April 23, 2012

Ironman Week 16


A much better week mentally than the last! I'm now 9 weeks out from Cd'A (ummm what!?!?!) and things are progressing, but I'm still waiting to peak. I can't help but compare my training to others, and I feel like I'm behind. I keep telling myself to trust my coach, but I'm ready for epicly long bike rides, marathon-worthy runs, and extra long pool seshes. All in good time, I suppose. Do me a favor and remind me of my griping when I'm living and breathing triathlon training every waking moment in the next couple months, ok?

pm: swim / 1,800 yds / 0:45
  • warm-up:
    • 300
    • 3x100 smooth technique
    • 3x100 as 50 kick/50 swim focus on kick
  • main:
    • 12x50 sprint (trying for 45"), RI = 30"
  • cool-down: 300
Although I love my pool most of the time, one of my pet peeves is the masters group. They workout there twice during the day on weekdays, and although they are only supposed to be in 6 of the 8 lanes, leaving 2 for other lap swimmers, they almost always use them all. When I got there it was no exception, but I was determined to get my swim in. I'm a paying member after all! The coach didn't acknowledge me or the other guy trying to swim, so I just got in the lane, politely asked the guy if he minded splitting, and that was that. It was a pretty straightforward workout, and I managed to nail the sprints, averaging about 46 seconds. The long rest helped!

Also, this finally came in the mail:

My USAT membership card! I registered almost a month ago and it took forever to come. No more paying for one-day membership!

am: bike / 23 mi / 1:20 / avg 17.2 mph
Easy morning ride. Such a beautiful, warm morning! Looks like my easy rides are now getting longer than an hour.

pm: run / 4.2 mi / 0:34 / avg 8:01
My first MTC track workout! I haven't been able to make them in the past due to work but I requested to have Tuesday evenings free. Not a huge turnout but still fun to have company. Also my first time running on a dirt track! Oldschool : ) We did a 0.5 mile warm-up followed by some drills then the main workout: 3x1200 hard (5:22, 5:25, 5:30) with 400 recovery. I always have trouble pacing myself on longer intervals as I tend to start too fast and then fade, but I think I did pretty well on these. Finished it off with a 0.5 cool-down.

pm: conditioning / 0:30
  • 3 x 20, RI = 1' btw sets
    • squat
    • lat pull down
    • step ups
    • push ups
    • seated row
    • hamstring curl
    • ball crunch w/twist
    • plank (1:00, 0:45, 0:30)
Just the usual strength workout. I had a split shift at work so I was pressed for time. Instead of the one minute rest between sets I alternated between two different exercises (i.e. squats/push ups) to get it done a bit faster. I'm loving the addition of strength workouts again!

pm: bike / 29 mi / 1:58 / avg 14.7 mph
My solo day out on the hills in Folsom, and part one of the Thursday Trifecta workouts!
 turnaround at the top
 a ride with a view
American River

pm: run / 2.3 mi / 0:20 / avg 8:42
Transition run! First 10 at race pace effort, last 10 easy.

pm: swim / 2,300 yds / 1:00
  • warm-up:
  • 200
  • 100 kick choice
  • main:
    • 6x50 swim golf
    • 5x100 on 2:15
    • 50 easy, non-free
    • 5x100 on 2:00
    • 50 easy, non-free
    • 5x75 on 1:45
    • 25 easy
  • cool-down: 4x50 swim golf
MTC group swim and a swim breakthrough! Hit my goal paces (100s @ 1:41-1:45, 75s @ 1:44) and felt strong. I also semi-mastered swim golf (a drill to improve distance per stroke) - my best score is 94. My swim mojo has been lacking the last couple weeks so it felt great to finally feel good in the pool. Also pleased to have such a good workout after my ride and run earlier.


am: bike / 22.5 mi / 1:16 / avg 17.8 mph
Intervals on the bike!  Got the heart pumping with a heart rate ladder:
  • 20:00 warm-up Zone 1/2
  • 15:00 Zone 3
  • 5:00 Zone 1/2
  • 10:00 Zone 4
  • 5:00 Zone 1/2
  • 5:00 Zone 5
  • 5:00 Zone 1/2
  • 10:00 cool-down Zone 1
It was unusually warm and humid out and the bike trail was crowded with training groups but it was still a great morning for a ride. I felt a tad sluggish at first, but felt better as I went. I still struggle to hit the higher zones on my bike - I can't even get close to Z5 unless I'm climbing! I had my bike in the hardest gear combo and had my cadence as high as I could go and only got to mid Z4. It's also a little challenging (and dangerous!) to go so fast on the winding bike trail. It was funny how easy certain gears and speeds felt after pushing so hard - maybe it just warms up my legs? Definitely a solid workout!

pm: run / 12.1 mi / 2:00 / avg 9:57
I couldn't fit this in before work so I talked a coworker into joining me after work. We had a bit of a "heat wave" here in Sacramento over the weekend, and when we set out for our run around 5:30pm my phone showed a cool 89 degrees! The heat definitely took it's toll, making us feel pretty sluggish, but we just kept the pace easy, drank lots of water, and stopped when we needed to.

We tried a new route that felt like we were on a tour of the city! We started in midtown and headed downtown to the Tower Bridge, along the Sacramento River into West Sac near the marina, up Broadway to Land Park which we circled before heading back through downtown. It was bit slower than usual, but that was to be expected. It was great to have company as I would have been miserable on my own (thanks Court!), and I look forward to more runs together.
Tower Bridge
Sacramento River waterfront path
 flowers bloomin' everywhere!
Land Park
After an hour it started to cool off a bit and was actually a beautiful evening, but that first hour sucked! I definitely need more time to adjust to these warmer temps. Probably thanks to our thirst and empty bellies we started randomly craving a root beer float and talked about it for a good half hour. So of course, the first thing we did after finishing was head to decadent Rick's Dessert Diner for a float : ) Totally hit the spot!
ohhhhh yes!

swim: 4,100 yards
bike: 74.5 miles
run: 18.6 miles
other: 30 minutes
total time: 9.7 hours

April 19, 2012

Thursday Trifecta

Days off from work always tend to be big training days, and today was no exception! Over the course of the day I completed a triathlon workout trifecta: swim, bike, and run, though not in that order. It was a long day, but included some awesome workouts!

I usually let myself sleep in a bit and spend my mornings off relaxing. This meant that didn't start my first workout today until almost 3pm, and with the heat wave we had, it probably would have been smarter to do it in the morning. Oh well! I had a 2 hour "hilly" ride on the schedule followed by a 20 minute transition run, half at race pace. I didn't really know where to ride since I mostly just stick to the bike trail on solo rides so I texted my coach. She suggested an out-and-back route around Folsom Lake and promised it would be nice and hilly : ) It was pretty straightforward so I figured I probably wouldn't get lost, and the elevation profile looked like it would make for quite a challenging ride, perfect prep for Wildflower.
the route!

I was a wee bit apprehensive about riding on open roads by myself, but I think I did pretty well and when I was finished I was quite proud of myself! No crash, no flats, no falls, no getting lost...I'm calling it a win! I started from Folsom Bike and rode up Folsom Dam Road, crossing over the American River. Within the first couple miles I hit the first hill, a long and gradual climb. I wasn't focused on speed at all for this ride, I just wanted to practice climbing and gain a bit more experience and confidence on hills. From there I turned down Green Valley Road and then onto Salmon Falls, where I did the majority of my climbing.

Fortunately most of the climbs weren't crazy steep, but rather long and gradual. I definitely prefer the latter. Salmon Falls is a fairly quiet road with some fancy ranch-style homes, rolling green hills, and glimpses of the lake. It's also not the most bike friendly as it lacks a bike lane for a good majority of what I rode. Thankfully most of the drivers I encountered today were nice : ) The longest climb came around mile 10 and lasted for a few miles. Again, it wasn't extraordinarily steep, but it got my heart rate up (I spent a good chunk of time in Zone 5 during this ride) and made my legs burn by the end. When my Garmin hit an hour I was more than ready to turn around since I had yet to crest that hill. And I was excited to enjoy the descents on the way back!
my turnaround after this looong climb!
 American River
 south fork bridge

As I started back down the hill, and on later descents as well, I kept thinking to myself, "Did I really just ride up these hills?" They seemed much longer and steeper going down than they had going up! But I was also a little proud of myself for tackling them. There were still a couple challenging climbs on the way back, but it was certainly much easier and I ended up with a 10 minute negative split. When I got back to Folsom Bike I added on a couple more miles going up the road and finished up the tough ride with 29 miles. I certainly didn't set any speed records but it was a good, challenging ride on a beautiful, if warm, day.

After securing my bike and changing shoes I jumped on the bike trail across the street and did a quick transition run. The goal was to run the first 10 minutes at race pace (~8:45) and then go easy for the last 10. My legs felt terrible the first 5 minutes, presumably from the hills, but eventually warmed up and settled into a rhythm. By that time the heat (almost 80*F!) was starting to get to me and all I wanted to do was chug a bottle of water. I ended up with 2.3 miles with the first half averaged at 8:40. I was definitely a bit tired, but really more hungry and thirsty than anything. I grabbed a mango smoothie at a coffee shop which was the perfect treat to cool off.

After my ride/run I had a couple hours to kill before meeting up with the MTC group for our weekly swim practice. The past couple weeks, since Oceanside, I've felt like my swimming has suffered. I'd been struggling to hit paces that had previously been no problem, and as I result I lost a lot of my motivation. After my workouts today I expected to be tired and slow tonight, however, it was like a switch was flipped and I had a great swim! We did sets of 100s and I was consistently hitting my threshold pace of 1:41, and I swam a set of 75s in 1:18. I know this is still quite slow compared to many, but for me it was like a breakthrough after feeling like I'd lost a lot of fitness. We finished 2,300 yards over the course of an hour and then spent a little time soaking in the jacuzzi : )

April 16, 2012

Ironman Week 15


Although this recap may not show it, this was not a very good week for me. It was more of a mental thing than physical, and I'm just glad to have it behind me. My head was just not in it, and I found myself skipping a few workouts (I did end up making up 2/3 later in the week) and just being in a funk. I've had a lot on my mind lately and I haven't been sleeping enough, and then the guilt of skipping workouts just added fuel to the fire and made me feel worse. The week did have a couple highlights including my longest ride ever (61 miles), and racing a sprint distance triathlon on Sunday and placing 2nd in my age group.


am: run / 5 mi / 0:42 / avg 8:33
I've always done speedwork in the evening, but in order to get this workout in my only option was in the morning before work. I literally laid in bed for nearly 20 minutes trying to find excuses to skip it. I tried to tell myself that I wanted, no needed, another hour of sleep, except that by that point I was wide awake. So up I got and off to the track I went. It actually wasn't that bad either! Just some half mile repeats - 4x800 - for a total of 5 miles before heading off to work feeling much better than if I'd gone back to sleep. Times were as follows: 3:14, 3:15, 3:18, 3:20. I've got to work on not slowing down as I go!

I was supposed to hit up the gym after work for a strength workout, but it was a long day at work and I decided driving out all the way there for 35 minutes just wasn't worth it. In hindsight I should've just got it out of the way since I ended up making it up Sunday after a race, which was probably not the best idea : /

pm: bike / 61 mi / 3:32 / avg 17.4 mph
This was my longest ride to date, and despite some weather snafus it was great! My coworker, Jonathan, had offered to come along for part of it. He's an excellent and pretty experienced rider but hadn't rode much lately so he figured he'd tag along. I was just hoping I wouldn't come off as a total noob or get dropped by him! We weren't sure how the weather was going to hold up since the forecast called for rain most of the day, but surprisingly we woke up to sunny skies!

We met up on the bike trail and headed up toward Beal's Point. From Lake Natoma it gets fairly hilly so we got some good little climbs in. We stopped briefly at Beal's to fuel up and stretch and then hopped back on the trail to head back. I was out of waffles so I'd brought along some PowerBar gel blasts that I had in my stash. They tasted kind of stale, and when I consulted the packaging I realized they'd expired - back in February of 2011. Whoops! Good thing I brought along some Gu, too : )
we started out with sunny skies
 aged to perfection
It wasn't long before we'd started back up that it started sprinkling. We could see the storm in the distance on our way there but were hoping to miss it. It cooled off quite a bit, too, and suddenly I was regretting my choice of shorts and short sleeve jersey. We got to enjoy some of those hills again while descending them this time. Jonathan was starting to get tired as it had been a while since he'd rode that far, and I ended up going ahead a bit. About 30 miles in suddenly the sky started dumping hail and rain. I yelled out loud "what the f*ck!" but there was nothing to do but keep riding. Just as we reached the overpass at Sunrise where we could take cover it let up.
 dark clouds in the distance at Beal's Point
overlooking the American River

It continued to rain on and off as we headed back, and another 5 miles later it started to thunder and we saw some crazy bolts of lighting. We decided to try and wait out the storm a bit for safety's sake since it was moving in the opposite direction. After maybe 15 minutes the thunder and lightning had let up a bit so we got going again, only now we were freezing : / We made it back to where we started, but I still had an hour left. Jonathan was pretty spent so he headed home, and I headed in the opposite direction toward Discovery Park, crossing my fingers that it would stay dry. I ended up not getting even one drop of rain, and even got a second wind that brought my speed up from an average of 16.9 to 17.4 mph. My tush was a bit sore by the end, but otherwise I felt great and was quite happy with the ride. It went by so much faster having company, and was also much more enjoyable. I need to remember this for future rides!
 time for a bath!

Although I felt great during the ride I was pretty exhausted after and just couldn't peel myself from the couch so I skipped my scheduled swim and rested instead.

pm: run / 5 mi / 0:46 / avg 9:12
I woke up with a sour stomach and a sore throat so I made the decision to stay home from work. I'd been feeling a bit rundown the last few days and was afraid I was getting sick again so I was hoping to be proactive and get some extra rest. I felt a bit better later that evening so I headed out for an easy run with my pup. There was a lull in the storm that had been raging the last few days which I was hoping would hold, but about 20 minutes in it started to rain. No big deal, I don't mind running in a little rain. But then it started to thunder and I got a few glimpses of lightning. While not the best or safest conditions to run in, still not a huge deal since my chances of getting hit are ridiculous.

But then, about 30 minutes in, the sky opens up and starts dumping hail! It was coming down so hard it hurt and the sound of it nearly drowned out the thunder. My poor pup didn't know what was going on and freaked out a little, so we sought cover under some bushes to wait it out. When we could finally continue I was absolutely soaked - like dripping wet. And of course, by the time we finished, even the rain had stopped.

Normally we have a group swim Thursday nights but due to the storms it was canceled and moved to Friday to do on our own.

pm: swim / 2,400 yds / 1:00
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 8x25 on 0:30
  • main:
    • 4x50 (25 kick on your back/25 backstroke w/fins), RI = 10"
    • 1x200 pull on 3:50 (breathing bilateral as 7, 5, 3, choice)
    • 1x100 pull on 2:00
    • 4x50 (25 kick on your side/25 3-stroke switch), RI = 10"
    • 1x200 pull on 3:50 (breathing bilateral as 7, 5, 3, choice)
    • 1x100 pull on 2:00
                *faster than previous 200 and 100
    • 4x50 (25 dolphin kick/25 swim), RI = 10"
    • 1x200 pull on 3:50 (breathing bilateral as 7, 5, 3, choice)
    • 1x100 pull on 2:00
                *faster than previous 200 and 100
    • 1x200 w/fins (breathing bilateral as 7, 5, 3, choice), RI = 60"
    • 1x100 w/fins FAST!
  • cool-down: 200
This was the doozy of a workout that was supposed to be done the night before at the group workout. The length and complexity of it intimidated me (it took me a good 10 minutes just to write out!), but it actually ended up not being too bad. It had a lot of pulling which was nice for my tired legs, and it was my first time using fins! My thoughts: 1) wow, you can go so fast! and 2) holy crap, my quads! It also had me venture out into some other strokes like backstroke (I looked like a fool), and butterfly's dolphin kick (even more foolishness). Thank goodness I was the only one in the pool, otherwise I'm sure I would have gotten some interesting looks : )

am: run / 11.2 mi / 1:43 / avg 9:12
This was my first "long" run in a while, other than Oceanside. I didn't really know what to expect, but I tried to keep the pace fairly easy and run comfortably. It actually ended up being a pretty great run on an absolutely gorgeous morning. After such a nasty week weather-wise the trail was packed with people. I got a second wind in the last few miles and ended up negative splitting the run that was supposed to be 1:45. I love when that happens!

[Icebreaker Sprint Triathlon! Race report to come]
am: swim / 880 yds (0.5 mi) / 0:16
For some reason I did not feel good during the swim. Folsom Lake was pretty cold, and I just couldn't catch my breath or settle into a rhythm. I also need to work on swimming straight - I kept veering off course!
am: bike / 13 mi / 0:43 / avg 17.9 mph
This is easily the leg of the race I'm most proud of. Not because I set any speed records, but I pushed myself hard. My legs burned for much of the 13 miles. The course was fairly technical with lots of tight turns and short, steep hills, so I'm happy with how I handled it.
am: run / 4 mi / 0:35 / avg 9:00
I had plans to nail the run, but had no idea how tough the course was! It was nearly all single track trails around the lake and quite beautiful, but also had several steep uphills that had my tired legs hiking up.
2nd place, females 20-24!

pm: conditioning / 0:40
I was determined to make up some of the workouts I missed so after relaxing for a few hours after the race I headed to the gym. I had a short strength workout to do, and man, it's been a while since I did the last one! My muscles were quivering, especially during the push ups. And it probably didn't help that I'd raced that morning : /
  • 3x20, RI = 1' btw sets
    • squat
    • lat pull down
    • step ups
    • push ups
    • seated row
    • hamstring curl
    • ball crunch w/ twist
    • plank (1:00, 0:45, 0:30)

pm: swim / 1,450 yds / 0:40
I was pretty tired after the strength workout, but since I was already at the gym I figured I might as well do the swim I skipped on Wednesday. Immediately I could tell how tired my body was. The workout was fairly short but did have some fast 75s in the main set. I ended up swimming them a bit slower at a 1:52 pace, and that was just fine with me.
  • warm-up: 200
  • main: 
    • 4x150 (50 swim/50 kick/50 swim), RI = 15"
    • 8x75 @ 1:45 on 1:35
  • cool-down: 200

swim: 4,730 yards
bike: 74 miles
run: 25.2 miles
other: 40 minutes
total time: 10.6 hours

April 12, 2012

Making Plans

As much as I love to run (and swim and bike), I really love to race. There's just something about the atmosphere at a race - the excitement, adrenaline, competition - that is nothing short of addicting. I love being surrounded by like-minded people, pushing myself more than I would in training, and earning some cool swag. Having a race on the calendar also keeps me motivated to train and stay active. Once I start grad school this fall, I know I won't have the time (nor the money) to race as much as I've been able to these last couple years. Before I turn into a grad school zombie, however, I have a few more fun races planned!

Wharf to Wharf - July 22nd
Nearly every summer my family spends a week in Santa Cruz, and for years my dad has wanted to do this race, but our vacations never seemed to be on the right weekend. Well this year he made sure we'd be there and then signed us up before it before it sold out (in less than 7 days!). The 6 mile race, known as "the best little road race in California" starts at the Santa Cruz wharf and Boardwalk, meanders along the coast, and finishes in quaint Capitola at - you guessed it - the wharf : ) With nearly 15,000 runners it's not exactly a race you run for time, but it's certainly known for being a grand time on a beautiful course. It's definitely one I'm looking forward to!

The Color Run 5k  - August 4th
This will be my last race in Sacramento before moving to San Francisco for grad school, and it's definitely a fun one! You may have heard of The Color Run as it's a series that takes place in cities across the country. Rather than try and explain this one to you, check out the video:

My coworker talked me into signing up for this as part of a team. Our name - The Flying Pigments! Haha, get it? We plan on wearing wings and pinning curly little tails on our bums : ) We've got a pretty fun group doing it so it should be a blast!

Portland Marathon - October 7th
Even though it's still a ways away, I've planned to run a fall marathon. I'll need some motivation to keep running and stay active once I start school, and for me, signing up for a race is the best way to do this. But let's be honest - after coming so close in Houston, I need to get that sub-4! Portland known for being flat and fast, perfect for a PR attempt. Plus, it will knock another state off my 50 states quest, and a close one at that, making travel a bit easier (and cheaper!). I've been through Portland briefly in the past but I'm looking forward to spending a weekend there and exploring all the weirdness the city has to offer. As if that all weren't enough, some awesome people will also be running it, including this cool guy : )

Nike Women's Half Marathon - October 14th
This will be my first big race in my new city and one I've wanted to do for a long time. I was able to get in via their college entry program (yay for being a student again!) instead of the lottery. I talked a couple coworkers into signing up, too, so it's gonna be a bit of a girls' weekend. Since it falls the weekend after the Portland Marathon, we'll be running it for fun, but I look forward to taking a jaunt through my beautiful new city with friends. Collecting that little blue box from tuxedoed firefighters at the end will just be the icing on the cake!

Anyone else doing (or have done) any of these races? Have any fun races planned for the summer or fall?

April 9, 2012

Ironman Week 14


This week was focused on recovery after Oceanside 70.3, but still had some good quality workouts. My legs were definitely more tired than usual, but I had very little muscle soreness. I tried to sleep a bit more to help with recovery, and I'm hoping that it helped and I'll be ready for the upcoming build period! Lots of riding this week, including my most challenging ride yet on a super hilly route in fancy shmancy El Dorado Hills in preparation for Wildflower next month.

pm: swim / 1,500 yds / 0:35
  • warm-up: 300
  • main:
    • 300 (50 FTD/50 swim)
    • 300 (50 CU/50 swim)
    • 300 (50 pb/ 50 swim) focus on distance per stroke
  • cool-down: 300
This was my first workout since Oceanside and while it actually felt great to be in the water, I did feel more fatigued and slower than usual. Guess that's to be expected though!

pm: bike / 17.6 mi / 1:00 / avg 17.6 mph
I thought this ride might suck since my legs were still tired from the race, but it turned out to be great! I made sure to take it easy and kept the gears low, but I still managed to hold a decent speed.
rocking my new jersey!
am: bike / 13.4 mi / 0:46 / 17.3 mph
I headed out in the morning before work and almost immediately noticed that something was off. Similarly to during the bike leg of Oceanside, my Garmin seemed to on the fritz. One second it would say my speed was 18 mph, the next 8 mph, and the next 0 mph. Ummmm, no. As a result my distance was all over the place, too. Since the bike trail is marked every mile I knew roughly how far I'd gone, and my watch was off by nearly 2 miles. Annoying for sure, but I got the workout done anyway: 15' warm-up, 8x30" sprint on 2:00, 15' cool-down.

pm: run / 5 mi / 0:42 / avg 8:24
I'd moved things around a bit with my schedule this week so I could get my track workout in on my day off. I headed out in late afternoon, parking my car between my house and the track and running my 1 mile warm-up there. The workout was a good one:
  • 2x:
  • 200 hard/200 easy [0:43, 0:46]
  • 400 hard/400 easy [1:34, 1:39]
  • 800 hard/400 easy [3:27, 3:36]
I was fairly happy with how my legs did since they were most definitely still tired. I slowed a bit on the second set but I did what I could. Cooled down with an easy mile back to the car!

am: run / 4 mi / 0:35 / avg 8:45
This may not have been the smartest move, but when switched my workouts around I ended up having a tempo run the morning after my track workout : / Whoops! Luckily it was a short one and I managed to run in my goal range, but my legs were definitely tired! After a 10' warm-up I did 20' tempo in Z4 (avg tempo pace of 8:16) followed by a 5' cool-down.

pm: swim / 2,100 yds / 1:00
The MTC group swims have moved to Thursday evenings, which actually works better with my work schedule. Only downside is that we don't finish til almost 9pm, which makes for a late night and hungry belly.
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 200 (kicking alt. 25 front, 25 back, 25 right, 25 left)
    • 150 as 25 CU/25 swim
  • main:
    • 6x100 @ 1:50 on 1:55
    • 3x150 @ 1:50 on 3:00
    • 2x200 @ 1:50 on 4:00
  • cool-down: 100
I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was so slow during this workout! For the main set we were supposed to be swimming at our threshold pace, which for me should be around 1:45ish, but I could barely hit 1:55s. Seriously, 10s slower!? It was frustrating, but I'm trying to remind myself that it's the week after a hard race and I'd had two hard run workouts in a row over the past couple days. So I'm trying to cut myself some slack, but I can't help but feel like I've lost some of my swim speed : /

pm: bike / 17.5 mi / 1:00 / avg 17.5 mph
Ahhhh another good ride! I happened to get out of work earlier than usual while there was still plenty of daylight so I headed out for a steady hour-long ride on the bike trail. The highlight was that I'm pretty sure I fixed my Garmin issue - I think my speed/cadence sensor was somehow throwing off the data, so I disabled it and everything seemed to work perfectly. Woohoo!

Big congrats to all those who ran AR 50! I had hoped to make it out there to cheer but unfortunately something came up at the last minute. It's crazy to think that one year ago I was in the middle of running my first 50 miler at the same race... Watching the live feed and following all the updates throughout the day really made me want to run another! Shout out to fellow blogger Aron who kicked butt out there for her first 50!

am: bike / 30 mi / 2:10 / avg 13.9 mph
My training group had met up Saturday for a training day in preparation for the challenging Wildflower triathlons next month, but I had to work so I hoped to make it up Sunday. Fortunately another MTCer couldn't make it Saturday either and decided to join me. We headed up to the Folsom/El Dorado Hills area for a hilly bike ride followed by a hilly run. We had turn-by-turn directions for the 30 mile route and set out hoping to simply survive all the hills. Before I go any further, I can honestly say that this was the hardest and hilliest ride I've ever done. Yes, harder than Oceanside.
elevation - the major climbs are highlighted
The route was actually quite beautiful. Most of it was through the uber high-end neighborhoods of El Dorado Hills, which, by the way, is aptly named : ) Lots of rolling green hills in the distance, dotted by giant mansions. I must have said, "holy crap, look at these houses!" no fewer than a dozen times. We also lucked out with amazing weather and clear skies. It was actually pretty warm, reaching the low 70s, and I have a nice sunburn to prove it - in fact it looks like I'm still wearing my tank top - ouch : /
 not a bad view to have
 apparently bikes are welcome in gated communities!
 just another mansion

But oh man, those hills! We hit them early on and they just kept coming. I was dreading an almost two mile long one around mile 10, but it ended up being somewhat gradual. And as we climbed it we passed some gated community entrances which I learned make a great little rest stop for your legs - I'd ride a couple loops around the flat entrance before continuing up the hill! The hardest hill actually came on a private neighborhood rode around mile 23. It was steep and just did not seem to end. I literally thought I was going to simultaneously puke and fall off my bike. When I somehow got to the top, I turned to Michelle and told her it was the hardest thing I'd ever done. Seriously, omg.
at the top of the climb that almost killed me
what goes up must come down... one of the nice descents of the day

During the ride we passed another cyclist and chatted for a bit and he mentioned a hill he'd just rode with a little foreboding. Apparently it was on our route, too, so both of us were dreading this particular hill, only to get there and realize that we'd be going down it - ha! We finished the ride sooner than we'd been anticipating and were both pretty proud of ourselves. More than anything, it was great mental training for Wildflower. It also made me really want to do more training on hills. Definitely hard, but rewarding, too!

pm: run / 6 mi / 0:58 / avg 9:42
After our ride we had an hour run to do. Both of us were pretty tired and it had warmed up quite a bit, but we decided to just take it easy and get it done. We didn't have a route planned so we just sort of ran...wherever. We'd come to the end of a street or a light and just ask one another, "which way?" The area made it impossible to avoid hills, and we had a few good climbs, but that was the intent of the run since Wildflower has a gnarly run course. By the end I was really ready to be done, but so happy to have finished such an awesome workout. Still not totally sure what to expect from Wildflower, but I feel a little bit more prepared!

swim: 3,600 yards
bike: 78.3 miles
run: 15 miles
other: 0 hours
total time: 8.7 hours