hill on the bike course and people were not kidding.  Holy crap! It was 1.5 miles of up and I was scared.

I stayed at a friend’s place that night.  Race morning I was up at 4:40 am. Shower, swim suit, warm-up suit, breakfast (sprouted grain eng. muffin, almond butter, banana, water) and a small cup of coffee with skim milk.  I ate/sipped on the way to the race.  I arrived just as transition was opening and got great parking and bike rack spots.

I racked my bike first, then got my timing chip, went back to the car for the rest of my stuff to set up my transition,  and braved the cold (it was in the low 40’s and freezing) long enough to get marked.  I knew I wouldn’t want to do a pool warm up on race morning which is why I scoped out the pool on Saturday, so Sunday I briefly jogged around the parking lot with some strides and just tried to stay warm.

One of my transition neighbors reminded me to put on sunscreen so I ran back to the car at the last minute for that.  Finally it was time to strip down to my swim suit and head inside to start the swim.  Transition buddy and I checked out the swimmers ahead of us while we waited. Some probably should have been seeded further back but they were almost done by the time we got in so it was fine.

RACE

My strategy for the race was simply this: save it for the hill, then recharge for the run.

We left 15 seconds apart in the pool, which was a 50 meter pool snake swim (down and back in one lane, under the lane lines, down and back in the next lane, under lane lines, etc.). I took it out easy in the swim and focused on keeping a steady pace rather than going all out as I did in my first tri. It felt awesome. During the last 100 I passed two people.

Hopped out of the pool and tried to keep an easy pace as I jogged to my bike. Long transition around the building dripping wet in 43 degrees running on cold pavement. Made it to my bike, quick pat dry, then decided to put on my lined warmup jacket for the bike. Good decision, wrong piece of clothing. I need an unlined biking jacket for this type of thing. My wet arms got caught up in the liner and I got all tangled and wasted probably 40 seconds. I was also distracted by nervousness about the big hill climb looming ahead of me. Finally got sorted out and booked it out of there. Had one Shot Block in T1 and one early into the bike with a few sips of water.

So…I totally suck at the bike. No lie. Suck. My lack of confidence doesn’t help either. I got passed by a lot of people and struggled to maintain speed over even the small rolling hills. Halfway through the bike I turned left and there it was.  The monster hill.  I’d never done anything like it and was pretty terrified. I stretched out my legs, switched to granny gear, took a deep breath, and went for it.  Head down, one step at a time, just keep pedaling.  I focused on getting through only what pavement I could see under my front wheel. I got passed by people who spun easily and looked like they were out for holiday.  I did pass one older guy.  W00t! Finally, finally the top was in sight.  A man jogging by promised I was almost there and he was right.  Elation!  I’d made it up that hill without stopping and with zero flats.

After that I relaxed and enjoyed the race. It was time to have fun with this. I made my way back to transition, racked my bike, dropped the helmet and jacket, grabbed race belt and my Garmin, and headed out in my swim suit and shorts. At this point it was about 55 degrees and perfect for running.

My feet were still frozen from the bike so I was running on blocks of ice for the first mile or so. I had some aching in my shins so I did a brief walk break after mile one. That helped a ton and everything felt great after that. I chugged along trying to keep a good pace and enjoyed the pretty neighborhoods and chats with people passing by.

I walked through the water stop, hit the turn-around, headed back toward the finish line – holy crap, I’m almost done and I sort of don’t want this to end.  It’s too fun. I passed a girl in my age group on my way in.  Once the finish line was in sight, I sprinted for all I was worth all the way to the end.  As I stood there panting I swallowed some happy tears.  I knew the bike had been slow but I’d gotten through that hill.  The run had been lovely.  The swim had felt great.  I was so pleased with how everything turned out.

After I got my race chip cut off I remembered to stop my Garmin. It said 28:44. My official split was 28:33.  Seems like my race split should have been faster because I started the Garmin before I left T2 and stopped it well after I finished?  Looking at the Garmin stats, I was in the mid-27’s when I hit 3.1 miles.  Not my fastest, but not bad.

POST-RACE

Cool-down jog and stretches, then found some water and snacked on Oreos.  Love!  I didn’t sit down for at least an hour afterward to avoid stiffening up. I did have a little bit of soreness later in the day but none since then. My recovery from this race has been faster and much smoother (no nausea this time) than the one from my first tri.

I found out later that both people I passed in the swim, a teenage girl and my transition buddy, a 26 y.o. guy, won first place in their age groups. If my bike was where it should be, I think I would’ve had a shot at my preferred goal.  At least I know what to work on this winter, right?

Thinking back on the finer details, I’m making a mental note that my nutrition was just right.  I had no cramps and no light-headedness. My pacing was much better this time, also – perhaps too good. There was a lack of urgency in some parts. However, with this slightly longer course than my last tri it was fun to be able to depend on endurance rather than speed. I think I want to do a longer race.

All in all, it was a fun race, great course, very organized, well-staffed.  I can’t wait for my second triathlon season!!

Wednesday

Gotta say, today was a hard day to be trying to eat healthfully.  My coworker brought me Starbucks, although I just got a nonfat misto so I did the best I could there.  I had a business lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, but stuck with water, a light side, and ate the innards out of my delicious tuna burrito.  I had the Snickers bar from D that of course I had to eat!  And after work we had a welcome-new-employee get-together, which involved obscene amounts of fattening appetizers, a free round of drinks, and good company.  I sampled most of the apps., went a little overboard on the cheese fries, nixed the alcohol and stuck with ginger ale.  After an hour I made myself leave to hit the gym for some weights work.  Later I was glad I did but it was def. hard to do at the time.

30 min. weights – everything felt good for the most part although the arch was a little sore (hopefully will clear up with new shoes) and my lower back around the sacroiliac joints was sore.  I think I’m mostly but not fully healed from that irritation of a few weeks ago.  As soon as these races are over I’m going to do some serious rest to get back to 100%.  Speaking of which, I’m taking a break from weights until next Wed.

45 min. ride with Grant staying mostly in zones 1 & 2.  Had a hard time getting my heart rate up without really working it, but my goal was to stay aerobic, stretch things out, and just enjoy getting the blood pumping while rekindling my relationship with my bike.

Doing some laundry tonight in preparation for this weekend’s trip to my race.

Tomorrow’s plans

No exercise, or if I must, just a ride on the trainer

More laundry

Grocery store to stock up on goodies for me and food for D while I’m gone

Pack all of my sports gear for the race

Get out my weekender bag and preliminarily throw a few things into it to set my mind at ease

Get gas

Relax with D

The weather is supposed to be perfect for racing this weekend!

Snickers

I’m finally feeling better.  Yay!  Still tired but not completely fried.

Saturday’s wedding went well and was the perfect way to end my wedding season (my partner still has some to do in her area but I’m done).  I was there about 9.5 hours and spent almost all of it on my feet running around so it was a pretty active day.   A couple of lovely photos:

(Photos: Magnifico Photography)

Sunday – The walk was a success and ran so smoothly!  I worked behind the scenes to make sure people got checked in and helped clean up afterward.  Got a bit of a burn and was on my feet for about two of the four hours.  I crashed hard on the couch when I got home.

Monday – 30 min. lifting, 3 mile run.

Tuesday – I’ve been having issues with my right arch that have been getting progressively worse over the last few weeks.  It was most noticeable after last night’s run.  I think my shoes are the culprit.  They’re a little old anyway so I went to the running store over lunch today.  After they again watched me run, but this time with a freeze-frame camera, we determined I needed more arch support than what my current shoes provide.  So, much to the dismay of my wallet but to the absolute delight of my feet, I ordered these:

Hopefully they will do the trick.  The triathlon club discount helped.

Today I went to swim practice.  Yay!  The two drawbacks to swim training for triathlons are that you do ALL FREESTYLE and mostly distance.  Those are my two least favorite things to do in practice.  I have always preferred workouts with a wide variety of strokes, distances, sets, speeds, etc.  Keep things interesting, people!  I was less concerned about speed and more focused on enjoying the process and getting the laps done so I mixed things up a little since I had the lane to myself.

Warm-Up

200 swim

2 * 150 kick/drill/swim – backstroke instead of free

4 * 50, descend 1-4

Main Set

2 * 400 (I did 350 of the second one)

3 * 200

4 * 100 (these were supposed to be 200’s but we got bored with 200’s and chopped them up…I did some backstroke and took a 50 breather…this is what I get for not having swum in two weeks, tsk tsk.)

Cool-Down

200 back/breast/free/floating whatever

Total:  2,600 yards

I think tomorrow will be 30 min. lifting plus a nice, sweaty workout with Grant.  Can’t wait!

Four days until I hit the road for my last tri of the year (and second adult one ever).  Yikes!  Actually, it hasn’t hit me yet.  I think it probably will tomorrow when I start thinking about laundry to do before I go.  At least I have a free place to stay thanks to a sweet friend from college.

D brought home a Snickers bar for me tonight after I expressed crazy desire for one yesterday.  What a nice buddy!  Saving it for my 2pm chocolate craving tomorrow.

Thanks, Google.

Three Weeks Out

I’m three weeks out from my second triathlon. Yay! Tentative schedule for this week barring sore body parts:

Monday – 30 min. weights, 2 mile easy run

Tuesday – 2500-3000 yard swim practice

Wednesday – 5 mile run (either easy or tempo), 30 min. weights

Thursday – probably rest as it’s Girls’ Night

Friday – 30 min. weights, easy 6 mile run

Saturday – wedding, on my feet for 12+ hours

Sunday – rest or easy bike ride; quick run-through of transitions at home

The weather for this tri will probably be remarkably cooler than the last one. Need to look into this and figure out what to wear.

I was looking at the girls in my age group signed up for this tri and some of them are FAST. Holy crap. Like regional leaders fast. I think my original “realistic” goal of placing in the top 15 of my age group is still reasonable. My “preferred” goal of placing in the top 7 of my age group is probably a little unreasonable. I will be happy to get top 10. My “holy crap” goal of top 3 is still that – holy crap and highly unlikely. But it’s all good. It should be a cool experience to meet such fast girls and see how they race.

Crazy.

A big shout out from this humble rookie to Miss Bree Wee of Hawaii for taking home the women’s title at Lavaman this weekend. Her results from the website, only 10 seconds behind the overall winner of the race:

Swim – 21:29 Bike – 1:05:30 Run – 41:19 Total – 2:08:18

Damn! I love this woman. And of course she’s got a mad killer crazy awesome stomach to boot. And that’s after having a child!

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!