February 29, 2012


Happy Leap Day! It ended up being a pretty special day indeed as I came home with this sexy thing:
 Cervélo P2


February 27, 2012

Ironman Week 8


It seems that cramming several long and taxing workouts within a few days is not the smartest thing to do. I had to rearrange my schedule this week which meant doing my long ride earlier in the week without adequate rest. I started to feel a bit run down, like I was fighting something off, then sure enough come Wednesday I lost that fight. I took a couple days off with what felt like a cold, then turned into a nasty case of allergies thanks to this crazy wind we've been having. I alternated feeling guilty for skipping workouts this week and knowing that it was the smart thing to do to come back feeling healthy and strong. I still got in most of the key workouts (although failed horribly in the swim department...I just didn't think it was a good idea to hold my breath when I couldn't breathe out of my nose!). I'm feeling much better now, although still dealing with my allergies (ummm since when is it spring and allergy season!?) and ready to tackle this next week. As I kept repeating to myself this past week, better now than later!

pm: bike / 55 mi / 3:30 / avg 15.7 mph
This was my first mistake. When I looked at my schedule Sunday night I knew I needed to move things around. My long ride was scheduled for Friday, a day off, except that I was going to be in San Francisco all day for another grad school interview. The only other day I could fit it in with work was Monday, my other day off. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, except that I'd had a hard day of training the day before (hour swim followed by 2 hour run) and had rode 50 miles just 2 days before. My legs were definitely still feeling the effects of those workouts, too. I asked my coach what I should do and she said to go ahead and do the ride, but to expect to be slower than usual.

On Monday's I volunteer til 12:30 so I didn't get started til late afternoon. My eating was off as I hadn't had lunch yet but I didn't want to eat anything heavy right before the ride, so I hastily crammed some pasta in and then was out the door. It was a pretty nice afternoon actually, warm and sunny with little wind. I did an out-and-back to Discovery Park then headed the opposite direction toward Lake Natoma. I wasn't in a very good mood when I started, but felt a bit better as I went along. Part of it was the route I was riding on the bike trail. As fortunate as we are to have 30+ miles of paved bike trail, it gets familiar really fast. Especially on these longer rides! I need to start riding in new places, especially with new terrain (like hills!). Ok, rant over.

My legs were definitely tired but I kept the gears easy and just focused on keeping a steady, quick cadence. I actually ended up averaging the same speed as my 50 miler on Friday, but didn't feel like I was pushing myself quite as hard. My heart rate, however, remained high despite keeping my effort fairly easy. In hindsight I think it was a sign of what was to come... This probably warrants a post of it's own, but I seriously need to work on fueling better on rides. I consumed 3 Gu and one bottle of Gu Roctane (new product - review to come!), which amounts to about 550 calories over 3.5 hours. My shoulders, back, and neck were fairly uncomfortable for the latter half of the ride, too, and I know it's because of my bike fit. Every time I ride now I can't help but think how badly I need a better fitting bike. It's especially difficult to ride my bike after testing those fancy tri bikes! I finished the ride just as the sun was starting to set with an even 55 miles. Fun fact: this is my current cycling distance PR (but not for long!), and the longest I rode before Vineman 70.3 last summer.

pm: run / 1.75 mi / 0:15 / avg 8:34
Immediately following my ride I had a 15 minute "transition run" on deck. While this wasn't specifically a brick workout, I think it's meant to achieve similar effects. I'm thinking these will probably become a regular thing after long rides to get my legs used to switching to running after being in the saddle for so long. I actually had a really great run, although I probably pushed the pace a bit too much. I was starving after my ride though and just wanted to be done so I could eat dinner!

am: run / 6 mi / 0:55 / avg 9:10
I was pretty exhausted after my long ride the day before and my legs were toast, but I was still determined to get this run done. This was my first foray with speedwork since before the Chicago Marathon so I was a bit apprehensive. It called for 4x1200 in Zone 5 followed by 400 recovery between intervals. To save time I decided to do them on the levy above the bike trail instead of a track. It worked fine, but I will say 1200 fells much longer in a straightaway as opposed to 3 laps! I warmed up for a mile and was frustrated to already see my HR in zone 3. I tried slowing down but no matter what I did I couldn't get it any lower. I tried to just ignore it since it was about to be sky high anyway!

The first repeat wasn't too bad. I knew it couldn't be an all out sprint so I tried to push a little faster than tempo pace. I slowed to a walk after the first one to try to lower my HR and then jogged slowly for the rest of the 400 before turning around for the next one. The first two were pretty consistent, 5:32 (7:27/mi) & 5:33 (7:27/mi), and where I was hoping to be but I slowed a bit on the last two, 5:44 (7:47/mi) & 5:53 (7:49/mi). I had no problem keeping my heart rate in zone 5, but struggled to lower it after each repeat. My HR had been high all week so I'm thinking it was just a precursor to getting sick.

I woke up early with plans to go to my conditioning class, but I felt awful. I ended up calling in sick and spending the day on the couch : /

am: bike / 23.4 mi / 1:30 / avg 15.6 mph
After a day of rest I woke up feeling a little bit better though still congested. I decided to attempt my workout for the day, a 90 minute ride. This ended up being mistake no. 2 this week. There was crazy wind with gusts up to 35 mph, making for less than ideal riding conditions. I also knew that with an out-and-back I'd have a headwind one way and a tailwind the other. I chose to battle the wind during the first half since my ride called for a 20 minute warm-up followed by 60 minutes, moving to a harder gear every 20. I did not want to end up in a hard gear going into the wind!

Sure enough the ride out sucked. I was crawling, barely able to hold 15 mph, dodging branches and trying to keep my bike from swerving too much with the gusts. I also hit a construction detour that had me up on the levy on gravel in a rather precarious situation. I was feeling pretty shitty by the time I got to Discovery to turn around. But thankfully I had a lovely headwind on the way back, and I was suddenly seeing 18+ mph with hardly any effort. When I got home I was more congested than ever and my head felt twice it's size - too much crap blowing around in the air! And so my plans to head into work that afternoon were foiled as I ended up on the couch once again sneezing and sniffling : /

This was my only intentional rest day this week as I was in San Francisco all day for another grad school interview. The interview was in small groups with other applicants which was a new format for me but I think I did pretty well. The campus has a pretty incredible location - literally right across from Pier 39 with amazing views of the Bay : ) Afterward I treated myself to an ice cream on the Pier and then headed back home. Thanks to traffic it took me twice as long the get back as it did to get there!
 Pier 39
 Alcatraz in the distance

I thought about squeezing in a swim after work but decided an extra rest day would probably be a smarter choice.

am: swim / 1,850 yds / 1:00
Another MTC group swim! The highlight of this workout was definitely practicing mass starts! About15 people crammed into two lanes and on "Go!" all vied for precious space in the water without getting pummeled. I managed to avoid getting kicked or elbowed, but it was mostly due to letting the more experienced folks go ahead of me.
  • warm-up: 150
  • main:
    • 12x25 drills (alt. 25 kick, 25 FTD, 25 CU)
    • 30 min of: 4x25 on 0:40, 2x50 on 1:05, 1x100 on 2:20 (completed 4 sets)
    • 4x25 mass start practice
  • cool-down: 100
post-swim soak!

pm: run / 10 mi / 1:31 / avg 9:08
Once again I had to work so I couldn't join the group for a post-swim run. I had 2:12 on deck but was thinking about doing a shorter missed bike workout after work instead. I asked my coach what she thought and decided that a shorter run was better. I was off at 5pm and knew it would be dark by 6:30pm, so I knew that fitting in the whole run wouldn't be possible (nor smart after being sick). Plus, I had plans to watch the Oscars with friends at 7pm. So I decided to just run my 10 mile route home after work!

My mom dropped my stuff off and I planned for my coworker to drive my car over later. We were super busy so I ended up starting 20 minutes late but I figured I'd still have some light for the majority of my run. It was kind of strange running the route backwards but it also made it go by faster for some reason. I started out feeling a little awkward but the first few miles came in at sub-9. It started getting dark once I reached the levy of the bike trail, but by then I was more than halfway done.

Whenever I run at this time of day I seem to experience I strange phenomenon. As soon as it gets dark, my pace slows. I don't feel like I'm putting out any less effort (in fact I often feel like I'm pushing more), and yet I start seeing times much slower, sometimes up to 30 seconds! Now this may simply be a case of slowing down as I get tired, but it's weird because I usually feel like I'm running fast. Anyway, this was the case last night, although it was probably a good thing that I slowed down. I also decided to forgo my HR monitor - after the week I'd had I knew it would probably be high and I didn't want to be frustrated. I felt surprisingly good though, although my lingering foot/ankle problem did make an appearance.

swim: 1,850 yards
bike: 78.4 miles
run: 17.7 miles
other: 0 hours
total time: 8.7 hours

February 20, 2012

Ironman Week 7



am: bike / 13 mi / 0:50 / avg 15.6 mph
Easy morning ride before work on a beautiful morning. Hard to believe that things are already blooming in February!

pm: swim / 1,350 yds / 0:40
  • warm-up:
    • 300
    • 200 kick variety
  • main:
    • 8x25 @ 1:40 on 0:40
    • 4x50 @ 1:40 on 1:05
    • 2x75 @ 1:40 on 1:55
    • 1x100 @1:40
  • cool-down: 200
Had a hot Valentine's Day with the pool! This was a pretty short workout but had me pushing the paces. The idea was to keep up the same pace (1:40/100yds) for progressively longer sets, finishing with a full 100 yards. The 25s and 50s were pretty doable, the 75s a bit more challenging but then again, I only had to do two! When it came time for the 100 I wasn't sure if I could hit it but I pushed hard and clocked a 1:38 : ) It's workouts like these that are hopefully making me a faster swimmer!

am: conditioning / 1:00
I was running a little late this morning, but when I got there at 10 after to my surprise I was the only one! It looked like I might be getting a little one-on-one training sesh but someone else ended up showing up. It ended up being an awesome workout with a bit more special attention : )

pm: bike / 20.4 mi / 1:15 / avg 16.3 mph
pm: run / 4.6 mi / 0:40 / avg 8:47
I had the day off and intended to get my brick out of the way in the early afternoon, but as soon as I got home from conditioning a nasty wind kicked up. This was a legit tree-bending, howling, gale-like wind and according to the forecast it was going to be here all day. I would rather train in any other conditions than wind - I loathe it. I kept hoping it would die down but eventually I just had to suck it up and brave the wind! Thankfully it ended up being mostly a crosswind for the bike ride. The trail had fallen branches and limbs all over though that required lots of attention and dodging. There was also a ton of deer out for some reason. I saw a cute little family of five and had to stop to take a pic : ) By the time I headed out for my run the wind actually had died down and I ended up having a great, quick run!

am: swim / 2,600 yds / 1:00
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 100 side kick
    • 100 CU
  • main:
    • 1x600 [200(5), 200(3), 200(choice)] on 12:30
    • 6x100 @ 1:55 on 2:05
    • 1x400 [200(5), 100(3), 100(3)] on 8:30
    • 4x100 @ 1:55 on 2:05
  • cool-down: 200
This was my longest swim ever! I decided to swim in the morning since it was an hour-long workout and it was such a refreshing way to start my day. The workout consisted of longer sets that alternated between breathing drills and paced 100s. The (x) designates the number of strokes between each breath. I usually do every 3, so 5 was a little weird to get used to, but not too difficult. I felt pretty strong throughout but was definitely tired the rest of the day!
 gorgeous flowered trees outside the gym

I had a short half hour run with hill repeats on the schedule that I was planning on doing after work, but I wasn't feeling too hot during the day and I ended up having to work an extra hour. I didn't get home til 8:30pm and with a long ride planned for the next morning, I thought the smart thing to do was skip the run. I felt pretty guilty for some reason, although I know I did the right thing.

am: bike / 50 mi / 3:09 / avg 15.8 mph
Thursday evening Facebook informed me that a couple of folks in my training group were planning on doing a 3 hour ride the following morning. I had 3 on deck as well and a late start at work so I was excited to do my first group ride! I knew going into it that these guys were faster than me, but they assured me that it was cool for me to tag along and that they'd be taking it "easy". So I meet them in Natomas and as we set out, I couldn't help but laugh. The three of them on their fancy Cervelo tri bikes and me on my dinky little road bike made for quite the sight!

From the start I knew my legs just hadn't showed up. We meandered though the neighborhood to the levy and immediately the guys took off. My friend Cris was nice enough to stay with me, assuring me that she hadn't been feeling very well so the slower pace was fine. I felt like I was pushing hard from the start, but was struggling to go faster than 15 mph. God it was frustrating! My heart rate was also way higher than it was supposed to be, but there was no way I was slowing down. We chatted to pass the time and riding through the fields was nice and peaceful. Before we knew it we were on familiar turf: the American River bike trail. We stopped a couple times to Gu and then cruised along til it was time to turn around. I tried out a new endurance drink (Gu Roctane - I'll be reviewing soon!) and tried to be more consistent with fueling. I also got some good feedback on my bike fit and why I may not be as efficient as I should be on my bike.
rural Natomas

For some reason we picked up some speed on the way back and I was feeling a little better. Although now 30+ miles in, my legs were tired for a different reason. My heart rate also dropped to a more appropriate zone and ended up averaging out to the prescribed zone 2. The second half of the ride ended up being much more enjoyable, but I won't lie, I was toast by the end. We got back with about 1.5 miles left to get to 50, so of course I made Cris circle the neighborhood til we hit the big 5-0! While I really enjoyed the company, I'm definitely not fast enough to be riding with these guys right now. Maybe with a new bike and more practice, but on such a long ride I know I shouldn't be pushing so hard. I just want to be faaaaasssst!

pm: bike / 14.2 mi / 0:50 / avg 17.0 mph
I squeezed this in after work on the trainer. I set up my bike in the garage where it was cooler and set up my laptop on the washing machine in front of me to have some entertainment. After a 15 minute warm-up the workout called for 6x45" (15" build, 30" sprint) on 5:00. The sprints were definitely challenging, but what I hate the most about pedaling so fast is how much it makes you bounce around in the saddle. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? After a 10 minute cool-down I was ready to be done. I honestly don't know how people spend hours on a trainer!
sweet set-up, right?

am: swim / 2,050 yds / 1:00
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 300 side kick (25 R/swim/25 L/swim)
  • main:
    • 12x25 w/ PB [3x 25(3), 25(5), 25(7), 25(9)]
    • 225 drill (25 FT/25 swim)
    • 12x25 (25 count stroke/25 hard)
    • 225 drill (25 CU/25 swim)
    • 12x25 (focus on "catch")
  • cool-down:
    • 100 hard
    • 100 easy
Another MTC group workout! They've become quite popular and this week we actually took up the entire pool! It was a fun workout with lots of longer sets broken up, focusing on technique and breathing. One of the standouts from the workout was the set with breathing ladders. Breathing every 3 and 5 strokes was easy, but when we got to 9, we were swimming an entire length with only 2 breaths! Thankfully using a pull buoy made it a little easier - without it I think I may have drowned : )

am: run / 13 mi / 2:01 / avg 9:21
Since I had the day off (rare on the weekend!) I was able to join the group for my long run. I had 2 hours on deck which was one of the longest of the bunch so I expected to be alone for most of the run, but figured there would at least be friendly faces out there. We headed out from the gym toward Discovery Park where we hopped on the bike trail. I quickly fell in with a few others at an easy conversational pace and chatted about (what else?) triathlon. After a couple miles two turned back and I continued on with an awesome chick, A, also training with my coach for her first Ironman, Arizona. My legs were tired from the start, which I attributed to my long ride two days before and that morning's swim. We trudged along, chatting to make the miles pass. I haven't had company on a run in quite some time so it was a nice change.

It warmed up pretty quickly and I hadn't brought along water, which in hindsight was not the best move. I probably could have done more fueling both before and during as I was pretty hungry and parched by the end. Lesson learned for next time! I was ready to be done as we got closer to Discovery. I had 10 more minutes to add on solo while A headed back to the gym. I finished up with 13 miles and even managed to keep my heart rate in zone 2! After refueling I cleaned up and headed to Davis to do a little bike shopping!

swim: 6,000 yards
bike: 97.6 miles
run: 17.6 miles
other: 1 hour
total time: 12.4 hours 

February 19, 2012

Bike Shopping!

Today I got to do something that was both exciting and a little daunting - bike shopping! Ever since signing up for Ironman I knew I'd need a new bike. My scrappy road bike has got me this far, but it's just not enough for the level of training and racing I'm now at. The biggest problem with it is the fit; my position on the bike and it's geometry is inefficient (and as a side note, also what caused my pinky paralysis issues). I know that some people do complete long course triathlons with road bikes not unlike mine, but I liken that experience to taking a cross-country road trip in a rusty old car that can't pass a smog check. Sure, it can probably make it, but it's not going to be a very comfortable, fast, or efficient trip.

My decision in choosing to get a triathlon-specific bike versus an aero road bike was driven primarily by two factors: first, I already own a road bike (a crappy one, yes, but a road bike nonetheless), and second, I see myself doing many more triathlons in the future so I'm looking at it as an investment. A well fit, good quality tri bike is also one of the easiest ways to gain speed. Granted it also takes a lot of hard work and time in the saddle, but it's simply a fact that the same person (i.e. me!) is faster on a tri bike than a road bike.

And so, with all that said, let's get to today's shopping experience! Per recommendation I'd made an appointment at Davis Wheelworks to take a look at some bikes. One issue with shopping for tri bikes is that most bike shops either don't carry them at all or only have a few models to try (often not in a range of sizes). DW is known for having the best selection in the region and also has an excellent customer service reputation. I wasn't quite sure what to expect going in, but it ended up being a fantastic experience and I left with so much more information than I expected.

When I walked in I was introduced to Cody, who I'd be working with, and then later Joe, who helped out, too. Both were great! Cody started off with an overview of tri bikes, asked if there was anything specifically I was looking for (ideally, a carbon frame) and then started to set up bike no. 1 for me to test! First up was a Cervélo. I know these have an excellent reputation and I know several people who have them and love them, so I had high expectations. He set up the P1 on the trainer, Cervélo's entry-level tri bike, and had me hop on.

For the next 15 minutes or so I was off and on the bike as he and Joe assessed my position and fit and made adjustments accordingly, including switching out saddles (what a difference!). It felt surprisingly comfortable, even being down so far in aero. Finally, they asked the big question: would I like to test ride it? I hesitated because I was extremely nervous about riding in the aero position and handling such a fancy bike. Both were very encouraging though and highly recommended test riding to get a real feel for the bike. I knew I'd have to do it eventually anyway, and I knew there was no way I was letting myself drop that kind of money on a bike I'd never actually rode. And so, after getting directions on where to go, I was out the door and riding my first tri bike!
Cervélo P1

First impression: it wasn't nearly as scary as I expected! I sat up on the handlebars as I rode out of the little downtown area but once I was out on the straightaway I took a deep breath and dropped down to the aero bars. It was actually really comfortable, and only a little bit scary : ) The handling was a little touchier than I'm used to (I was later told that is normal with tri bikes), but otherwise I could hardly believe the difference it made! I felt like I could ride for days, and I kept wishing I had my Garmin so I could see how fast I was going! After a ways I crossed the street and turned around to make my way back. I guess I was enjoying my fancy ride a little too much though because at some point I made a wrong turn and found myself completely lost : / I got plenty of practice stopping/starting at lights and stop signs as I wandered around, looking for something familiar. Finally I asked someone for directions and eventually made it back to the shop in one piece.

When I got back they had the next bike all set up and ready to go for me. It was a higher-end Felt, the DA4. I'd heard of this bike before and knew that it was waaaaayyyy out of my price range, but I went ahead and hopped on. Same thing, off and on followed by adjustments, but from the start this one just didn't feel quite as comfortable, especially in the arms. Once we got it dialed in I took it out for a ride, this time not nearly as anxious. I didn't go quite as far with the Felt because even on the road, something still just didn't feel great. I also paid close attention to my route and managed to make it back to the shop without any detours : )
Felt DA4
We didn't have enough time for a third bike, but I hung out for a bit and discussed my thoughts on the bikes and my options and got a lot of great advice and feedback. I will not be buying a bike I haven't tested, so I know my options are not endless, but I feel like I got a pretty good taste, and Cervélo and Felt make some of the best bikes out there. Because the P1 is aluminum I would prefer the next one up, the P2, which they are currently out of stock. It has the same exact geometry though, so it would feel pretty much exactly how the P1 did. They're also willing to give me a killer deal which puts the bike in my price range : )

So where do I stand now? Well, they aren't sure when exactly they'll be getting their P2s - sometime in March most likely. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but I was hoping to have (and have practiced on) my new bike for Oceanside 70.3 on March 31st. I'll be heading back again soon to test out the P3 they have in stock to get a better feel for the P2. One of the great things about DW is that after a fit session they save your measurements so that any future fits are faster and more efficient. In the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers that they'll get their P2s in asap!

February 13, 2012

Ironman Week 6


am: conditioning / 1:00
Another reason to get up early and get my sweat on? The reward of a chai latte : ) Leave it to Starbucks to have a cup for every holiday!

pm: swim / 1,900 yds / 0:50
I took advantage of my day off and hit up the pool after seeing my chiro about my ankle. Most of my swims are done long after the sun has gone down so it's a bit of a treat to go in the middle of the day. My goggles started leaking from the start and ended up being a huge pain in the ass. I could barely make it 50 yards without them filling with water! It was especially frustrating because I didn't have my backup pair with me : / Nothing too special about this workout. I started off feeling kind of "meh" but felt better as it progressed. My swims are starting to get longer and I'll admit it's nice to feel tired when I get out of the water!
  • warm-up:
    • 300
    • 4x50 kick, RI 10"
  • main:
    • 6x50 @ 1:50 on 1:15
    • 3x100 pull @ 1:55 on 2:10
    • 300 easy
    • 6x50 @ 1:50 on 1:15
  • cool-down: 200

am: bike / 15.5 mi / 1:00 / avg 15.4 mph
am: run / 3.25 mi / 0:30 / avg 9:20
Finally, my first brick of the season! I'm probably one of the few people who actually enjoy brick workouts : ) It was fairly short: 1 hour on the bike followed by a 1/2 hour run. It was a cold and damp day, but luckily the rain held off for most of the workout. The ride went by quickly (and only involved a little bit of mud) and then back at home I switched gear quickly and my dad & pup joined me for the first half of the run.
wet roads meant extra caution on the bike
yet another reason I love my Garmin - the multisport function!

am: conditioning / 1:00
The usual! As much as I hate getting up so early I love having an awesome workout done before most people have started their days : )

pm: swim / 2,000 yds / 0:48
  • warm-up: 300
  • main:
    • 3x300 @ 1:55-2:00 on 6:30
    • 6x100 @ 1:55 on 2:05
  • cool-down: 200
After Monday's goggle issues (after which I realized the pair are well over a year old) I bought some new ones at work. I got to the pool expecting to have a great workout with spanking new goggles, only to find that these leaked, too! The problem with the new pair was that the nose piece was too broad for my my face, so they wouldn't suction properly. They are the unisex version of my previous pair (womens specific fit), so I'm thinking that's the problem. So frustrating, though! I had to tighten them so much that by halfway through the workout I had a gnarly headache : / The workout itself was my longest yet, focusing on endurance with a lot of long sets. I was definitely a little tired but managed to hit all the paces I was supposed to.

pm: bike / 40 mi / 2:30 / avg 16.0 mph
Got my long ride done a little earlier in the week! It ended up being an awesome ride on an absolutely beautiful afternoon, ending with an unbelievably gorgeous sunset : ) It's nice to be riding longer now, if only for the confidence boost I get. I know I still have a long way to go, especially with speed, but it feels like progress. And with a 70.3 in 1.5 months, I definitely need it!
just incredible

Spent the day in Berkeley and nailed my first grad school interview : )

am: bike / 12 mi / 0:46 / avg 15.5 mph
Easy morning ride on another cloudy morning but luckily the rain held off!

pm: run / 5 mi / 0:46 / avg 9:13
I got off work earlier than usual for a Saturday so I had plenty of time to fit in my run before it was dark. I felt pretty good but was still running a bit slower than usual. And unfortunately, my ankle started nagging me during the run : / I took my pup with me, too, which always makes my runs a little bit better.

am: swim / 1,500 yds / 0:50
This was the first group swim for the Midtown Triathlon Club (which my coach is the head coach of). I hadn't swam with a group before so I didn't totally know what to expect. There was a range of experience and skills so we were split into lanes accordingly. The workout went fairly well and was pretty basic. One thing I'm really hoping to get out of these (other than the fun company!) is feedback on my stroke. I know what a difference proper form can make in efficiency and speed so improvement is definitely a priority for me.
  • warm-up: 2x150 [25 front kick, 25 R kick, 25 L kick, 25 kick on back, 50 easy]
  • main:
    • 6x50 @ 1:50 on 1:10
    • 100 CU
    • 5x50 @ 1:50 on 1:05
    • 100 FTD
    • 4x50 @ 1:50 on 1:00 (+ 50 because we can't count!)
    • 2x50 sprint (team relays)
  • cool-down: 100
pm: run / 6.5 mi / 1:00 / avg 9:16
To say I had trouble finding the motivation for this run is a bit of an understatement. I had initially hoped to run with the MTC group after our swim but with an hour on deck I wouldn't have finished in time to make it to work, so it got pushed til the evening. I've been exhausted lately (not sure why, but I have some ideas...) and after work all I wanted to do was go home and crash. This is one reason why having a coach is great - accountability. If I just had to answer to me, I can tell you for sure I would have skipped this run. Since that's not the case, I forced myself out the door first thing after I got home, before the couch could tempt me too much. It was raining and I knew it would be dark halfway through my run, but I sucked it up and ran. My ankle is bothering me again (boo) and my legs in general just seem heavy and slow. I struggled to maintain what is usually an easy pace for me. I'm hoping it's just the result of a long week of work and training.

swim: 5,400 yards
bike: 67.5 miles
run: 14.8 miles
other: 2 hours
total time: 11.1 hours

February 9, 2012

Thursday Things

1) ankle update
After my long run last week my ankle/foot got to the point where I could no longer ignore it, so I made an appointment to see my sports chiro on Monday. After taking a look at things he diagnosed the problem as loose ligaments in my foot caused from instability in the forefoot. Basically the front of my foot seems to be twisting in the opposite direction of my hind foot and this torsion has caused the ligaments to loosen. I've been feeling it in my ankle because the tendons connect at the sight of the torsion. As he was testing my feet you could actually see how much "floppier" my left foot was than my right. After talking more about my training, shoes, etc. we determined that it may be a result of my cycling shoes not supporting my feet properly. His suggestion was to try an insert in them and see how it goes. Well, I put a pair of Superfeet inserts in my cycling shoes before my ride on Tuesday and lo and behold, the pain is gone! Fingers crossed it's for good : )

2) grad school interviews!
So far I've been invited to interview at 2 of the 3 graduate programs I've applied to! Obviously I'm equal parts excited and nervous. Both programs are very competitive so I don't want to get my hopes up, but I also know it's a good sign to have made it to this step. Let's hope I make a good first impression! My first one is actually tomorrow (!!!), so I've been trying to brainstorm responses to potential questions and review as much about the program as possible. Oh, and I still need to figure out what to wear : /

3) long ride FTW
I took the day off work after waking up with severe jaw pain (something I deal with occasionally from stress) so I figured I'd move things around a bit with my workout schedule and take the opportunity to get my long ride out of the way. I headed out in the late afternoon with 2 hours 30 minutes on the plan. I haven't rode that long since Vineman so I planned to take it easy and just see how things went. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. 65 degrees in February with bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds made for perfect ride conditions. It felt so great to just be in shorts and short sleeves!

I did two out and backs on the bike trail, heading to Discovery Park first. My last couple rides have been pretty frustrating as I've struggled to hold certain speeds and my legs have felt heavy and slow. Things couldn't have been more different today! I was by no means riding fast but I maintained a decent speed for the entire ride and it felt easy. My legs felt fresh and strong which was such a great boost of confidence! Being my longest ride yet of this training cycle (by a full hour) I was worried it would drag on or I'd get tired but I felt great. I just cruised and enjoyed the beautiful day

The last leg of my ride coincided perfectly with an absolutely breathtaking sunset. I couldn't take my eyes off of the colorful sky and had to stop multiple times to get a few photos. It made the ride totally worth it : ) I finished with 40 miles under my belt, averaging 16 mph. I felt great when I finished, not depleted at all. It's these workouts that happen every so often that keep me coming back for more.

February 6, 2012

Ironman Week 5


I was all ready to go to conditioning but when I woke up my ankle was still nagging me. I didn't think jumping, lunging, etc. would be the best for it so I decided to skip class. I ended up feeling guilty the rest of the day, but I know it was probably the smart thing to do.

pm: run / 3.4 mi / 0:30 / avg 9:06
I have this thing where I have a "minimum" for my workouts. For example, if a run is not at least 4 miles, I typically don't think it's worth it. I have two very convenient 4 miles routes from my house plus I figure the workout time needs to justify the prep time before and after. Well my schedule called for 30 minutes, which would obviously be less than 4 miles. I almost thought about just going a bit further, but then told myself to stop being ridiculous. So I set out on my 4 mile loop only to turn back less than halfway through.

pm: swim / 1,550 yds / 0:36
This week was lighter in volume because it was time for progress tests! Spread over the week were repeats of the tests I did 4 weeks ago to see whether I'd made any progress. When I did my initial swim test, I wasn't expecting much and I was fairly pleased with how I did. I had only been in the water a couple times leading up to it but managed to average 1:55/100 yds. Obviously, I was hoping to improve that by at least a bit this time around. After a little warm-up I pushed start (on my pretty new Timex!) and was off for a broken time trial of 10x100 with 10 seconds rest. I tried not to go out too fast but rather at a comfortably hard pace I could hold. My swim time (minus the rest intervals) was 18:35 for 1,000 yards, averaging a 1:51/100yds. It was a small improvement, but considering that my training has not been very aggressive in the last few weeks I'll take it!
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 6x25 fast on 1:00
  • main: 10x100 [broken time trial]
  • cool-down: 200
in between catching my breath I had this to stare at : )
treated myself to a little jacuzzi action post-swim
am: conditioning / 1:00
Glad to get a good sweat in after skipping class on Monday!

am: bike / 12.2 mi / 0:45 / avg 16.2 mph
Easy late afternoon bike ride on a beautiful, day!

am: run / 5.4 mi / 0:45 / avg 8:23
Next up was the run test. Once again I was a little nervous, but not as bad as before the initial test. After a 10 minute warm-up I pressed 'lap' and increased the pace. It was uncomfortable to say the least. I had no idea how fast I was running because the current pace on my Garmin is always grossly inaccurate, so I tried to go off effort. I knew I had to be a little conservative since I had to hold it for 30 minutes. I also didn't look at my heart rate, because I honestly just didn't want to know. In the end, I did a bit better than last time. I covered 3.77 miles in 30 minutes for an average pace of 7:57. Heart rate, on the other hand, was about the same: 175 avg, 186 max. Once I got going my ankle/foot felt pretty good. I was aware of a little tenderness but it wasn't overly sore.


am: bike / 16.3 mi / 1:00 / avg 16.3 mph
Last but not least I had my bike test. I've been a little frustrated on my rides lately, so I was hoping to see a little improvement. I set out on the same course as last time and after a 15 minute warm-up I cranked it up to see how much ground I could cover in 30 minutes. Ironically, I ended up with the exact same results! I covered 8.77 miles for the time trial with an average speed of 17.5 mph. Heart rate was within a couple beats of last time with 156 avg, 167 max. I was a little bummed, but I know I just need to get more time in on the bike to see improvements.
Despite my test results the ride did have some fun highlights! The Jed Smith Ultra races were in progress while I was out there so I got to see runners in the middle of a 50k or 50 miler (consisting of the same 5 mile loop - over and over!) including a coworker of mine who was absolutely flying! On my way back I also spotted 3 young bucks standing along the side of the bike trail. We just looked at one another as I passed and I almost stopped to try and get a picture, but I figured I shouldn't press my luck. And lastly, I had my first experience with real bike shorts! How is this possible, you may wonder? Well, in the past I've always just worn tri shorts because I honestly didn't really think I needed the heavily padded bike shorts. Then I realized that this time around I'd be doing a lot more riding and doing much longer distances, so I bit the bullet and ordered a pair of shorts and knickers from Pearl Izumi. I'll do a full review soon, but let me just say: omg!

pm: swim / 1,600 yds / 0:44
Another Saturday night spent at the pool! For some reason this swim just sucked. It seemed to go on forever and I just felt awkward and sluggish in the water. My goggles also leaked the entire workout which added to my frustration and drove me crazy by the end of the workout!
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 100 hard kick w/ board
    • 100 side kick (alt)
  • main set:
    • 6x100 as [25 R/ 25 L/ 25 CU/ 25 FTD]
    • 8x50 fast, 20" RI
  • cool-down: 200

am: run / 11 mi / 1:40 / avg 9:05
Before heading out for the run I trigger pointed with the hope that it would help my ankle/foot feel better for the longer distance. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, but as I set out my ankle was still nagging. It wasn't enough to make me slow or stop, but it was slightly uncomfortable. I focused on my effort, trying to keep it at an easy pace, but despite this, the discomfort moved down into my foot and became worse as the run wore on. I actually finished strong pace-wise, running the last 3 miles at sub-9 pace, but I paid for it the rest of the day with a very tender ankle and foot : / I saw my sports chiro today so I'll have a separate post with an update soon.
golf course
"H" Street bridge

swim: 3,150 yards
bike: 28.5 miles
run: 19.8 miles
other: 1 hour
total time: 7.0 hours