July 26, 2011

Marathon Training, Chicago-Style

With my big triathlon behind me, it's finally time to focus on the upcoming Chicago Marathon! I have a big goal in mind this time around - going sub-4 hours - but I think I'm up for the challenge. To date I've completed 8 marathons and 2 ultras, but I've never really focused on one and really committed to a specific goal. I always aimed to improve, and I have successfully brought my time down from my first marathon (5:27, Seattle Rock 'n' Roll '09) to my current PR (4:34, Marine Corps '10) in just a couple years' time, but based on my performance in shorter races (like my half PR of 1:58) and my current training paces, I know I'm capable of better. So this time, the plan is to get serious and really tap into my potential. In the past I've never used a structured training plan for a variety of reasons, but for Chicago I'll be following a program that will hopefully prepare me to go for the coveted sub-4.

When choosing a training program, I did have a few requirements. First, it needed to be relatively short. I only have 11 weeks til Chicago, so a 16 or 18 week plan will not work. Considering my fitness base from triathlon training, a slightly reduced 12 week program was a better fit. Second, I prefered no more than 5 days of running a week, since I've found I tend to burnout on more than that and because I'd still like to incorporate swimming and biking into my routine. Third, I didn't want to be doing crazy high mileage. I know for some people 50+ mile weeks work for them, but I don't have the time or desire to run that much, and I find that my body does better with more moderate mileage. And lastly, I needed the plan to be flexible. Since my work schedule changes from week to week, I need to be able to move workouts around and alter them when necessary. I did a little research into training programs and based on these stipulations and some recommendations from other bloggers, I landed on the Pfitz 12 week/55 max program found in Advanced Marathoning (which, in addition to it's great training plans, has a wealth of information on running and training in general).

This program fits all my requirements, and I've heard lots of success stories from people who have used one of the Pfitz plans. I will obviously be cutting it a week short, but I have enough of a base fitness level to start at week 2, so that's what I'm doing. The plan splits the 12 weeks into 4 mesocycles that focus on each of the following: endurance, lactate threshold + endurance, race prep, and taper. Each week includes a mix of long runs, tempos, speedwork, recovery, and medium-long runs. I'm especially a fan of the latter, which I discovered during training for AR 50 and could really feel the benefits from. In the first few weeks it has me running 4 days with the other three for rest/cross-training, then switches to 5 days of running further into the plan. This is perfect for me since I still have the Folsom Sprint Triathlon in mid-August, and while I don't need to train specifically for the race, I don't want to be too rusty : ) The extra cross-training days will allow me to easily fit in some rides and swim workouts. This plan maxes out at 55 miles/week in week 5, which will be the most I've ever done. During AR 50 I maxed out in the mid 40s, but I could feel the benefits of running more mileage than I had previously. I'm hoping this will be the case with this training cycle as well. As far as long runs go, they max out at 20 miles, done twice over the 12 weeks. I know there are plenty of runners who do 22 milers, but I've always preferred 20 - just one more reason I like this plan!

I also have a few races I'll be doing throughout the course of this training cycle: the aforementioned Folsom Sprint Triathlon on August 13th, the Giants Half Marathon in San Francisco on August 27th, and the killer Pier to Peak Half Marathon in Santa Barbara on September 4th. These will basically be subbing in as training runs/workouts, but I think will be a nice change of pace from my regular runs. I'm especially excited to go down to Santa Barbara - I haven't been since I graduated from UCSB last June!

So with all that said, today officially kicked off training for Chicago! I did my first switcheroo already and swapped today's rest day with tomorrow's medium-long run since I didn't have to be at work til this afternoon. The plan called for 11 miles, but I decided to just do my usual route to work which was 10 to make it easy. Since I had a little extra time this morning I slept in a bit and didn't get started til about 10am. It was sunny and already pretty warm, and the temps continued to rise during the run. This was my first run since Vineman 70.3 last weekend and I could definitely feel a little bit of fatigue in my legs. I swam a couple times during my recovery week and felt great, but I could tell within the first couple miles of this run that jumping right back into things with a double digit run may not have been the best idea : / In addition to the fatigue, I felt more out of breath than usual, my heart rate was elevated, and I felt a bit woozy. Early on I started to need rest breaks and had trouble maintaining a pace 30 sec slower than my usual pace on a run of this distance. The second half was absolutely miserable, and if I didn't have to be at work by a certain time I very well may have walked the rest of the way. Instead I took several breaks and actually sat down for a minute or two before I could continue. When I finally finished I felt extremely sick and dizzy.

In retrospect, I think I was dehydrated (I opted not to carry my handheld at the last minute and rely on water fountains), a bit overheated, and probably still not fully recovered from last weekend. I could barely shower and get ready for work and I felt like I would pass out at any minute, but luckily a coworker forced me to take a recovery drink which helped quite a bit. I couldn't stomach any food for a while, but a couple hours later I ate a protein bar and felt a bit better. I still felt a bit off the rest of the day, but am feeling mostly fine tonight. So not quite the way I was hoping to kick things off, but I guess you can't win them all : )

July 24, 2011

July 23, 2011

Vineman Week Thirteen


I almost forgot to recap this week! Not a whole lot happened as far as training goes since it was race week, especially since I was dealing with an unpleasant cold, too. I took it pretty easy with just an easy run and swim (I'd done a 30 mile ride the previous Sunday) and more than anything I wanted to get a little extra rest with the hopes that I'd feel better by race day. Sunday was the big day and it was a fantastic experience, both challenging and fun!

run: 5 mi, 9:12 avg pace.
Didn't have to be in to work til the afternoon so I slept in a bit and went for a short and easy run. Felt pretty good physically but a little bored mentally for some reason.


swim: 2,000 yds, 40 min.
  • 200 warm-up
  • repeated twice:
    • 50-50
    • 50-100
    • 50-150
    • 50-200
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 cool-down
At this point I hadn't swam for over a week (thanks to the cruise), and while I had meant to swim earlier in the week, with my cold I didn't think it would be the best idea. I was feeling a bit better though so after work I headed to the pool. It actually felt a little weird at first after not swimming for so long, like my stroke was a bit awkward, but after my warm-up things smoothed out. I did my usual ladder then decided to add some fast 50s to see how I could do after the main set when I was a little tired. I still managed to keep them around 50 sec which I was happy with. Finished things off with a cool-down to bring the workout total to race distance.


No workout today, but I did go see the new Harry Potter movie after work! As usual, nothing like the book, but I didn't have high expectations. Glad I saw it but didn't love it.

Headed to Sonoma in the morning and hit up the expo that afternoon. Attended the mandatory athlete meeting, got everything set up in T2, bought some race gear, then hit up a busy little Italian restaurant for an awesome pre-race dinner. Posted my goals then hit the sack!

swim: 1.2 mi, 42:59 min.
bike: 56 mi, avg 16.3 mph.
run: 13.1 mi, 10:08 avg pace.
Vineman 70.3! Totally epic - check out the full race report here. Such an amazing day in so many ways : )

swim - 4,112 yards
bike - 56 miles
run - 18.1 miles

July 22, 2011

Vineman 70.3 (Race Report)

When I last left off Saturday night, I had my goals listed, gear ready, and plenty of nerves and excitement about what the next day would bring. I signed up for my first half Ironman nearly 7 months ago, after only having done one sprint triathlon, but was determined to see it through and finish strong. The last few months have been exhausting, thrilling, eye-opening, and even fun on occasion : ) I've found that I really enjoy the balance that triathlon training provides, for both the body and the mind, as well as the challenge that also comes with attempting to master 3 different sports. I've also seen some of my hard work pay off, most noticeably in the water, where in just a couple months I more than doubled my yardage, became confident in open water, and actually started to really enjoy swimming. Imagine that : ) All this brought me to Sonoma last weekend to finally see if I could conquer 70.3.

As you probably already know, I completed the race with a smile on my face, feeling great, and even within my goal time. It was quite the experience, and definitely left me wanting more ; ) So without further ado, on with the race report!

I woke up with my alarm at 5am and after grumbling a bit I forced myself out of bed and started getting ready. I already had all my stuff laid out and ready to go, so it was really just a matter of getting myself lubed up and dressed. With everything loaded in the car we were off to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville. The little town was bursting with athletes and bikes and spectators, so in the interest of time my mom dropped me off and went to park while I made my way into transition. The beach was ridiculously crowded which did not make it very easy to maneuver my bike through the throngs of people. I finally found my rack, of course at the very end of transition, and they were already full. Luckily a nice girl offered to move down a bit so I could squeeze in on the end. Surprisingly, my position actually ended up being pretty awesome - I was like 6 feet from the swim exit ramp and had the carpeted path to stand on during T1!
 my awesome spot

Since the swim has a wave start I was able to see the pro men take off - now that's a sight to see! Just 20 minutes later the first one was out of the water and on his bike before I could say "wow"! Based on this experience, I've come up with an unofficial formula to calculate my projected swim times: simply double that of the pros : ) After I got my stuff set up I wiggled into my wetsuit, thought about waiting in line for the bathroom, then decided I didn't have time and headed down to the water. I found my mom at the last minute then headed into the water to wait for my wave to start.
GO time!

It was actually kind of nice to start in the river since it allowed you to get used to the water. It was actually pretty warm, and almost shallow enough to stand up! Oddly enough I wasn't very nervous while I floated there; I was just excited and ready to go! I positioned myself in the middle of the pack, and before I knew it we were off! The course is a straight out-and-back down the Russian River, going against the current in the first half and swimming with it on the way back. I got into a groove pretty quickly and felt quite relaxed. There weren't a ton of women in my wave so it wasn't too crowded, and I was happy not to take any kicks to the face or be swam over : ) The nature of the course makes it pretty easy to sight (just keep the buoys to your left), although I still managed to find myself swimming into the branches of an overhanging tree near the banks on a couple occasions : ) The Russian River is really a unique little place with "docks" that sit on the banks where residents were sitting with their coffee cheering us on. It made it feel more like a lake!
 there we go!
I tried not to stop and look at how far down we still had to go since at times you couldn't even see the turnaround. I just stayed in my zone and kept swimming along. We passed under a couple bridges and then soon enough we were heading back, and this time with the current to help us along! Not long after the turnaround, I felt my hands drag on the bottom of the river. This had happened once earlier and was a short section, but this time it lasted for several minutes and forced me to alter my stroke a bit. I tried swimming closer to the buoys toward the middle of the river, but no dice. I even saw one guy stand up and walk a few times! Finally the river got a bit deeper and I could resume my normal swimming. Right about then I wondered how much further it was to the finish (which was bit closer than the start), and when I looked up the check it was right in front of me! I kept swimming until I was right in front of the archway, then ran out of the water smiling and feeling great. One down!
swim exit

swim time (1.2 mi): 42:59

Like I said, I had a prime spot in transition, so as soon as I came out of the swim chute I was standing in front of my gear. I was also able to stand on the carpet pathway to keep the rocks and dirt of my feet which was great. I took my time, wanting to make sure I didn't forget anything and to refocus on the next task at hand. I stripped off my wetsuit, pulled on my socks and shoes, then pulled my tank top over my head. Helmet and sunglasses went on next, then I sucked a Gu down while I shoved all my gear in a bag to be transported to the finish. I finally grabbed my bike off the rack and got the hell out of there!

T1 time: 5:41

I ran out of transition with my bike and at what I though was the mount line at the bottom of a little hill I started to get on my bike, but then I noticed that the others around me were walking there bikes up the hill and then mounting them. So I followed their lead and at the top of the hill clipped in with no problems (thank God) and was off! The weather was perfect, overcast with temps in the high 50s and even a light misting in the air! Quite a far cry from the heat waves this race has seen in past years. I was quite nervous about the bike leg, mainly because I'd heard it had a lot of rolling hills. I didn't train at all on hilly terrain, so I'm used to a pancake flat bike trail with no cars, no potholes, and few other riders. The hills started from the very beginning with a couple short uphills and some nice, long downhills. 

I tried not to worry too much about my slowing speed and the many miles still ahead but rather to enjoy the scenery. It really is a beautiful course, taking you through the countryside past endless vineyards on either side. I broke the course down into smaller parts to make it a little easier mentally. At mile 18 we had our first aid station which I just cruised through, instead opting to eat a Bonk Breaker from my Bento Box (which worked out great btw), which ended up being a big mistake. It was too dry for me and I ended up throwing part of it out. I kept reminding myself to take in fluids, both water and Nuun, and I switched over to Gu for fuel, taking three over the remainder of the bike leg. At mile 29 I came through an intersection and spotted my mom which was a great boost, but no time to stop and chat!
 not a bad backdrop, eh?
I was able to maintain decent speeds on the flats (17-19 mph), and reached some scary new highs on the downhills, but the uphills, even the small ones, are what did me in. I watched as my average dropped into the 16s, and by the end I was just fighting to keep it there. I was passed by countless athletes on their fancy bikes, powering up the hills as if they were nothing, but I didn't let it get to me. I gave my best effort, and now know what I need to work on to become a stronger cyclist. About halfway through my hands, neck and shoulders, and lady bits were becoming extremely uncomfortable. There were a ton of potholes and uneven road that caused a lot of vibration and bumps and were pretty uncomfortable to ride through, so I made sure to switch my saddle position and stand up every now and then. We hit the second and third aid stations at miles 28 and 38, but I still had enough fuel and fluids to sail by. 

Around mile 45 I began the hardest climb of the bike, the infamous Chalk Hill. It's no more than maybe 0.25 mile, but it's fairly steep and left me crawling up in my smallest gear, gasping for breath, wondering if a human heart could actually explode. Finally I crested the damn thing, let out a yell, and began the much welcomed descent on the other side. My quads were pretty worked after that one, so the last few rollers were tough, but I kept reminding myself that I was so close. With about 5 miles to go we left the vineyards and farms behind and entered proper civilization. I was so anxious to get off my bike by that point that I was actually excited to start the run! I turned a couple corners and found myself outside of Windsor High School. I happily dismounted and headed into T2!
no joke
 making the turn into T2
bike time (56 mi): 3:25:11

After lucking out with a prime spot in T1 I wasn't so lucky in T2 and had to run a ways to find my stuff. I found my little pile of stuff easily, though, and set about getting ready to run. Bike was racked, helmet and bike shoes off, running shoes on, Garmin switched to wrist. I even did a little downward dog to stretch out my back before trotting out of transition to start the run!
 my little pile of run gear!

  T2 time: 4:55

It felt so good to be off the bike and running! As I headed out some of the earlier (and fast!) waves were already heading back in since it was an out-and-back course. I focused on breaking the half marathon into 3 miles sections and tried to listen to my body and go off effort rather than what my Garmin said. The run is no walk in the park, though. Not to be outdone by the bike course, it has quite a few rolling hills of it's own which, on tired legs, seem much longer and steeper than they really are. By this time the sun had come out and it had warmed up (high 70s), and while it certainly wasn't hot, with little shade on the run course I could feel it's effects. There were aid stations every mile, which was great, so I took advantage of them early on and took in plenty of fluid and dumped cold water on my head to stay cool. I made myself walk the first half of every hill but then allowed myself to walk to the top. I also walked through maybe half of the aid stations to give my legs a quick break.
 starting the run
 if you're not going up you're going down

I knew that the course took us through La Crema Winery for a 1 miles loop right around the halfway point, so I kept looking in the distance for it. Finally at mile 6 I made my way onto the quiet dirt road through the vineyards. It was quite a unique experience to run through La Crema and definitely makes this run a bit special. On the way out of the winery I planned on hitting up the port-o-potty, but of course they were full and I wasn't about to wait so I continued on. A lot of people looked like they were really struggling on the run and I passed quite a few (though not nearly enough to make up for how much I was passed on the bike!). 

On the way back I started to feel the day's activities catching up to me and I slowed a bit, but was still within my goal pace range. I finally stopped to use the potty at mile 8, and felt much better after! Around this point I did see something a bit shocking - a girl running in the opposite direction as me simply turned around in the middle of the road and started running the other way! She wasn't more than 5 miles in and didn't look like she was injured or anything, so the first conclusion I came to was that she was cheating and cutting the run short. I was a little bummed by this for some reason, but I reminded myself that it didn't affect me and I would never do something like that. Still, I thought, boo on her.
running through La Crema Winery
I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and to take my mind of my own race I started telling others going the opposite direction "good job". I felt bad that they still had so far to go, especially since it was getting warmer and they all looked so tired already. At mile 11 I passed a woman who had been kindly spraying runners with her hose and ran through for a second time, then it was the home stretch! With just 2 miles to go, out of nowhere comes my friend and ultra running buddy, Ron! I knew he was racing but I didn't really expect to run into him during the race. He was looking amazing and was having a fantastic day. I kept up for a bit but then I let him go and dropped back, only to see him again at the finish line. The last half mile was lined with spectators cheering everyone on, and you could hear the noise coming from the finish at the high school. I rounded a corner and kicked it up a notch as I ran down the finish chute. I smiled big, and just like that, I conquered my first 70.3 : )

run time (13.1 mi): 2:12:48

I actually felt pretty good when I finished. I collected my medal and volunteers removed my timing chip, I spotted my mom in the crowd, then promptly lost her as I was herded into the finish area. I spotted Ron again and chatted with him for a bit, the went looking for my mom. Without my phone I could only hope we found each other in the crowd, and before long I saw her. While she waited with my stuff I grabbed some fruit and water the headed out of the finish area to sit and eat. I could feel some blisters on my feet, but besides that, my body felt surprisingly good following such a long day.
the infamous Punk Rock Racer, Ron

While I sat and ate I checked my results online and found that I had finished in my goal time and that I'd placed 7th in my age group (F 20-24)! Granted there were only 19 women in my division, but that still puts me in the top half so I'll take it. I was getting a bit stiff just sitting around so we took some final pics in front of some lovely sunflowers I spotted on the campus : ) After that I was ready to head out, so I gathered my bag from T1 and my bike and gear from T2 and hit the road.

total time: 6:31:34
I'm pretty happy with how the race went, especially since it was my first long course triathlon. I've definitely found my weak spots (swim speed, riding hills) so I know what to work on going forward. But I also really enjoyed the race and had fun, which I think is by far the most important. As for the race itself, I can't recommend it enough. Great location, beautiful and challenging courses, and fantastic organization. I would love to go back one day! I've taken the past few days off but they've been more of a forced rest since my body actually feels pretty great! My quads were sore the day after but that was it, so had to keep reminding myself that I need the rest. I got a gnarly sunburn (racerback tank with a cutout on the back + straight bra straps = ugly tan lines) that I promptly tried to even out with a few hours spent at Lake Natoma just relaxing with a friend. Couldn't have asked for a much better weekend!
Vineman 70.3

p.s. Stay tuned for a very exciting announcement in the next couple days!

July 17, 2011

Done and done.

Race report to follow!

July 16, 2011

This is it.

Right now, I'm relaxing (at least trying to) in our hotel room in Santa Rosa, packet picked up, gear laid out, a plan for tomorrow in my head. After countless hours in the pool, on the bike, and on the roads, tomorrow I'll attempt to cover 70.3 miles by doing a little bit of each. After my vacation the race definitely seemed to spring up on me, but I'm feeling ready. And while I'm of course a bit nervous, there's some excitement there, too. Earlier this week I came down with case of the taper sniffles - thankfully nothing worse than a summer cold - but I'm finally feeling a bit better and ready to tackle this thing head on.
We left Sacramento early this afternoon and after sitting through some pretty bad traffic we finally made it to the expo at Windsor High School. Before we could do anything we had to attend an athlete meeting, scheduled every hour. We just missed one so we headed back into downtown Windsor to get some lunch, then headed back an hour later, only to just miss that one, too! So we used the waiting time to peruse the expo booths and buy some race gear. I ended up with a bike jersey, a Headsweats (fave!) visor and hat, and a coffee mug : ) Finally we were ushered into the gym where we watched a 25 minute video on the course, race schedule, rules, etc. With so many athletes together like that you could almost feel the nervous energy! Everyone seemed to be decked out in gear from other races, as if to prove to others they belonged there, or maybe just because they are proud of their accomplishments. That fickle little M-dot seemed to turn up everywhere, too! Anyway, post-video we were finally able to pick up our packets.
loaded up and ready to go!

Vineman is a little unique in that T1 and T2 are in different locations, 17 miles apart. The swim start and T1 are at Johnson's Beach in Guerneville while T2 and the finish are at Windsor High School. This meant we had to drop off our stuff for the run at T2 today, so I did a mental run through of what I would need at T2, which wasn't much, and made a sad little pile at my assigned rack. I wish I would've thought to bring another bright towel to make it easy to spot, but oh well. The weather was looking promising with temps in the low 70s with a bit of a breeze. By the time we left the expo it had cooled even more - so much for my concerns about a hot race day!
ha, my sad little pile of stuff

So here I am, after fueling up with a nice Italian dinner, contemplating what is to come tomorrow. I know I've put in the training, so from here on out it's all about being positive and determined. Could I have trained more? Of course. Do I have fancy tri gear? No. In fact it was interesting to look around at all the bikes with there aero bars, racing wheels, and other fancy stuff, compared to my very basic road bike. I know I don't need that stuff, but I couldn't help but feel like I totally stood out as a tri noob. Regardless, I know I can do this. More than anything, I want to finish. Even better, I want to finish feeling good, with a smile on my face. And of course, if things go well, I have some specific goals.

For the swim, based on my Olympic tri, I'd like to finish around 40 minutes. It's a wave start, so hopefully it won't be too crowded and I can catch some feet to follow. It's an out-and-back in the Russian River, so sighting, one of my weaknesses, hopefully won't be a huge issue. Apparently the river is only 4-7 ft. deep, so it should be interesting to see if anyone just stands up or walks in the middle of the course!

I'm most nervous about the bike. I've ridden the distance once, so I know I can do it, but I'm a little worried about the nature of the course. It's got some rollers on it and some sharp turns, and it's on an open course. There will also be a lot of other athletes out there, and I don't exactly have a lot of experience riding in large groups. I also haven't had any practice fueling on the bike. I would always stop to fuel and stretch during my training rides, so I don't really know how to take a Gu on the move! I invested in a bento box that sits on my top tube right behind my handlebars, so I'm hoping to be able to access and eat my Gu with one hand...let's hope I don't crash! I'm a bit nervous about the aid stations as well, because once again, you don't stop. Volunteers just hold out bottles of water or electrolyte and you slow down and grab it. For some reason I see myself failing at this : ) On the bright side of things, I've heard that the course is absolutely gorgeous. It's a point-to-point through wine country, so there will at least be some nice scenery to distract me. I really want to save my energy and start conservatively, then see if I can pick it up it the second half. I'm hoping to average around 17 mph and finish in about 3:20.

For the run, I'm just going to wing it. I know I won't be able to maintain my usual running pace, but I don't know how much slower I'll be. I've done several bricks, so my legs know how to run after riding, but I've never run after such a long ride. And truthfully, I was pretty spent after my 45+ mile training rides. So I figure I'll give myself a little cushion on my time, walk when I need to, but try to just keep moving forward as fast as possible given the circumstances. With my half PR just under 2 hours, I'm hoping 2:15 tomorrow is doable.

Overall I want to finish under 7 hours. Pending no serious tragedy, I know this is doable. If I have a great day, I'm going to aim for 6:30. Either way, I'm going to try to have fun and soak it all in. I'm ready for the challenge! See you on the other side : )

p.s. If anyone is interested, athlete tracking can be found here. I'm bib no. 815, and my swim wave starts at 7:10am!

July 12, 2011

Vineman Week Twelve (at sea!)


I had grand plans to maintain some level of training during the cruise, and so one of the first things I did when we got on the ship was visit the fitness center to see what I'd have to work with. Located at the very front of the ship, it wasn't very big, but it seemed to have the basics. A row of ellipticals and treadmills lined a wall of windows looking out to the ocean and directly behind was an area for group fitness classes, and there was also a small area devoted to free weights. Obviously I could use the treadmills to get in a few runs, but cycling and swimming posed a bit more of a challenge. Luckily I discovered that they offered spin classes (for an extra fee), so I signed up for a couple and figured that would be better than nothing. As for swimming, while there were at least 4 recreational pools on the ship, none were suitable for lap swimming. There was an "infinity" pool in which a large jet is meant to keep you swimming in place (kinda like a treadmill for swimmers), so I thought I might try that out (this, sadly, never did happen, whoops!). After surveying the gym, I looked over the schedule for the week and penciled in what I hoped to accomplish. Not everything went according to plan, but considering my circumstances, I think I did pretty well, and at least offset some of the extravagant food and drink consumption that ensued : )
 view from the treadmill

After getting things off to a good start Sunday with a strength workout, run, and spin class, I decided to take Monday off. We arrived at our first port, Juneau, early in the morning and didn't leave til that evening, so I opted to enjoy our time off the ship and take a rest day. We did do a fair bit of walking around Juneau, though, so I didn't feel too guilty about not working out!

run: 6.5 mi, 9:14 avg pace.
The day started out super early with our arrival in our second port, Skagway. I had signed up for a tour that would take up most of the afternoon, and while it was absolutely spectacular, I was pretty tired when I returned to the ship later that afternoon. I had planned on doing a run in the gym that evening, but I figured I better get it out of the way before I ended up too tired and lost my motivation. I made it all the way to the fitness center before I asked myself, "what the hell am I doing?" We're in a beautiful Alaskan town along the coast with towering mountains surrounding us, cool weather, and time to spare. Why on earth would I run on a treadmill instead of outside?! And with that, I turned right around and headed back off the boat. This also meant I could use my Garmin without the foot pod, and I'll admit it was nice to see my usual 9ish pace instead of the 11+ pace I was getting on the treadmill.
It was misting slightly when I got going, but the cool air was invigorating. As I headed away from the docks toward the quaint little city, I took a turn away from the main drag and soon found myself away from all the tourist sights and in a real little frontier town. Passed by only a few cars, it was quiet and solitary. After a couple miles I turned back toward the main part of town, figuring I could window shop and explore Skagway a bit more on foot. I got some strange looks from all the tourists, like they couldn't understand why someone would be running through town, but I thought it made perfect sense and I was surprised I was the only one! I stopped a few times for some pics of some of the cute little shops and the scandalous Red Onion Saloon, which was once a popular brothel for the plethora of gold miners.
 exploring Skagway, AK on foot!
 I couldn't resist : )
 downtown Skagway
At this point I was about 4 miles in and decided I wanted to go a bit longer, so I looped around to the famous railroad (on which I'd started my tour earlier that morning), then headed down to the docks, past the RV park, then finally back to the ship to finish with a nice 6.5 miles for the day. It was a crazy long, jam-packed day, but it ended up being one of the best of the week, too. I'm so glad I got a chance to actually run on dry land, and in Alaska no less!
 railroads of the famous "White Pass"
 the snow fleet responsible for clearing the tracks

This was another day at sea, but the morning and afternoon were spent cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. I was still pretty tired from the long day Tuesday, and I didn't want to miss out on the awesome scenery around the boat. And honestly, I just didn't want to get back on that unstable treadmill! So Wednesday became an impromptu rest day.

bike: 45 min spin class.
My second spin class on board wasn't quite as good as the first. I was a bit tired after our morning in our third port, Ketchikan, and for some reason it was a bit shorter. Including the post-spin stretching, it only lasted about 45 minutes. Since I was paying for it, I was a little disappointed. Better than nothing, though!

run: 2 mi, 10:00 avg pace.
To get a little extra sweating in, I hopped on the treadmill afterword, but could only tolerate the rocking of the ship and the slow speed for a couple miles before saying enough is enough!


We arrived back in Seattle bright and early and then settled in for a long day of travel. We finally got home around 6pm, and while I had entertained thoughts of a swim, I just didn't have the energy. It was good to be home, though!

bike: 30 mi, 18.0 avg mph.
With my somewhat pathetic attempts at riding this week on the ship, I wanted to finish off the week with a solid ride, especially with race day just a week away (yikes!). I got off work a bit early and took advantage of the daylight to go for a medium-long ride. I don't know if it was just fresh legs from taking a break or what, but I found myself cruising at a 19 mph average for the first half of the ride! Part of me knew I could never maintain that speed for the whole ride and was afraid I'd blow up with a lot of miles left, but I went with it. By the time I finished, as expected, my speed had dropped to an 18 mph average, but that is still a lot better than my usual speed! It felt pretty good to be back on the saddle, so I'm hoping that will mean good things come next Sunday...

p.s. I'm working on a recap of the whole trip with a lot more pics, so hopefully I'll have it up by the end of the week!

swim - 0 yards : (
bike - 30 miles + spin x2
run - 8.5 miles