March 30, 2012

Oceanside 70.3 Thoughts & Goals

To be honest, I feel like this race kind of crept up on me! I was just going along with my training, taking one week, one day at a time, and then bam!, it's race week. Oceanside 70.3 is the first big triathlon of the season, but with less than three months left til IM Cd'A (!!!) I figured it would be a good race to see where I'm at and figure out what needs to be tweaked or focused on in the upcoming months. With that said, here are my goals:

1) Practice my nutrition strategy. 
Admittedly this is a bit half-assed on my part. I tend to wing it with nutrition which leads to underfueling, especially on the bike, in both training and races. Despite this, I have yet to really come up with a fueling plan let alone practiced one. After talking to a few fellow triathletes I've come up with a plan I'll be trying for the first time tomorrow. I'm not adding any new products, simply coming up with a schedule to take more. Pre-race I'll do my usual breakfast and then a Gu just before the swim. 

The bike leg is where I know fueling is the most critical. I want to consume most of my calories in liquid form so I'll have my main bottle filled with 2 servings of Gu Roctane drink (480 cals). I plan to supplement this with a couple Gu (100 cals each) and Honey Stinger waffles (160 cals each), depending on what I feel like. My goal for the bike leg is 220 cals per hour, so every 10 miles or so I plan to check in on where I'm at and consume accordingly. On the run I'll carry 2 Gu with me and take them around miles 4/5 and 8/9 per usual.

2) Execute smart pacing.
I came across some excellent posts (here and here, thanks to Nicole!) on preparing and racing Oceanside and one of the things they both emphasized was the importance of smart pacing. I'll be wearing my HR monitor, so I plan to use that to gauge my effort throughout the day. For the swim I'll be relying on effort more than pace (since that's hard to determine). I'm not fast, but I think I've gotten stronger so I want to give a consistent effort that still feels comfortably hard. I'll focus on my breathing and my technique when I start to get fatigued. This will also be my first ocean swim, but I've heard the harbor protects swimmers from any major swells. I'm also hoping not to swallow too much salt water : /
swim course
The first 24 miles of the bike are flat and fast, but the final 32 are pretty hilly and the final 10 often have a nasty headwind. It's going to be crucial to pace myself on the first stretch so I have something left to get me up and over those hills. I have not done enough hill training on the bike so I am definitely nervous about the back half of the race (especially miles 30-36, yikes!), but hopefully if I don't go out too hard I'll survive them. 
bike course
just a few hills...
Fortunately the run is nice and flat, and this is where I plan to shave off a decent amount of time from my first 70.3. My open half marathon PR is a pace of 8:28, and according to the experts I should aim for 20-30 seconds slower, so I'll be aiming anywhere from 8:45-8:55.
run course
3) Practice racing long course.
One of the benefits I see to doing a 70.3 before a full Ironman (as opposed to just long training days) is the opportunity to practice race strategies. That means everything from fueling to transition, pacing to mental challenges. Like many, I tend to push myself more in a race setting, surrounded by other athletes and the adrenaline pumping. That's something you just can't simulate on a training day. I haven't raced a triathlon since last summer, so this will be both a refresher and a chance to see what I need to work on.

4) Improve my times.
Considering that I've done one 70.3 before, of course I want to improve on my times. But it goes a bit deeper than that. For Vineman 70.3 last summer I trained on my own with no set training plan. I was coming off of AR 50 so I was in decent shape, but I was starting almost from scratch with the swim and bike. I didn't really do any specific workouts, I just made sure I got to the point where I could cover the race distances and didn't worry too much about speed. This time around, things have obviously been different. I started training in January coming off of two marathon training cycles, and this time I had a coach. My training has been much more focused than before and also higher in volume. I've seen gains in all three disciplines, even just from when I started in January.

As such, I have some expectations for myself tomorrow. I keep thinking that compared to my training for Vineman, I should PR. If I don't, what does that mean about all the training I've been doing? I know that pending no disasters, I should have a good day and see some improvements. But I'm also trying not to put too much pressure on myself. Specifically, I'd like to improve my swim from 43 minutes to about 40. For the bike, I'd like to go from 3:25 to somewhere around 3:15. And on the run, I hope to make the biggest improvement, from a 2:12 to sub-2. I hope to be efficient and speedy with transitions and keep them under 5 minutes each. That gives me a goal finish time around 6 hours, compare to 6.5 at Vineman.

With all that said, I want to have fun. It's easy to forget that this isn't my job. Nothing serious depends on how well I do. While it's certainly fine to be competitive, I know for me it often causes me to lose sight of why I do this. And so tomorrow, my mantra will be something like relax, breathe, smile : ) If anyone wants to follow along, you can track me here. I'm bib no. 1899 and my wave starts at 7:27am. Wish me luck!

March 28, 2012

Triathlon Packing List

For those of you who have yet to dabble in the sport of triathlon, let me just tell you that it requires a lot of stuff. For past races, especially those I'm traveling to, I've found it easier and more efficient to make a list of all the gear I'll need. It's easy to forget something and I've found that this helps ensure I have everything I need (and then some). As I'm currently packing for my race this weekend (Ironman 70.3 CA in Oceanside!!!), I figured I'd share!

  • sweats
  • flip flops
  • sunscreen
  • Grid & Trigger Point kit
  • USAT card
  • confirmations/race info
  • towel
  • wetsuit
  • goggles
  • tri shorts
  • sports bra
  • trislide & body glide
  • Timex watch
  • helmet
  • shoes
  • sunglasses
  • gloves
  • pump
  • 2 bottles Gu Roctane drink
  • 1 bottle H20
  • tank top
  • race belt
  • arm warmers
  • socks
  • fuel (Gu, waffles, etc)
  • Garmin
  • flat kit
  • chapstick
  • hat/visor
  • shoes
  • fuel (Gu & salt caps)
  • Recoverite + shaker
  • CEP compression socks
  • shower wipes
  • camera

March 25, 2012

Ironman Week 12


Finally a week I feel pretty good about! I eased into it after being sick over the weekend but ended up having some killer workouts. Speed workouts in the pool, on the track, and on the bike, two brick workouts, and my first open water swim of the season were some highlights. And in non-triathlon related news, I got in to my second grad school!

Had a swim on the schedule but still felt pretty crappy so I skipped and rested instead.

am: bike / 16.7 mi / 1:00 / avg 16.7 mph
Easy hour ride before work. This was my first workout after being sick and I felt a little fatigued so I tried to keep the effort easy. I was still really congested so it was quite the snotfest!
ahhh no rain and clear skies!

am: swim / 1,400 yds / 0:40
  • warm-up:
    • 300
    • 100 kick
  • 8x100 @ 1:30 on 3:00
  • cool-down: 200
Oh boy, this one was a doozy! This was basically the swim equivalent of a track workout and nearly killed me. I was nervous going into it because 1:30s are literally an all out sprint for me and I was still feeling a bit crappy from my cold. I figured I'd do my best and see what I ended up with. Thank goodness I had so much rest between 100s because they were hard. I averaged more like 1:35 but was happy with the effort. I'd much rather swim long and easy than short and fast, but I know it's the latter that will get me faster.

After the storm that stretched through last week we were treated to an absolutely gorgeous day complete with sun and warm temps. I had the day off so when I finished my swim I laid out to dry for a while and watched the masters swimmers (side note: it amazes me how fast these people swim and how effortless they make it look!). It only took 30 or 40 minutes (plus my swim) before I developed a lovely one-piece burn on my back : / Totally worth it to enjoy the sun though!
ohhh yeaaaa

pm: run / 5.4 mi / 0:50 / avg 9:23
Keeping the anaerobic theme going for the day I had a track workout later that evening. I haven't done a track workout in ages so I was actually kind of looking forward to it. I parked my car between my house and the Sac State track and ran the 10 minutes there as a warm up. I had 8x400 @ 7:30 pace (1:52 per lap) with 2 minutes walk/jog recovery. On each repeat I found myself struggling to stay at the prescribed pace - my legs wanted to run faster! Since 400s are pretty short intervals I feel like they should be all out, or close to, and 7:30s just felt a bit too easy. Anyway, here are my splits: 1:38, 1:46, 1:48, 1:48, 1:47, 1:48, 1:49, 1:49. I generally ran the first 200 way too fast only to slow way down on the latter half to try and get closer to the 7:30 goal. Cooled down back to my car and was spent for the day!

pm: bike / 17.2 mi / 0:57 / avg 18.1 mph
This was both an interval workout and a brick. After a 15 minute warm up I had 8x2' in Z5 with 2' easy spin recovery. I'd had trouble before getting my heart rate high enough on bike intervals so I asked a coworker for some tips. They suggested both a hard gear and high cadence; I tried this and managed to get into Z4 and reach speeds in the 20+ mph range, but Z5 remained elusive. It was still a hard effort though so I'll take it as a win!
a weird and cloudy sky made the sun look like a spotlight

pm: run / 2.4 mi / 0:20 / avg 8:32
Easy transition run post-bike. As usual with my brick runs, my pace was faster than normal, but I actually managed to keep my HR in Z2! This was like a mini breakthrough for me to be able to run faster but keep my HR low. Woohoo!

am: bike / 16.2 mi / 1:00 / avg 16.2 mph
Easy morning ride before work. My legs were tired (as they should be after 2 days of hard workouts!). The schedule called for Z1 since it was a recovery ride, but I was still frustrated to see the slower speeds. Gotta work on this!
wild turkeys!

am: run / 5 mi / 0:45 / avg 9:01
The schedule called for a warm-up followed by 30 minutes at "race pace". I'd asked my coach what exactly that pace should be and she'd told me half Ironman run pace, which I decided was around 9:00 per mile. I ended up running the middle three miles at 8:57, 8:47, and 8:42. Close enough I guess!

am: swim / 800 yds* / 0:20
Our first open water swim of the season! It was supposed to storm all day but fortunately it held off. The MTC group met up at Beals Point at Folsom Lake and donned our wetsuits. The lake is super low so we had a long walk down to the water. The temps were in the low 50s - now if you're like me, you don't really have any concept of how cold or warm certain water temps are. But let me just tell you, friends, this water was freeeeeezing!! Seriously, my feet hurt for a good 5 minutes before they finally went numb. It took us all a good 10 minutes to work our way in. Finally we decided to set out for a buoy and when my face hit the water I thought my brain had frozen. It was so cold it was hard to breath and made me a little disoriented. We made it to the buoy and by then all exposed parts were sufficiently numb. It was way too cold to really get in a good swim workout though so we headed back to shore and called it more of a "mental toughness" workout ; )

*Obviously, the distance is estimated.

pm: bike / 36 mi / 2:00 / avg 18 mph
I wanted to get my brick done before it potentially started raining so I headed out as soon as I got home from my swim. I was pleased to find that I was able to keep up speeds of 18+ mph while still keeping my HR in Z2. The rain held off despite the prevalent clouds and it actually warmed up as the sun peeked out.
crazy clouds

pm: run / 1.8 mi / 0:15 / avg 8:24
Another transition run, this time at "race pace". Again, it was a bit faster, but it was hard to slow down on a 15 minute run!

swim: 2,200 yards
bike: 86.1 miles
run: 14.6 miles
other: 0 hours
total time: 8.1 hours

March 22, 2012

Shamrock'n Half Marathon (Race Report)

Well folks it seems I'm a little late on this one, aren't I! I meant to write it up last week but then I got sick and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch Friends reruns. Since it was a PR race for me, however, it's deserving of a few words. And so, on to the recap!

Leading up to the race I didn't have a whole lot of time to dwell on it or think about any kind of race strategy. The week of Shamrock'n happens to be the busiest week of the year at my store so it was a bit of a whirlwind then before I knew it, it was Sunday and time to race! Back when I signed up months ago I thought I'd want to race it and go for a PR, but then more recently I'd considered just running it for fun since I hadn't really been training for it (i.e. low running mileage and no speedwork). But then I checked out my schedule for the week and my coach had me running 1:50. That would be a 5 minute PR and required a very intimidating pace! A couple people I knew were also shooting for around the same time so I figured I'd start with them in the 1:50 group and just try and hang on; if I had to slow I'd be ok with that. After all, if you don't try, you'll never know!

My wonderful mom dropped myself and a couple coworkers off near the start at Raley Field. It was overcast and cool, perfect as long as the rain held off! We dropped our stuff off and hit the bathroom, and then headed back outside the stadium to warm-up. Thanks to daylight savings it was dark when we arrived but that meant we got to watch the sunrise : ) My coworker, Courtney, was aiming for the same time as me so we decided to stick together as long as we could and push each other. My nerves had kicked in that morning so it was nice to have someone to talk to and keep me distracted. I felt that I could physically run a 1:50, but I was worried about the mind games I play with myself. Part of my problem with "racing" is that I'll start at a certain pace and immediately my head tells me "woah there, this is super fast, if it's hard for one mile how on earth do you plan on keeping it up for x miles??" So going into this I knew what to expect and I had my response ready to shut me up.
 Raley Field
 Sacramento skyline
Courtney & I

Shamrock'n starts in waves (which is brilliant) and we were in wave 1. After a little warm-up jog Courtney and I weaved our way through the crowd to find the 1:50 pacer. We stationed ourselves by her side until the gun went off and then it was time to go! Surprisingly, the pace didn't feel all that fast right out the gate. I just stuck close to the pacer and focused on taking short, quick steps. We had to do some weaving but eventually the crowd thinned out and we fell into a rhythm. We crossed over Tower Bridge and within a couple miles we hit our first big landmark and cheering crowds at the Capitol. I was also pleasantly surprised to see my dad so early on in the race! Our first few miles were fast - low 8s - but it felt comfortable.
 Tower Bridge
 here come the runners!
Courtney & I at Capitol Park

mile 2 ish
live music

We continued through downtown and midtown before hopping on the bike trail. I saw a few more familiar faces - one of the perks of running a race in your hometown - and was feeling pretty good. This was the stretch I was least looking forward to. I ride this part of the bike path all the time so I figured it would be familiar and boring. Courtney and I had put some distance between the pace group and ourselves but around mile 6 I noticed them creeping up on us. This was also when I had to start focusing so I wouldn't slow. At some point I looked to my side and noticed that Courtney had disappeared. I looked behind me and saw the 1:50 group stampeding toward me but no Courtney. I was bummed she fell back but I knew she hadn't been feeling well so I pushed on.
trying to hang on!

Out of the blue I found another familiar face next to me, my triathlon training buddy, Julie! She was shooting for 1:50 as well and gave me just the boost I needed at that point. I focused on staying with her for the next mile or so until we hit Discovery Park (mile 7.25). As we crossed over the green Jiboom bridge the 1:50 group finally overtook us. Julie was running really strong, but I was starting to fade. The next mile was along the levy overlooking the Sacramento River and was when I finally fell behind the pace group. I kept them in my sights and focused on my own pace and overall time and knew I was still close to my goal.
 Julie & I
showing some leg!
At mile 9 we hit Old Sacramento and more cheering crowds but I was struggling at this point and barely registered any of it. Honestly, the next couple miles were a blur as well. I remember noticing that we were running on a section of the Urban Cow Half Marathon course, but other than that I just kept my eye on the pace group and tried not to let the gap between us get bigger. I knew I was going to be close and I kept trying to do math to predict my time, but as you may know this is not such a good idea at this point in a race - all the blood is in the legs, not the brain! With about a mile to go I saw my parents again and then I spotted my friends and coworkers Chris & Erin who had both just won the race. Yes, they won the entire race. I have fast friends : ) They gave me the final boost to push it for the last half mile. I crossed over Tower Bridge and circled around the stadium before entering onto Raley Field. I saw the time clock and kicked it into a final sprint, and crossed the line in 1:51:13 - a 4 minute PR!
 the final mile!

I waited past the finish line for Courtney who finished with a solid sub-2 time and chatted with some folks from my triathlon group. Everyone seemed to have had a pretty good time out there and several people finished with PRs. It felt great to be done, but also to have left it all out there. I've run a lot of races for fun, but racing one is different and offers a whole different type of satisfaction. Did I hit my goal? No, I came up a minute short (hmmm is this a trend??) but I am proud of myself nonetheless. If you would've told me even just 6 months ago that I'd be running 13 miles at 8:28 pace I would've laughed in your face. But perhaps the biggest victory of this race was that I was able to silence that little voice.
shiny new PR : )
thanks to my awesome running partner!

Lucky for me I had the rest of the day off so we went to breakfast and then I came home and took a pretty glorious nap before meeting up with the race winners and a couple other friends for dinner. It was a pretty great day : )

March 19, 2012

Ironman Week 11


This week had the potential to be pretty awesome, but a couple things ended up getting in the way. First, the forecast for the week turned out to be accurate (for once):

I still managed to get in several workouts despite the showers, including an epic 3 hour ride in monsoon-like conditions. That, however, may have lead to the next buzzkill of the week: getting sick : / For those keeping track, this is the second illness I've experienced since starting Ironman training, and hopefully the last (here's to more sleep, healthy eats, good recovery, and lots of sanitizer!). I'm still kind of bummed that the last couple days of training this week were a bust, but I'm trying to look forward and not dwell on something I can't change.

pm: swim / 900 yds / 0:20
  • main:
    • 8x50 swim golf, RI = 20"
    • 5x100 easy, RI = 10"
This was a recovery swim following Sunday's half marathon (still working on the report!). It felt weird to be swimming so little, but it did feel good to get in the water and shake my legs out. I still don't really "get" swim golf. I understand the concept, but can't seem to execute it correctly!
the only blue sky we had this week
am: bike / 17.3 mi / 1:00 / avg 17.3 mph
When I headed out for this ride the sky was dark and ominous, but I thought I might luck out and just miss the rain. I got about 10 minutes in before it started sprinkling : ) Thankfully, though, it never come done too hard. The workout called for a 15' warm-up followed by 5x3' build to Z4 with RI = 3'. As much as I tried, I could not get my heart rate up! I tried increasing my cadence, trying harder gears, but I barely ventured into zone 3. In hindsight, this might have been a more effective workout inside.

I had an easy 30 minute run on deck for after work but I got out late and it was raining pretty hard and I just could not convince myself to go.

am: swim / 2,350 yds / 0:55
  • warm-up: 450 as 100 swim/50 kick
  • main:
    • 4x [4x100 @ 1:45 on 1:55 (extra 30" btw sets)]
  • cool-down: 300
Oh boy, this one was a doozy! The focus of this workout was "anaerobic", which basically means sans oxygen. Think speedwork, but in a pool. The main set nearly killed me - essentially 16x100 at my threshold (aka tempo) pace, with just 10" rest. Somehow I made it through and managed to hold the pace, but wow, I was spent!

pm: bike / 25.5 mi / 1:30 / avg 17 mph*
I was working a split shift so I figured I could squeeze in my 90 minute ride between shifts. I'd been hoping the rain would take a break or at least lighten up, but when I got home is was still coming down pretty hard so I made the difficult (for me) decision to hop on the trainer instead. I threw on a movie (The Life Aquatic - one of my faves) which made it a little better, but I think 90 minutes may be my max. I also couldn't figure out how to make my speed/cadence sensor work on my new bike so this was the first time I went without the Garmin (!!!). Twas a big step for this type-A girl. *As such, my distance and speed are estimated (but comparable to what I've been riding outside lately).


pm: bike / 53 mi / 3:05 / avg 17.2 mph
This was the workout that made me question my sanity a bit. And quite possibly made me sick : / Still, it was a pretty epic ride. I'm actually proud of myself for handling the stormy conditions so well (aka without crashing) while also managing to average a pretty decent speed. This was my first long ride on my new bike, too, and it was amazing how much more comfortable it was! My legs, especially, felt much stronger and fresher by the end than they did before. I still need to work on fueling better, including before (I was starving by the time I started the run). Would I do it again...probably : ) I just loathe the trainer that much!
my hideout during a particularly intense downpour
no, that's not a river, it's the bike path : /
pm: run / 4.8 mi / 0:45 / avg 9:22
I didn't feel great going into this run. It wasn't right off the bike as I needed to clean my bike and change into dry clothes (which, btw, has never felt so good!). I was hungry and just felt a little rundown. I kept the pace nice and easy, but it still felt like a loooong 45 minutes. Ironically, it hardly rained on me. I guess Mother Nature decided I'd had enough for the day?

To be honest, I'd felt a little "something" Friday morning, and I think the long workout in the rain just pushed me over the edge into full fledged sick. I spent the day on the couch with a throbbing headache, congestion, and a fever. It was especially frustrating to get sick when I was having such a good week of training and I knew I just had a few more workouts left to finish off my biggest week yet. Instead, I spent the weekend inside, miserable. I know in the big picture a couple days and a few workouts aren't a big deal, but it sucks nonetheless.


swim: 3,250 yards
bike: 95.3 miles
run: 4.8 miles
other: 0 hours
total time: 7.6 hours

March 16, 2012

Call Me Crazy

Ironman training has been known to cause many things - exhaustion, insatiable hunger, a lack of social life - and as I learned today, questionable judgment. For all you other Californians, you know that this week's forecast has resembled this:

Just as predicted, it started storming Monday evening and has continued throughout the week. Normally I don't mind the rain, especially when it's not especially cold. In fact I kind of like running and swimming in the rain. But cycling.... that's another story. As luck would have it, this week's training just happened to be heavy on the bike, leaving me in quite a predicament. Tuesday morning I woke to cloudy, dark skies, but no rain...yet. About 5 minutes into my hour-long ride however, the promised rain finally began to fall. Thankfully it wasn't too heavy, but it certainly did not make for a very enjoyable ride. I slowed down and took the turns easy, and was happy when it was done. For Wednesday's 1.5 hour ride I opted to stay dry and do the workout on my nemesis - the trainer. I loathe the trainer and generally try to avoid it as much as possible. Part of it is the boredom, and the other part is that I don't like not having my data recorded (type A much?). I threw on a movie which made it a bit more bearable, but I've decided that 90 minutes is my max on the trainer.
I can think of a million other things I'd rather do.
Fast forward to today. It was my day off, so my coach had scheduled my longest workout of the week - a 4 hour brick (3:15 bike, 0:45 run). I'd been checking the forecast the past couple days hoping for a break in the storm, but the hourly forecast had the chances of rain at 90-100% all day. All morning I went back and forth, weighing my options. I even Googled "cycling in the rain" and "long rides on a bike trainer" to try and help me with my decision. As it got closer to when I needed to start my ride the rain had still not let up. A final thought of how 3+ hours would be double the misery I felt on Wednesday's trainer ride and I knew I was going to brave the elements.

I dressed in layers and loaded up my bike with fuel and then I set out. It was raining, but not too hard. I wasn't totally sure how long I'd last out there and kept thinking I'd knock out as much as I could tolerate and then head home and finish on the trainer. The first 10 miles or so the rain wasn't too bad, but there was a nasty sidewind that had me gripping my bike for dear life. It subsided a bit after a while, but of course then the rain picked up. I rode to Hazel then turned back, thinking I'd head home. But as I got closer the rain and wind died down and the clouds lightened so I decided to head out the other direction and see how far I could get. Not surprisingly, it soon began to pour. Within minutes I was sopping wet. The rain was falling so hard it seemed to be coming from both the sky and the ground. I got so overwhelmed by the downpour that I stopped under an overpass for a few minutes hoping it might let up, but it was in vain. I decided I'd just try and make it home from there and headed back out.
my temporary shelter

I ran into a coworker and stopped to commiserate as it began to rain even harder. At this point I was pretty miserable and seriously wondering what the hell I was thinking. With about six miles back to my house I set out again. As I got closer to home, however, the rain let up a little and I started thinking I'd add on a little more in the opposite direction that I'd gone initially (sensing a trend?). Physically I was actually feeling really good. My legs were spinning easily and despite having to slow significantly to take turns safely, I was maintaining speeds between 17-18 mph. With about 40 minutes to go it once again started dumping. The sky looked a little lighter in the direction I was heading so I kept hoping it would let up, but no luck.

I cut the ride 10 minutes short because after going up and down the bike trail in that weather I could not handle even one more second out there! When I got home I spent a good 15 minutes hosing down and drying off my bike before peeling off my own soaking clothes and changing into dry run clothes. Oh my goodness did that feel good! If only I didn't have to head back out in the rain for a 45 minute run : / In the end I completed 53 miles on the bike and a 4.8 mile run in weather that kept 99% of people inside. I like to think of it as character building, but you could just as easily call me crazy : )

March 11, 2012

Ironman Week 10


This was a pretty darn good week if I do say so! With a race on Sunday it was a bit of a cutback week but still had some quality workouts. We lucked out this week with amazing weather so I was happy to spend some time in the sunshine getting my sweat on. Highlights from the week include a fun and hilly ride through the countryside, getting some really exciting news about my future, and setting a new half marathon PR. Not bad, right?

pm: conditioning / 0:30
  • 2x20, RI = 60-90"
    • leg press
    • lat pull down 
    • push ups
    • step ups
    • seated row
    • ball crunches
    • 30" plank hold
I had the day off and kicked it off with a massage. My coworker swears by his massage therapist (who happens to work with my sports chiro), Todd, so I decided to give it a shot. He specializes in athletes and sports massage and uses techniques like ART to work out the muscles. Since it was my first time I think he went kind of easy on me but there were definitely some moments that had me sweating : ) My legs felt great (if a little beat up) after, so I'll definitely be back, especially after a big week of training. It's certainly not your usual relaxing rub down but it sure is effective!

Afterward I headed to the gym to get in my first workout of the day. My coworkers Erin and Chris happened to be there so Erin and I hit the weights and did the same workout as last week before heading out to the pool. It was an insanely gorgeous day (think mid 70s with a light breeze) so I threw on a bikini and got my tan on : ) It felt weird not swimming while at the pool, but it was also kind of nice.

pm: run / 5 mi / 0:47 / avg 9:34
The last thing I wanted to do after a relaxing day was head out for a run. I hadn't eaten since breakfast since I went straight to the gym after my massage, so I threw something together and was out the door a bit later. I don't know if it was what I ate or when but I had terrible heartburn on this run! My legs felt great but I had to slow way down from the discomfort in my chest. Got it done, though!

am: swim / 1,850 yds / 0:45
Lately I've really been loving swimming in the morning, despite having to get up early. With the weather we've been having the water feels great and it just seems to set the tone for the rest of the day leaves my evenings a little more free (although usually for other workouts!). The 200 pulls in the main set of this workout nearly killed me. I thought they wouldn't be too bad since I'd be using the pull buoy but holy crap, my arms! It was all I could do to hit the 1:45 pace and man did my shoulders and forearms burn!
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 100 side kick
    • 100 S2S
    • 100 easy
    • 6x25 fast on 0:45
  • main: 5x200 pull @ 1:45 on 4:30
  • cool-down: 200
had it all to myself : )

pm: run / 3.4 mi / 0:30 / avg 9:01
It's always hard to get out the door for these short runs after work. Now that it's going to be light out when I get off I'm hoping it's a little easier. I took my pup with me and ended up having a great, invigorating run. I love when that happens : ) I also got a special delivery earlier in the day: a box full of Gu, including a giant canister of their new Roctane drink. I think I should be set for a while!

am: bike / 23 mi / 1:31 / avg 15.1 mph
A great ride up in Granite Bay, practicing hills on the new bike! Gorgeous (but windy) day with lots of great country scenery.

I never really post about food, but I couldn't help but include the lunch I put together after my ride. Being a vegetarian and training for an Ironman, I've been trying to eat fairly cleanly and include plenty of protein in my diet. This is one of my favorite things to make and is pretty darn healthy to boot. I'll often make enough to take to lunch as it's easy to transport and assemble, too. First I cook some quinoa (I do it like pasta as opposed to rice and just drain off the excess water) then I add a can of rinsed black beans and some chopped black olives. I add a few spoonfuls of salsa and several generous dashes of hot sauce to the mix. I top a bed of greens with the mixture and then sprinkle a little cheese and add some chopped avocado. Lots of protein, greens, and healthy fats. And delicious! Win win!
am: bike / 11.5 mi / 0:40 / avg 17.2 mph
Easy, short morning ride before work. My wrist was really sore from my ride the previous day since I was up on my handlebars for most of it, so it felt great to get down into aero. I was running a little late so I cut it short by 5 minutes, but figured it balanced out since I rode longer the day before.

This was the first day of packet pick-up for our race, the Shamrock'n Half Marathon, so work was pretty crazy. But my day got infinitely better when I got a little voicemail with some great news:
I'm still waiting to hear from one more school, but I am absolutely thrilled : ) It's quite a relief, too, that my future is no longer up in the air. I really liked the school and program and love the location (San Francisco is hard to beat), so I can definitely see myself there next year. I should know about the other program by the end of the month, so we'll have to see whether I have a tough decision to make.
a little treat to celebrate : )

am: swim / 2,600 yds / 1:00
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 200 choice drills (back kick, FTD, CU, S2S)
  • main:
    • 500 @ 2:00 on 10:30
    • 5x100 @ 1:50 on 2:10
    • 500 @ 1:55 on 10:30
    • 5x100 @ 1:50 on 2:10
  • cool-down: 200
The focus of this workout was clearly endurance with the sets of 500 as the main workout. I wasn't looking forward to it but it ended up being a great workout. When I got there in the morning the pool was super crowded but I managed to snag a lane to share. The 500s weren't as bad as I thought and I nailed the paces. It feels good to do these longer workouts and feel strong - gives me a nice boost of confidence!
rest work was insane! Saturdays are usually busy, but add in the last day of packet pick-up and it's an absolute madhouse. I had a 20 minute shake-out run on my schedule but skipped it as I was way too exhausted after work, and I did enough running around while I was there!

am: run / 13.2 mi / 1:51 / avg 8:26
One of the perks of working at a running store is getting to run our races for free. I'd signed up for the Shamrock'n Half Marathon a while back, hoping to race it and PR. In the last couple weeks, however, I hadn't been sure if I was up for racing it since I've been running less mileage and doing little speedwork. But then my coach put a fast time on my schedule and the seed was planted, so I raced it! I'll have the full race report soon, but suffice it to say I must be doing something right with my training because I ended up with a 4 minute PR : )
 post-race at Raley Field
new half PR!

swim: 4,450 yards
bike: 34.5 miles
run: 21.5 miles
other: 30 minutes
total time: 7.7 hours