August 1, 2011

Chicago Week One + July


As I mentioned, I'm starting the Pfitz training plan on week 2 which includes 39 miles. Since my weekly mileage during Vineman training topped out at like 16 running miles, I decided to cut back on a couple runs this week to be around 35 instead. The first couple runs this week were pretty horrible, and honestly they left me a little discouraged, too. But I finished out the week with my longest run since AR 50 and actually felt pretty good, so I hope things will continue to look up. I also managed to fit in a casual ride with a couple friends and a nice swim, which helped balance out my first week of Chicago training.

run: 10 mi, 9:35 avg pace.
Maybe it wasn't smart to kick things off with a double digit run, or maybe it was the heat and lack of fluids. Either way, this run sucked.

swim: 2,100 yards, 45 min.
  • warm-up: 200
  • 4x100 (on 2:15)
  • repeated twice:
    • 50-50
    • 50-100
    • 50-150
    • 50-200
  • cool-down: 100 w/ pb
I wanted to get in a longish workout, but I also wanted to keep it relatively easy, so I did some 100s at a moderate pace and my usual ladder. It felt great on my legs to be in the water, especially on such a warm evening. It may have felt a bit more fun than usual, too, because I flipped my reversible suit for the first time and wore the neon green side! Paired with my new bright yellow swim cap, I was quite the colorful sight : )
such a fun color!
run: 6 mi (4 tempo), 9:01 avg pace.
The schedule called for 8 miles with 4 at tempo pace, but after Monday's sucky run I decided to cut it back to 6 miles with 4 tempo. Honestly, this one didn't go so well either. My goal for my tempo pace was 8:30, and while I managed to hit them, it felt like more of a challenge than usual and I had to take a few breaks to catch my breath throughout the run.  Breaking it down:

mile 1: 9:45
mile 2: 8:25
mile 3: 8:34
mile 4: 8:34
mile 5: 8:30 
mile 6: 10:14

Back during AR 50 training, my tempo goal pace easily dropped to 8:15. I know I was in much better shape then and I'm just getting back into higher running mileage, but it sucks to feel like I've lost some fitness. I'm hoping with some consistency and a higher volume of running it comes back quickly!

bike: 18.2 mi, avg 14.2 mph.
I had the day off and had made plans to meet up with two of my coworkers for an easy bike ride. We set out nice and early to avoid the heat, starting at Lake Natoma and heading up to Beal's Point. A big chunk of our route was part of AR 50, so it was kind of fun to experience it again on such a different day. We kept the speed easy and casual which admittedly was a nice change for me. Maybe it's because I did all of my rides for Vineman alone, but I would get pretty hung up on the numbers, which definitely took away from some of the fun. On the way out there were a lot of little climbs that got my legs burning, but I just threw my bike into an easy gear and chugged up. We took a break at Beal's next to Folsom Lake to chat about triathlon and training in general, then headed back.

The way back seemed to take so much less time, maybe because we got to fly down all the hills we'd climbed! When we got back to Lake Natoma, we took a wrong turn due to some construction, and I found myself on the steepest hill I'd ever rode a bike on. I approached it from a turn so I had no time to react, but for the first time I really thought I might just topple over on my bike because I was going to slow and couldn't unclip! I've never worked that hard to get up a hill, and when I finally got to the top only to turn back around to go back down, my legs were shaking uncontrollably! The ride was a great way to start off the day and I'm so glad I finally had people to join me!

run: 5 mi, 9:23 avg pace.
I headed out for an easy 5 after work with my pup. The plan called for "recovery" pace, which I interpreted as whatever my body felt like running. I didn't push it, and tried not to focus on pace much at all. I felt quite a bit better than on my previous two runs, but still not totally fresh. On a side note, on the last couple runs I've done, I've spotted a couple kittens hiding in the same bush along the bike trail. They look like they were abandoned, but every time I'd approach they'd retreat back into the bush. I always want to help them but I don't know what to do! Not far from the kittens I also spotted a white floppy rabbit, like the pet kind, and according to a woman walking on the trail, it's been there a while. I have no idea how it got their, or how it's avoided the coyotes!

When I got home I was pretty hot and had the sudden inspiration to make a blended frozen strawberry lemonade. It may quite honestly have been the best decision I've made in years, and I've had it at least 3 more times since. Throw some ice, 4-5 strawberries, and some lemonade in a blender (or in my case, my rad little Magic Bullet) and voila! Delish.


run: 14 mi, 9:41 avg pace.
I'll admit I was actually pretty intimidated by this run. It's the longest I'd tackle since AR 50, and after the less-than-stellar runs I had earlier in the week, I wasn't quite looking forward to it. I was also dreading the route, which most likely would be the bike trail since it's so close to home and I was running before work. I run and ride that damn bike trail so much I know it like the back of my hand - I could use a change of scenery! So in an attempt to improve the potential of this run, I made plans to meet my coworker a couple miles in and just take it nice and easy. Knowing that she was waiting for me got me out of bed bright and early and I was on my way.

The day before I'd decided to buy my first running skirt to wear for my long run. I've never really been a running skirt fan (I just thought there was something weird about wearing a skirt to run in!), but I was desperate. At the risk of being TMI, I'll share this. Like many, when I wear shorts I chafe on my upper thighs, making some sort of skin lubricant a necessity. I know Body Glide is the most popular, but I tend to sweat it off pretty easily. Back during AR 50 I discovered Sports Shield, a roll on anti-chafing product from my work, and it worked wonders. Didn't have to apply it for 11+ hours, and didn't chafe at all! But...not long after I noticed a sort of rash where I'd applied it on my thighs. It was actually quite painful and took several days to clear up. I assumed it was a fluke, or due to the heat or whatever, but it happened again the next few times I used it, too.

Well, after my 10 miler on Monday I found myself with another ugly and painful rash : / It was way too warm to wear capris, so I was hoping the tighter shorts underneath the skirt would protect the tender skin while still keeping me cool. My verdict on the skirt: actually quite comfortable and cute! I especially love that they don't ride up like shorts tend to. The downside: I think it's a smidge too big because the shorts underneath did ride up a bit, and the Body Glide I'd applied didn't last long. So I chafed on my already tender skin, and had to walk like a cowboy for the next couple days! I think I might be allergic to something in the Sports Shield which is a bummer since it works so well, but I definitely won't be using it anymore. Ouch!
rocking the new skirt
Anyway, back to the run : ) I met her about 2.5 miles in at Howe and we continued toward Discovery Park. She hasn't been training much and has been dealing with an ongoing illness, so we kept it pretty slow. She was only able to join me for a few miles, but it was nice to have the company for a bit. Around mile 5 I said goodbye and continued on solo. I had my music and it was an absolutely gorgeous morning, and I actually found that I was enjoying myself! I picked up the pace a little bit after the split and was happy with how it felt, keeping it around 9:30s. I hit the turnaround and made my way back, glad to be more than halfway done. I kept thinking that when I'd reach a certain point I'd let myself stop for a minute to rest, mainly because I'd needed to on my runs earlier in the week, but then I'd get to those points and I'd feel good so I just kept going. I passed the bush with the kittens and stopped to look, only this time they were gone! I hope this means they were rescued, and not something worse : ( With a couple miles left I suddenly got an intense craving for my blended lemonade, and maybe because of that my last mile was my fastest!
I had to hurry and get ready for work after, and didn't get to properly fuel with food until several hours later - note to self: I need to work on this!! I know what a difference it makes in faster recovery so I really need to make it a priority. My feet and joints were a little sore throughout the day, but nothing too bad, just a result of getting back onto the pavement for longer distances. I was so glad the run ended up being successful, it put me in a great mood for the rest of the day!

swim - 2,100 yards
bike - 18.2 miles
run - 35 miles



Week One (Chicago)

Total: 197.4 miles
swim - 10,412 yards
bike - 125.2 miles
run - 66.3 miles

Amazing how times flies! With one month left of summer, I'm starting to realize the things I'll miss, but also looking forward to everything the fall will bring : ) I kicked off July with a little vacation, and while my training may have suffered a bit during my week-long Alaskan cruise, I had a blast and had some unforgettable experiences (btw - I'm almost done with a recap with a lot more cool pics - I didn't forget!). 
 time to relax : )
 glacier stop during helicopter tour of Juneau icefields
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, AK
Alaskan-Canadian border
White Pass Railroad, Skagway, AK
 Grand Pacific Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park
 Marjorie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park
Totem Bight Park, Ketchikan, AK

When I got back there was no time to relax, because the following weekend was my first half Ironman, Vineman 70.3! I couldn't have asked for a better race experience. It was challenging, beautiful, and fun, and left me wanting more. In fact just a couple days later, I did something both terrifying and exhiliarating: I registered for my first Ironman in June 2012!! I couldn't be more excited to start my journey toward becoming an Ironman : ) Speaking of looking forward, I was lucky enough to get into the Houston Half Marathon in January via the lottery, so I'll be spending a weekend in Texas
with a couple coworkers, racing and watching the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials. I took a good week off after Vineman, swam a couple times, then got right back into a sweaty routine with the start of training for the Chicago Marathon. With one week down, things got off to a rough start but are looking pretty good so far!
 Vineman 70.3
327 days.


  1. I hate chafing...not sure what the answer is on that but walking like a cowboy I'm sure is effective. How is your John Wayne voice?

  2. You certainly did a lot in July! (in addition to committing yourself to a lot of future training and racing) And I love the lime suit. :)

  3. Lady youre looking really toned and good in that suit! (Not hitting on you, I promise ha ha)

    Impressive training schedule :)