Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Check out my Aha Moment on Triathlon training

I got an email awhile back from Omaha Mutual about this blog, and asking if I would like to be filmed for their Aha Moment campaign.  I said yes, and they just sent me this link to my very own Aha Moment. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Very First Triathlon Part 2

I found myself very paranoid about hearing all of the instructions at the athlete's meeting, and became mildly panicky about the fact that I neglected to look at any of the course maps.  Zero.  Not even a glance.  This was perhaps not the best frame of mind to be in when starting the race.  I did calm down, there was just that little niggling feeling of "unpreparedness."

That part was all fine, as expected, so we all trooped down to the water's edge to prepare for the start of the race.  There were not a lot of women in this race, so I was in the third wave with all the other women.  E was in the first wave, and our other friends followed after mine.  The gun went off and I started without really realizing that this was more than a swim.  And the swim was AWFUL.  About 5 seconds in, I panicked and couldn't breathe.  I don't know why, but it's like I forgot how to swim.  I floundered, backstroked, breaststroked and doggy-paddled my way to the end, and I don't think any swim has ever felt so long, especially one that topped out at 500 meters.  I didn't manage to catch my breath the entire time.

Stumbling out the water to T1, I ran up the beach and into transition, where it took me a minute to figure out what the hell was going on and what I was supposed to be doing.  I had laid things out pretty well though, so on went the sneakers, the helmet, the sunglasses, and I grabbed Bella and off we went.

The bike wasn't too bad, though it was hard to find my normal cadence.  This was the first time I've been on the bike directly after the swim, and I see many bricks in my future.  My quads felt like they were on fire about, oh, 10 seconds in.  Honestly, the swim really freaked me out and took a lot out of me.  I've never been afraid in the water before, and not being able to catch my breath was really terrifying.

The bike finished out ok, and I averaged about 16.2 mph.  Getting off the bike and jogging into transition was weird.  I've only experienced the whole "bike legs" feeling in small doses, and never when I've really intended to run, just when I've jogged for a few steps to see if I could.  By the time I docked Bella and traded my helmet for my visor, my legs felt better.

I'll just throw this out there - the run was what really killed my time.  I could not get it moving.  There were people passing me that just made me feel ashamed.  Wow, Grandma, keep up that great pace!  Hey Homer, good job!  This was definitely not my finest hour.  And I walked...a lot. 

And then I finished, and was pretty much done for the day.  And woke up with a head cold the following day, so now it's Wednesday and I've missed a few days of training.

Next up will be some different cross-training: backcountry backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Wordle of my blog!

My Very First Triathlon Part 1

...and boy was it a doozie.

Several friends were doing this triathlon as well, so everyone gathered at our house the night before for some carbo loading and a glass or two of wine.  Sufficiently fortified, we retired early, as the tri was about an hour away, necessitating a 5 a.m. wake-up call and being on the road by 5:30.  I picked up my packet, which was pretty exciting.  I've only ever done road races, so attaching my number to my new pink race belt, and affixing the seemingly endless series of numbers to my helmet, bag, and bike. 

We arrived early, and found that it was a really nice park where the event was being held.  Fernandina Beach is a small and pretty beach community that does a fair share of its trade in the tourist industry.  The park sported full bathroom facilities and outdoor showers, which were both really exciting discoveries.  There was also plenty of available parking.

I checked in and got body-marked for the first time.  Always fun to have a stranger write all over you in sharpie.  Attaching my timing chip to my ankle was strange.  I kept trying to shake it off, it felt so foreign there.

It was interesting setting up my first transition area.  I think I did pretty well though.  That at least was nothing like my swim....

To be continued...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Fundays

Today is an unplanned rest day.  Yesterday morning, I got to the pool, got into the locker room, tired but ready to push through the swim...and I didn't have my goggles.  And I mean, can't find them anywhere.  Not at home, not in the car, not in my gym bag.  So, looks like I will be making a stop at Dick's tonight to pick up a new pair.  Which I suppose is ok, since I did want to upgrade to a pair that would allow me more visibility in the water.  I'm thinking of the Tyr Nest Pro style.  I have worn E's, and I like the way they fit, and they make some that fit smaller faces.  So needless to say, that swim didn't happen. 

I went on my run last night, and tried wearing my tri top and bottom for the first time running.  I've used them on the bike, but never run or gone swimming with them.  The bottoms were really comfortable, though I wasn't crazy about the top.  I suspect it's' just because I'm not used to having fabric so tight around my midsection. 

I had intended to swim this morning, and bike tonight, but in my desire to be fresh for tomorrow morning's tri, have decided to make today a rest day.  My legs feel pretty tired, so I think this was probably a good call.

Tomorrow morning at 5a.m., we will be on the road for a 6:15a.m. arrival in Fernandina Beach!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday Doubles

Ah, recovery week, I like you. 

My swim yesterday morning was only 300 meters, and the pool is set up Olympic distance for the next month or so, which was really neat.  Going through the longer laps helped me to find more of a rhythm with both my stroke and my breathing.  There were a couple a points where I felt reeeally slow, but I was able to pick it up a little bit at those points.

My run last night was a lovely 3 miles.  When I was training for my 15k, it was hard to feel results as they happened, and it was hard to feel my base training happening.  With the tri training, I'm noticing the difference.  Being able to feel better now than I did even a couple of weeks ago on a three mile is fantastic.  My shin felt not so hot when I started, but once I got warmed up, it was fine.  I did try out new socks that I got over the weekend, and got my first ever running blister.  So the question is, was it the socks, or the training?  I'm thinking socks, since I've never been blister prone.  I'm running in Adidas Supernovas (though I have the 2009 version), and they have been a great shoe.  I will admit, I am going to Jax Running Co. tonight to check out Newton's.  I can't bring myself to buy such a pricey shoe when I don't need an upgrade yet, but boy do I want a pair!    

Only a couple more days until the sprint!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yay for recovery week!

It's been a few days, but it was a few interesting days of training.  I missed a couple workouts for the first time since I really got into training.  That was last Friday, when I didn't do my ride or my run.  Ironically, as tired as I am, I haven't been sleeping much, so getting up Friday was something I couldn't seem to do, and I felt about the same when I got home on Friday evening.  So, the weekend training started instead with...drum 5 mile hot-as-hell run.

First, let me say two things about this run:  1) my normal, easy, comfortable run distance is about three miles, and I haven't done over four since my 15k several months back and 2) Over the course of E's Ironman training, we watched a LOT of Ironman videos and various race videos, and I saw a lot of people cry.  Crying from exertion is not something that I particularly understood, though on an intellectual level I got that it must be because it's just really difficult.  I'm personally more of a frustrated or upset cryer. 

That being said...I wanted to cry on Saturday.  It was so freaking hot.  It was so freaking hot I ran in just sports bra and shorts which is something I don't EVER do.  It's partially my own fault, because I started my run at about 10am, instead of earlier or later, and I wasn't as hydrated as I should have been.  Thank god E ignored my protests and tracked me down with the car at various points throughout the run to make sure I was hydrated.  It's not even that five miles is THAT long, I am just not one to train in the heat.  Typically, I peak in the fall and early spring with my training, back it down during winter, and don't do much during summer.  I wanted to cry, throw up and pass out all at the same time.  Was this my first true hardcore training practice?  Because damn....I felt like crap by the end of this.  But, I'll admit, also a little fierce.  Laying on the carpet with my feet up on the wall has never felt so good.  

I did an easy 18 miles yesterday on the bike, and today is a rest day, and this a recovery week.  After the moon!  Or actually, the Jax Sprint Tri Series #1, the first "training" triathlon I'm doing this Saturday.  As much as Saturday was also kind of fantastic how great I felt (mostly mentally) to have done that. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rides and Runs

Last night was a loooong 10 miles on the trainer.  Actually, it just felt long, as rides on the trainer often do.  There is something about the lack of road resistance and direction that make the whole cycling experience on the trainer much different.  Somehow, your seat feels different, your arms get more tired, and it just gets a bit dull.  On the trainer, I never quite manage to just find a comfortable spot to zone out.  I sometimes think that my trainer work outs are slightly less effective as I keep sitting up and back and twisting and turning and repositioning, so I lose speed and cadence more frequently.  E kindly put South Park on the t.v. for me, and I had a lot on my mind that I needed to think through, so the time passed slightly more quickly than it would have otherwise. 

I have an event tonight, so I got up this morning for a run, and will do my swim tomorrow morning.  Today's run was three miles, and I ran my normal route near the house.  It was a gorgeous morning, almost cool, which is rather unheard of for Florida in June.  When I got back home, I could feel the beginnings of sticky humidity, so I was glad I was out early enough to miss it.  My shin splints, particularly on my right leg are still bothering me.  I didn't tape it this morning, and it seemed to be ok, so I'm hoping that the issue is on it's way out.  

As far as my running is concerned, I want to keep focusing on the Chi Running method.  Standing tall and opening my chest and lungs while I run, in addition to paying attention to the tilt of my pelvis seem to make a fair difference in my runs.  I think I also  need to be more cognizant of my hydration.  I am noticing a difference now on the days when I stay really hydrated versus the days when I forget that I need to be taking in water and fluids.  I also notice the whole "thirst masquerading as hunger" effect. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to it!

Yesterday was a rest day, so this morning I got back in the pool.  Today I ramped up to 500 meters, which is the equivalent of about 12 laps.  I feel sort of like a pansy, because I have to stop to breathe in between each lap, but once I can find a rhythm for my breathing while I'm actually moving, I suspect I'll be in better shape.  I was also able to practice the stroke technique that E taught me on Saturday, so I felt like I was at least moving more efficiently through the water.

My run tonight was 4 miles, and I'm feeling bushed.  I forgot how tough it feels when you're working back up to a higher mileage.  Even four miles meant that a mile and a half in, my calves we aching.  However, I did keep in mind Chi Running, and keeping my neck straight and tall, and focusing on the tilt of my pelvis really makes for an overall better running experience.  I feel like I am getting a great upper ab workout, and feel less scrunched up than I sometimes do from running.  In the past, I have not had the best running posture, so really being able to feel the difference in my runs now is incredible.

On another note, my tri top came in the mail today.  Yay!  Something cooler to wear when I'm cycling, and I now have the outfit I will wear for my Olympic.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Intense Weekend Training

It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm pretty wiped out.  Tomorrow is a rest day, which I am incredibly excited about.  I'm feeling good about training so far, but I'm definitely ready for a free day.
I started the weekend with a 10 mile ride on Friday night.  I gave blood Friday morning, so riding in the heat was maybe not the best idea, but I'm occasionally more stubborn than smart.  I rode PVB, and there was a strong wind out of the South, which was pretty brutal heading down, but a beautiful thing on the way back.
Saturday morning we started with a beach swim.  It was a gorgeous day, and we did a bit of shorter distance than prior weekends, about 600 meters.  I was also able to spend some time working on my stroke.  Thus far, swimming has felt like I am sort of flopping my arms into the water with each stroke.  Saturday morning was a great lesson from Elton in what my stroke should actually be, and how to best manage my breathing and efficiency in the water. 
The swim took a lot out of me, which I realized about twenty minutes after we finished.  I came home and took a nap, which I have not done in quite some time!  But I had to rest up...I still had four miles to run.
I watched some of the Chi Running video before my afternoon run.  I'm really fascinated by the alignment technique they recommend.  I tried it throughout my run, and I have to say, I'm impressed.  By being cognizant of my body's alignment while I ran, my lungs felt more open, my abs felt tighter, and my stride felt much better.  I have begun to struggle with shin splints again, and despite the KT Tape application, I still had to come home and ice.  I'm crossing my fingers they don't get worse.  Overall, it was really hot.  Elton carried a bottle of water, and played coach, which is incredibly helpful with all of this.  I'm grateful we have this time before he starts training again for his next Ironman 70.3.
And finally, this morning, I did an 18 mile bike ride, down PVB again, and then onto A1A and back.  It was hot (of course) and humid, but overall it was a nice ride.  We kept the pace pretty light, about 16.5 mph the whole way.

Icing my leg, post-run. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Week two is coming to an end

I wimped out on my run last night, so I decided to go this morning instead.  My required mileage was still pretty low, so on the plus side I didn't have to get up significantly earlier than I would if I were just going to work.  I suspect getting up and going to the pool, and riding the other day had a lot to do with it.

My run was...frustrating.  I had some GI issues about a mile in, so I cut the run short.  Tonight I am supposed to get on the bike, which I think will mean seven miles on the trainer in front of the tube. 

My swim yesterday went pretty well.  I am supposed to (gulp) up my distance in the pool, which will add several laps.  Little scary! 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trainer Boredom

For my job, I have a fair amount of events that require my time in the evenings.  While not an issue generally, I have realized that this will affect my training regime.  So, in an effort to combat this, I decided that I would get today's cycling miles (8, according to the training plan) in by getting up and onto the trainer.

I have realized from previous stints on the trainer that I can't focus/hear t.v. when I'm on the trainer, but I can stare at pictures.  Finding a program (typically a food show) that fit this criteria at 6 a.m. was not appealing, so I just went with silence.  This was perhaps a poor choice.  Boredom was almost instant.  Trying to convince my legs that they wanted to move was not easy, and I was very grateful for the heart rate monitor; it was about the only thing that could keep me honest today.

Overall, I am glad I got up and got moving this morning.  It felt great to do an a.m. swim and p.m. run yesterday, so I'll see if it still feels as good tomorrow!   

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday Swim

This morning was what we will call a learning experience.  The pool at my local college does not open until 6 a.m., and work requires that I come in at 8.  I have a little flexibility with that, but I prefer to save it for occasions when something truly requires me to be late, and since I"m supposed to do this whole super early swim thing twice a week, I sort of just have to make the time work.  Anyways, that was a really long way of saying that I have to get ready for work in the locker room at the Aquatic Center.
So this morning was my first real, out of bed at 5:45 a.m. in the water by 6:15 experience.  I never did school sports growing up, so my acquaintance with locker rooms can be expressed mostly as passing.  I got into the (blessedly empty) locker room, chose a locker, and stripped down to my bathing suit.  It was about at this point that I realized I had neglected to bring a towel with me.  Not good.  However, thanks to a freebie a few months back, I carry a "Got Milk?" towel in my gym bag for occasions like wiping down the eliptical or drying my face during hot yoga.  Today, it was to be my only towel.
Next up, I put on my swim cap for the first time.  I can't decide if it makes me feel like a dork, or really intense.  Either way, my swim cap skills are obviously subpar, as I realized when I got back to the locker room that in addition to having no towel, the bottom half of my hair was wet.  So that part of it all was interesting.
Now the training is the important part, isn't it?  I did 7 laps, which I believe is roughly 300 meters, the length dictated by my training program.  I had to break in between each lap, but breathing felt MUCH better today.  This is definitely going to be a long road, and I understand now about the whole "swimming is the only one where technique really matters" thing.  I see a lot of practice and  lot of Youtube in my future.  Tonight:  The run.  Today is the first day where I am doing both.