Saturday, September 16, 2006

I did it!

I did it! And I made my time goals and I had a great day! Final time 13:01

I am working on a complete race report, which I will post here when I am done. I have a lot of photos and will post some of those here as well.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

One Day To Go

It is the day before Ironman.

I met CC at the swim start for a very short swim. She was testing out two different wetsuits to decide which one to wear for the race. I got in the water, swam for ten minutes out, and then for ten minutes back. The water was choppy on the way back and it was foggy, which made it very hard to see the buoys. On the plus side, the water felt like a nice warm bath compared to the air temperature. CC and I chatted on shore for a while after our swim. My friends CH, J, and RVH stopped by and I introduced everyone. There was a nice positive energy there and a lot of excited anticipation for tomorrow.

After the swim I went on a short run and a short bike ride. I am nervous about the weather for tomorrow and am not sure what clothes I am going to wear. I keep going back and forth about what I should pack. I don't want to overdress and have to carry things, but I don't want to freeze. I don't own the right gear to be comfortable in rain. I went to the store and bought a bike rain jacket, but am not sure if it is quite right.

CC picked me up at 2 and we went down to the Terrace to drop off our bags and our bikes. She did a run-through of both transitions with me so I know where I will have to go. That was very helpful to me, because it is complicated and doesn't seem to be explained anywhere.

I ate a bowl of plain pasta at 3pm and a personal pizza at 6pm. I wasn't that hungry, but I figured I need to eat extra. I was stuffed after the pizza, so hopefully those extra calories will come in handy tomorrow. Bedtime 7:30pm.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Two days to go


Three days until the race. I am getting more and more nervous. This is really going to happen. There is so much time to anticipate everything that could go wrong that it is making me crazy. I have some lists of tasks to do so I am trying to just do what I need to do and know that things always work themselves out on race day.

I went down to the water today to meditate this morning before returning to registration for another shift. As I was wandering by, 9-time Ironman world champion Paula Newby Fraser was giving a talk. I stopped to listen for a while. She had some great race day advice about making sure to go as hard as you go in training. She said that she sees a lot of athletes that go hard in training but hold back too much during the race. She said that on the run your legs will no doubt feel shredded but not they are not too shredded to run on so you have to just keep going. She said to push a little if you are feeling good because you are going to feel tired no matter what. I will think of this. She also said that everyone is nervous, and even she herself is usually very very nervous and sick to her stomach.

I should not have signed up to work again this morning. Last year when I was not racing, it was no problem to work twice. This year, the athletes were giving me nervous anxiety. I didn't feel like talking with them anymore and I had trouble being friendly and cheerful while explaining everything. I would have wanted a better registration experience than I could give to these people and I felt bad about not being able to provide them with that. 30 minutes in I was ready to go and I did end up leaving an hour early. CC came to my line to deal with a registration issue and I left with her to go outside and eat a sandwich and decompress.

I spent the afternoon preparing my transition bags and special needs bags. I also went to the store to get the food I want to eat before and during the race. There are so many details to remember, I am freaking out about forgetting something or not having thought of everything. My five bags are all laid out on my living room floor with their contents on top.

This evening was the race dinner and athlete meeting. CC and I met down at the Terrace so we could sit together. The meal was a complete carb-fest with pasta and sauce, bread, potatoes, salad, and cooked vegetables. No protein in sight! We talked to two guys across the table from us - one of whom had just done Ironman Germany a month ago, and one like me for whom this would be his first Ironman. The dinner program was entertaining and funny, hosted by Mike, the voice of Ironman... the guy who announces at the finish line that "You [fill in name], are an Ironman!". They played a game with the audience to see who had lost the most weight training, and it was a woman who had lost 101 lbs! They gave her a deluxe scale and she was very modest about the whole thing. They also featured the youngest and oldest male and female athletes. The ages for the women was 67 and 19, and for the men 77 and 18. The event was fun, and I have now started to wonder if maybe I should sign up for next year after all. I feel so lucky to be a part of this...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Three days to go

Swim - 1.2 miles, lake
Bike - 20 miles

The swim course is measured off and one line of the buoys are up. I went down to the swim start today to preview the course as part of the official Gatorade sponsored morning swims. Many of the athletes have arrived. It was a cool morning with a beautiful sunrise. My friend CC was floating in the water out at the start when I got in. We talked a little about where we would place ourselves on race day in order to get a good draft. I am thinking that I will put myself towards the back of the first third. I swam a loop of the course at an easy pace and swam back to shore in 39 minutes. The water was a perfect comfortable temperature.

There is an Ironman backpack that I have had my eye on for two years and finally was able to buy today. I didn't allow myself to buy any Ironman stuff until I was actually doing the race. It has been a long wait but I know I earned every bit of that backpack :) I also got some Ironman run shorts, socks, a waterbottle, and a winter hat. It was hard not to buy the whole store. I will get a few more things when I finish and I have so much stuff now that I am now nearly in danger of not being able to go out of the house without wearing something that says Ironman.

I worked Ironman registration from 9-1 giving people their packets and explaining about their numbers, bike stickers, and gear bags. Since I was working, CC and I were allowed to go through the line first for registration as guinea pigs to test out the procedure. This was perfect because it meant that we didn't have to wait in a two hour line. As the first people through, the procedure was a little rough around the edges and some of the volunteers didn't quite know what they were doing. I enjoyed working and talking to the athletes. I was in a good mood and really excited for the race.

After my volunteer shift, I went to the bike shop and figured out my issues with putting air in my Zipp wheels. I got some CO2 to practice with and it turns out that luckily my CO2 pump works with the Zipp valves even though my normal pump does not. I practiced filling it with 100% success. So my solution to flats is now set. On race morning, I will have to find a pump to fill the tires though. That is not ideal and may create some stress, but someone there is sure to have one of the "smart pumps", as they call them, that will work. One of about 1000 anxieties down.

I went on a short ride with my race setup and stopped at my friend BH's house to borrow a rain jacket. It may or may not rain on Sunday but I want to be ready for it. Anxiety 2 of 1000, down.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

keeping calm

Bike - about 15 miles, 54 min
Run - 2 miles, 17:30

So after all my tire struggles yesterday, there were no issues during my ride this morning. At least I know I can successfully change a tire. The Ironman people are starting to arrive in Madison. They are out swimming the course and walking around. Ironman North America has arrived at the Terrace and began setting up this morning.

I am feeling more nervous and anxious today than yesterday. I am so excited to be participating this year, after several years of only seeing Ironman from the outside. My mind tells me that I am ready because I know I have done the training. I have visualized the race about a million times in my head, but has reality sunk in that I am actually going to do this? That's what I am not sure of. I am worried about the unknowns of how my nutrition and pacing strategy will work, and I am worried about the fact that there is a chance of rain. I am still worried about getting a flat.

I feel lucky to be so well supported by all my friends who are coming to see me and I feel lucky that I am able to compete in something so amazing. With volunteering, preparing myself to race, and going to Ironman-related events, the next four days are going to be intense 24-7 Ironman. I know what my last preparations are, so I just need to do them... calmly and relentlessly like my mantra from training says. This is the final stretch.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

tire anxiety

Swim - 1.2 miles, 36 min
Run - 5 miles, 41:30

Both of these were solid efforts. At this point, everything I do is just to keep my body feeling sharp. Nothing too taxing or long. It was a beautiful morning. I am putting off my gear preparations and special needs bags making until Friday because I don't want to spend the entire week stressed about it.

The Zipp 606 valve stems are giving me some trouble because they aren't the standard shape and don't fit my air pump very well. I got some extenders and those are even harder to deal with, so I am back to the originals. I practiced changing two tires and punctured a tube while attempting to put the air pump on one of the valves. What I really need to do is practice with the C02 cartridges that I will have with me on race day. This all makes me nervous. I am praying that I do not get a flat.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Bike - 24 miles, 90 minutes

The weather forecast for Ironman day says rain and high of 65. So much for my heat acclimation. Now it's time for cold and wet acclimation. I went biking in the rain this morning to see what it would be like. It wasn't too bad, but I feel like I need to be more cautious at high speeds and my brakes aren't as quick. I wore my nylon rain jacket (not aero, and not completely waterproof) to keep some of the water off. If it truly is going to rain for the race, I would like to get a waterproof jacket that fits closely. The rain came down on and off and I began to get a little cold. 90 minutes in the rain was fine, but 13 is another story. I have been through so much, that I kind of feel like one more adversity doesn't matter. On the other hand, a sunny day would make the whole thing just that much more pleasant. It is too soon to know for sure what will happen so I can't get too worried. As long as the swim is not cancelled for lightening, I feel like I can deal with whatever comes up.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

short all three

Swim - 1.2 miles, one lap of the IM course, easy - 40 min
Bike - 32 miles, 2:10 - Monona Terrace to Verona and back, easy out and harder back
Run - 4 miles, 36 min - on IM run course, solid effort

These distances felt short today - by the time I got warmed up in each sport it was time to go to the next one. I stayed completely on the course for this workout and practiced visualizations. For the bike it took me about 15 miles for my legs to start feeling warmed up. I need to go easy at first anyway so I made myself do this for practice. The run was the typical dead legs for the first mile and then feeling fine after that.

Now that my body is getting rested, somehow I feel like it is be getting harder to push. When everything hurt anyway, it felt the same to go hard or easy. Now my body is back to "normal" and going hard is hard again.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ironman bipolar

Swim - 2.5 miles, 1:17 - ironman course swim with 4 x 0.6 miles @ race pace on 30 sec recovery

One day I feel like I am not prepared for Ironman, and the next day I feel like I have things in the bag. Ironman bipolar. Today's swim was reassuring. I swam the course at a hard but sustainable pace and took three 30 second rest intervals. Including the rest and going completely off course at the end, I still came in just above my target race time. I now feel confident that I will have no trouble going under 1:15 on race day. Whew! I know I shouldn't split hairs over my swim time since a few minutes is insignificant over the course of a 13 hour race, but I feel like I am on a personal mission to achieve my swim goal regardless of how little the time matters to the rest of the race. After the swim I striped off my wetsuit and ran up the spiral of the Monona Terrace barefoot in my swimsuit as though it were the race. Then I got yelled at by a parking attendant who thought I should not be doing that. She had no idea what Ironman is when I told her what I was doing, and no sympathy whatsoever.

Lots of iron people were out swimming the course this morning. Many of them also had their bikes in their cars in order to do a post-swim ride on the course. I like this sense of community. It gets a little intense knowing that all these people are probably just as stressed out as me with ironman bipolar as they are getting in their final brick workouts this weekend.

I had a personal issue come up after my workout due to a very odd coincidence of two people who happened to be standing on the shore at the same exact moment. I don't usually share these sorts of details on this blog, but suffice it to say that dealing with these things amidst my training is what I consider my fourth discipline of triathlon.

Friday, September 01, 2006

self-doubt creeping in

Swim - 3000yd, 57 min - main set: 5 x 400 with first 200 moderate, second 200 at sprint race pace, 30 seconds recovery between
Bike - 14.5 miles, 60 min - easy recovery ride
Yoga - 60 minutes, Hatha

My Zipp 606 race wheels came today and I took them out on a test ride. They are fast! I feel like I can go about 1 mph faster on them using the same effort as before. Over 112 miles, that is a large time savings. They also look cool. I also put new cleats on my bike shoes, which was a while overdue.

As the race gets closer, now only 9 days away, the more I question if I am ready for it. I haven't trained long in 2 weeks now... what if I am losing my fitness? I know that this is normal pre-race nerves. I know that many first-time Ironman athletes worry a lot during the taper. With more time for rest, I am getting out of the triathlon-obsessed mode of living that I am used to. Will I be able to do the most intense race of my life when at this point I wonder whether my head is there? I have visualized the race so many times during training that maybe I can go on autopilot. I know the course inside and out. I know my comfortable training paces, but will I be able to stick with them and not go out too hard so that I can still have a good run? Will my nutrition work? Will my stomach get upset? Will I get enough calories on the bike so that I don't crash on the run? If I do crash on the run, will gels and energy drinks be able to get me through or will I crash even more from all the sugar? Will I get a flat tire? If I do get a flat tire, will I be able to change it quickly and will my CO2 cartridge work? And then I think, why I am doing this anyway? Why does it matter to me if I do well? Couldn't I just be happy with finishing at all? This is not the mental state I want to take to the race. I have worked too hard for this to give up now.

What will I do after Ironman is over? I am feeling depressed about the end of the training season and am wondering what I will do to keep myself from sinking into despair during my recovery period. All this training fills a lot of space in my life that I will have to immediately fill with other things. My eating and sleeping patterns will also change. These are things I have come to rely on. There are many difficult mental aspects of Ironman. For me, the peak of training was about having the strength to push myself to keep going when I was exhausted. Now, the taper is filled with self-doubt and constantly changing emotions. I must continue to have the strength to turn doubt into positivity until Ironman is over, and then deal with the aftermath when it arrives.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

... turnaround ...

Run - 7 miles, 1:02 - speed workout: 4 x 1 mile @ 7:34, 7:27, 7:02, 7:25 w/ 90 second recovery on rolling hills

i used to run after you
in desperation for admiration
of another but now
i run after you
in the inspiration of your admiration
and a lingering goodbye

who knew that hilly
mile repeats
could be
so good

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

mountain biking diversion

Bike - 14 miles, 1:08 - mountain biking (road/trails)

i saw you smile
and then i saw the stream
still flowing calmly
like she said it would
but only in that moment
did i feel calm

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Swim - 1.2 miles, 39 min - lake monona
Run - around 5.5 miles, 47:55

early morning and evening
down at the lake
the bittersweet irony of life
can rip a heart in two

Monday, August 28, 2006

what's harder - racing or spectating?

Bikram yoga - 90 minute class

I have often wondered what is harder - racing the Ironman or being an all-day spectator? Last year, spectating exhausted me. I was out there from 6am to midnight cheering for people, following a friend of mine who was racing, and staying at the finish line until the bitter end. When you are an athlete, you have a race plan that is well laid out and all you have to do is execute it. It is clear where you need to be going, thousands of people think you are awesome, and food and drink are all laid out for you. As a spectator, you run around parking and re-parking hoping to see your athlete, wondering if you should leave the course to go eat meals, not being able to carry all the water you need for the day, wondering exactly how your athlete is getting through it, and seeing lots of athletes struggle. Don't get me wrong, spectating is one of the most fun experiences I have ever had, but it is not a day on the couch. This year I will find out for certain if it is harder to be an athlete or a spectator. Stay tuned.

My quads are sore and my hamstrings are tight from yesterday's workout. What else is new? The yoga helps this somewhat. Tonight was my third class so far, and I can already tell that I am getting used to the heat. It doesn't freak me out to sweat so much, and I don't feel like I need to drink 2 gallons of water to survive. The weather forecast is not available for race day yet, but says 72 and sunny for the few days before it. If it doesn't get hot, oh well, I will know I was prepared. At this point, I am more concerned about rain but I guess anything could happen.

[8/27/06 Sunday]
Swim - 4000yd, 1:17 - pool
Bike - 53 miles, 3:28 - Hilly course, modified Bombay "Daleyville Dip"
Run - 13.7 miles, 1:55 - 1 loop Ironman run course plus a little

I am enjoying getting back in the pool for the first time in a while. I have been beginning to lose the feel of certain swim paces and the pool is always a good place to figure that out with precision. I can think about my form better in the pool somehow. I feel slow in the lake, but pool swims remind me that I am not slow after all.

The bike and run today were fabulous. My friend TL and I worked out together for the first time. We got lost a few times on the bike route, and it turned out to be a really hilly course... Horribly Hilly kind-of hilly. I wanted some good hills, and that is what I got. They went by quickly while chatting though. We drove back to Madison to do the Ironman run course, which also has a few good hills. I started the run a bit fast and hadn't paid close enough attention to my nutrition on the bike, so I didn't feel so great for the last 5 miles. I didn't have enough water to take my gel and all I could think about was food. I hadn't eaten enough. TL is a stronger runner than me and lucky for me, she was feeling good enough to lighten things up with her sense of humor all the way to the end. When we got back to the Capitol, I thought of Ironman day where that would have been the turnaround point to go do another 13 miles and was very very grateful that I was done for the day. Back at the car, I inhaled a bagel with peanut butter and jelly and had some water. Then we went to the store to get some Oatscream, a vegan ice cream that is a particular favorite of mine.

So, today's workout was an Ironman swim with a half-Ironman bike and run. I have gotten to the point where that is no big deal. It is a long training day, but I know that all I have to do is keep going. I have gone through a few mental stages in reaching the end of the Ironman preparation. Two weeks ago I realized for the first time that I am going to be able to finish, and the run won't be as bad as I was fearing. Today I am realizing that it is just going to be a normal but really long workout. I know my body pretty well for managing different types of discomfort, and I have a good idea about what signals my body sends for different types of nutritional needs.

[8/26/06 Saturday]
Swim - 2500yd, 48 min - pool
Bike - 60 minute spin class, ascending intervals

I have a new favorite Saturday morning ritual - the cornmeal crepe breakfast burrito from Ingrid's Lunchbox stand at the Farmer's Market. These are only available on Saturday mornings and only at the Farmer's Market. The crepe is slightly sweet and works like a tortilla for a black bean and egg burrito with sour cream, salsa, and avocado. I discovered this last weekend and plan to eat one every week until the Farmer's Market closes for the winter.

[8/25/06 Friday]
Swim - 3300yd, 1:01
Run - 10 miles, 1:33
Bikram Yoga - 90 minute class

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

bikram yoga... sweat-o-rama

Run - 7 miles, 1:01 - with hills
Yoga - 90 minute class

It has not been warm outside lately and I have started to get concerned that I am losing my heat acclimation that I built up during the earlier part of the summer. Since in the past it has always been about 95 degrees on the day of Ironman, it is important that I am heat acclimated. Preparing for this is just one more of the obsessive-compulsive details I can do to give myself a competitive edge.

How do I do this? Sitting in the sauna is good, but it's too hot (and small) in there to do any physical activity. Hmmm... I came up with the idea of going to Bikram yoga and went to my first class yesterday afternoon. Bikram yoga is like regular yoga except the room is an infrared sauna, so it is hot. As I went in the room for the first time and laid down on my mat to relax before class, I was already dying of heat. About 5 minutes into the first standing breathing exercises, sweat was already dripping off and making a puddle below me. Halfway through, my full size towel was saturated and I was so drenched I looked like I just got out of the shower. I didn't know I could sweat this much. As my muscles got warmed up, it felt good. What a great detoxifier too! I only had one water bottle with me and could have used about 2 or 3 more. Some people didn't seem to be sweating much, which amazes me. The yoga itself was not hard since it was the basic poses that I do regularly. The heat was great though, and I think this is going to be a perfect way to get used to working my body in heat. I signed up for a two-week membership of unlimited classes so I can go as much as I want during my taper.

Maybe I'll keep going after my taper too. It was fun.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

things looking up

Swim - 1.2 miles, 41 min

Things are looking up today. I started the day dragging and exhausted, but felt so much better after my massage. Mentally I feel just rejuvenated enough to be slightly interested in doing some workouts this week. I went to the store and bought some groceries, which in itself seemed to cheer me up. I had a huge spinach salad for dinner with avocado, leeks, strawberries, and tomatoes, and then followed that with a bowl of plain yogurt and cereal.

I also went to the store and bought myself the Vol. 1 cd by the band Hurt. I love the songs Rapture and Fall Apart and have been in need of something new to listen to. The Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium has gotten me through the past two months, which says a lot considering how much time I spend with my mp3 player, but one can only listen to that so much. I wish Evanescence would release their new album now, but I guess I will have to get through on their one new song.

Besides everything else it offers, Ironman teaches the necessity of knowing how to care for oneself.

Monday, August 21, 2006

last mega-weekend


Notes to self for taper:
-Make sure to get to yoga class
-Do not ride the Ironman bike course anymore!!
-Ride parts of the Horribly Hilly course instead
-Do more structured pool workouts to sharpen up technique
-Reincorporate abs and pushups
-Sleep at least 9 hours each night
-Be extra nice to self
-Read books and magazines that are not related to triathlon

[Sunday 8/20/06]
Bike - 91 miles, 6:11
Run - 6 miles, 55 min

After this workout, for the first time I can honestly say that I feel ready to do Ironman. I started tired and I didn't get progressively more tired throughout the workout. Usually fatigue is linear, but my body is so far beyond normal now that I feel just as tired after 20 miles on the bike as I do after 91 and a 6 mile run. Fatigue is fatigue is fatigue. This was my last mega-workout of the training season! Yippee! Now I am starting my three-week taper to race day.

I took a new route for the first 50 miles of the ride (the Bombay Bicycle Club "Days of Wine and Roses" ride), and then did a loop of the Ironman course. The first half of the ride was rolling hills to moderate, which was a nice change from the usually hilly stuff. I nailed the bike nutrition today and know exactly what I have to do on race day. Key point: do not rely on Gatorade under any circumstances. It does not have the right mix of nutrients and electrolytes. Another key point: the value of bagels with peanut butter and jelly should not be underestimated.

The first mile of the run was tough, but after that I got into a groove and felt great on the hilly course that I ran. I can't explain it, but I felt nearly "fresh". Given how hard I have been training, clearly there is no possible way that I was fresh. Things are going on with my body now that I have never experienced before and can not explain. I have gotten to unchartered territory in my fitness level and ability to work through fatigue. It amazes me.

Now all I have to do is ease up and recover. I am set.

[Saturday 8/19/06]
Swim - 2.4 miles, 1:20
Bike - 37 miles, 2:13
Run - 6.7 miles, 1:01

Not much change in my state of mind today. I know I am almost there so I can't give up, but this is getting less and less fun. My body is toast. Beyond toast. The workouts were ok but I felt like I was just going through the motions, slogging through the miles. It is beginning to feel like work. I tried to be as nice to myself as possible.

This morning they were holding the Madison Open Water Swim on the Ironman course in Lake Monona so the buoys were set up in the same places that they will be for Ironman. It was nice to swim the course and know exactly how far out I go, and to be able to practice sighting off of big flourescent buoys. Plus, there were lots of swimmers out there. I didn't compete but I watched.

After the swim I treated myself to go the morning farmer's market with a friend and get a delicious cornmeal crepe breakfast burrito. The crepe was the highlight of my week, though I proceeded to have an Ironman meltdown as I was eating it. In the relentless spirit of Ironman training, there was little time for melting down - I had to get going on my bike ride. The bike ride was uninteresting and I didn't attempt to go anywhere unusual, basically just the regular route out to Verona and back.

Then on to the run... does this workout ever end? I went through the Arboretum and on some of the trails in there. I haven't ran the trails by myself before because I don't know where they go and think I will get hopelessly lost. Today I didn't care if I got lost and was thinking that maybe getting lost would actually cheer me up. I didn't get lost, but I did have a nice time on the trails. I visited a special place in the woods that a friend of mine devotes to her mother who has passed away. I stopped my run to continue the meltdown at this place and to ask her mother for help. I think she helped me a great deal because I felt better and figured out how to get through tomorrow.

[Friday 8/18/06]

I couldn't bear the thought of getting the water today so I decided to skip it. It is getting really tough to maintain this. I am near mental breakdown. I have been having trouble sleeping because I am so worried about how painful the Ironman run is going to be after the bike. I am dreading the weekend.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

calm relentlessness

Run - 20 miles, 3:08 - Monona Terrace to Picnic Point entrance and back, then around Lake Monona

I made it through another 20 miler today. Calm relentlessness. I am learning what it is like to get beyond pain.

I am maintaining my usual long distance pace and it is hurting only slightly less at the end, but what I am noticing is that it is getting easier and easier to have a normal day after these without needing to lay down and sleep for a long time. I can bike to work right after it without thinking twice about whether or not I will have enough energy.

[8/16/06 Wednesday]
Bike - 25.7 miles, 1:38, Ave Speed 15.9

I biked what is becoming my typical loop for early morning weekday rides. Machinery Row Bike shop to the Monona Terrace and down the John Nolen bike path to the Capitol City trail. Turn onto McCoy road which turns into Syene. Right on Irish Lane, left on Caine, right on Whalen. Right on Seminole and back into Madison through the Arboretum. There are a few hills but it is mostly rolling with a good mix of being in and out of the city.

I have been on the waiting list to rent Zipp 606 race wheels from and the highlight of the day today was finding out that they had a cancellation and I will get to rent the wheels during the week of Ironman! They arrive at my door a week ahead of time, and then I return them after the race. Riding on the wheels that claim to be the fastest out there, I should have a pretty fast Ironman bike split.

[8/15/06 Tuesday]
Swim - 1.2 miles, 37 min - Lake Monona
Run - 4.6 miles, 44 min

I eased back in today after that long tiring bike on Sunday. I am feeling grumpy about doing even short workouts because I am getting a little mentally burnt out. There was a part of me that wanted to take another rest day today, not because I was too tired, just because I didn't feel like getting into the routine for yet another day. That part of me did not win.

Monday, August 14, 2006

nutrition rehearsal


[8/13/06 Sunday]
Bike - 100 miles, 6:48 = Two loops of Ironman course plus part of connector
Run - 2 miles, 19 min

I rode the first 40 mile loop of this with a friend of mine who is training for her first sprint triathlon. It was great to have someone out there with me to chat with and help me keep my pacing down. She did a great job on the hills.

I used this ride as a dress rehearsal for Ironman nutrition. I had 5 bottles of Gatorade, pretzels, a pb+j sandwich, a banana, 2 clif bars. It was plenty of liquid, but not nearly enough calories and my stomach was growling by the end. I was hoping to not use Sustained Energy to get calories from a mixed drink, but I may need to after all. The sandwich tasted great and I could have eaten at least 2 more of those. My legs felt dead and tired for the run and my stomach began to get bloated and gaseous... not good, had I been running 26 miles instead of just 2. I have a long ride again next week to get this all worked out.

[8/12/06 Saturday]
Swim - 3.6 miles, 2:13, Lake Monona
Run - 6.2 miles, 54 min

Face-down in a lake for over 2 hours. Need I say more?
A few more of these and the Ironman 2.4 miles will seem short.

[8/11/06 Friday]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

4 1/2 weeks to go

[8/10/06 Thursday]
Swim - 1.2 miles, 40:45 - Lake Monona with splits: 18:52/21:52
Run - 20 miles, 3:06, 9:15/mile pace - One loop of the Arboretum and one loop of the Ironman run course

I have had my mind on this workout for the whole week. Would it be possible for me to do a long brick including a 20 mile run just a few days after racing a half ironman? The answer to that is yes. Before starting the run, I was having doubts about what my legs could do. After 3-4 miles in, I started feeling great as though my legs had forgotten about the half ironman. I ate three gels while I was out there, but my stomach would growl for real food every once in a while. I ate part of a bagel and a banana before starting the swim, but this was not enough. My legs began to hurt for the last 5 miles and I was envisioning them as flames beneath me. I didn't look down to see if they were still intact. They must have been because I finished at a great average pace.

I went home, ate some plain yogurt and toast, showered, took a power nap for 10 minutes, and it was time to go to work. I took my ice packs with me and a whole bundle of food to get me through the rest of the day. It feels good to know that I am able to recover and bike to work after a long run like that. I can remember a time when I would have been unable to walk after running 20 miles.

4 1/2 weeks until Ironman. Exactly one month from today. I have one more week of hard workouts and then I taper.

[8/9/06 Wednesday]
Bike - 25 miles, 1:37, Ave Sp 15.7
Massage - just legs

This was my first time back on the bike since Steelhead. I have gotten obsessive about keeping my bike clean and I felt the need to give it a basic wash at 6 am before going out. I don't like it when the gear shifters are slightly sticky with Gatorade remnants and there is dirt and sand in the cassette and deraillieurs. I love my bike.

[8/8/06 Tuesday]
Swim - 2700m, 55:40
Run - 5 miles, 44 min

For a change of pace, I went to the Middleton public pool to do my swim workout today after work. It is fun to swim laps in a pool outside. I followed this up with a quick run through the Arboretum. It was a beautiful day and I looked forward to my workouts all day at work.

[8/7/06 Monday]

[8/6/06 Sunday]
Bike - 60 minutes spin class, easy recovery

I felt stiff and sore waking up this morning. I spent 6 hours in the car driving home after the race yesterday and was in need of some easy recovery. This is going to be a tough week ahead and I need to get my legs ready for it. I went really really easy in the spin class today. I hardly had any resistance on the whole time, even when we were supposed to be going up "hills". After the class I went to the hot tub at the gym to stretch and massage my legs. I definitely felt better after doing all this than before.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Steelhead 70.3

[8/5/06 Saturday]
Steelhead 70.3 Half Ironman, Benton Harbor, Michigan
1.2 mile swim - 35:14
56 mile bike - 2:53
13 mile run - 1:58
Finish time: 5:31

[8/4/06 Friday]
Swim - about 600m, 11 min
Run - 2 miles, 17:39

Race warmups

[8/3/06 Thursday]
Run - 6.2 miles, 1:00 - Arboretum loop, easy pace

[8/2/06 Wednesday]
Swim - 1.2 miles, 38:19
Bike - 26.4 miles, 1:26, Ave Sp. 16.8

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

run at dawn

Run - 9.5 miles, 1:33 - arboretum +, hills

i miss my training buddy.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Spiderman bouncy ball phenomenon

Swim - 1.2 miles, 42:39 - Lake Monona

Whew! An easy day and I was done at 6:45am.

Earlier in the season, I came up with a way to be seen in the lake to avoid being run over by ski boats - large inflatable bouncy balls that kids sit on and bounce while holding on to the handle make great buoys. I got a bright yellow Spiderman ball at Toys R Us and attached one end to the handle of the ball and the other end to my waist with a long strap and my race belt. When I swim with it, it drags behind me with little extra effort and makes me visible in the water from at least a mile away. A few people saw me and asked me about it... that was a month or two ago. I guess the idea caught on because today there were a bunch of swimmers out there that I didn't know, two (!) of whom were swimming with Spiderman bouncy balls attached to themselves. It's funny what catches on sometimes.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

long intense week

Bike - 78 miles, 5:11
Run - 2 miles, 18:11

I was on vacation from work this week, but have been working at home, and working out. This was a hard training week, with 19 hours total. That is the most hours I have ever trained in one week, and it was great to have the luxury of taking naps whenever I needed them, and of preparing the right recovery foods to try to fill myself up (a tough task!). I have been eating a box of blueberries a day, as well as at least a gallon of water. It is really hot out and I don't have air conditioning, so I guess this is all part of my heat acclimation.

I am tired with general fatigue, but have no muscle soreness. I am looking forward to recovery this week. Next Saturday I am doing the Steelhead 70.3 Half Ironman, so I'll see if all this volume pays off. I haven't done any specific race prep for it, and no speedwork because it just doesn't fit into Ironman training this close to the race. This is unusual for me and it makes me a little nervous, but I am sure I can gut it out and do pretty well no matter. I have to trust my training.

Training totals this week:
Swim - 14000m, 5:10
Bike - 132 miles, 8:40
Run - 33 miles, 5:11
Total: 19:01

[7/29/06 Saturday]
Swim - 3 mi (4800m), 1:53 - in Lake Monona
Run - 8 mi, 1:15

This is the longest I have ever swam before! My toes turned all white and shriveled :)

[7/28/06 Friday]
Bike - 32.6 miles, 2:05
Swim - 3500yd, 1:15 - main set as 7 x 300 on 6 min@5:20-5:40

[7/27/06 Thursday]
REST Day, Yoga class

[7/26/06 Wednesday]
Run - 17 miles, 2:40

I am still tired from that 90 mile ride on Sunday, so this really felt like an Ironman training run starting out on sore legs. I had bad moments, but then things would turn around and I would start feeling better. I am happy knowing that I could have done more.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

mental aspect of two loop courses

Swim - 2.4 miles, 1:22 - Lake Monona, choppy conditions
Bike - 21.3 miles, 1:24 - ave sp. 15.1, easy recovery ride

This makes two days in a row that I have gone swimming in the lake early in the morning. I usually have trouble doing that, so I am proud of myself. Today I did two laps of the standard 1.2 out-and-back which makes me doubly proud of myself. I was ready to stop after one, but didn't let myself bail. It felt like a long time in the water.

Each event of Ironman Wisconsin is two loops. So, once in each sport, three times that day, I will feel like being ready to stop but have to do double what I just did. As my workouts have gotten longer recently, I am feeling that the mental strength to keep going is going to be a key component of the race. Doing two loop courses in training will help me learn to face the beginning of that second loop without so much dread. The third quarter of any race is always the toughest for me because I still have a lot to go, but am already somewhat tired from the first half. Facing a second loop, as though I am at the beginning, is even tougher.

Monday, July 24, 2006

trick the waves

Swim - 1.2 miles, 39:36 - Lake Monona, choppy water
Run - 6.2 miles, 56:50 - Arboretum loop, hot

Is there some secret to swimming fast when you are going with the wind? I didn't go much faster going against the wind as going with it. I felt like I was getting pushed forward with each wave, then pulled backward. Is there some open water swim technique to "trick" the waves?

I did my run in the hottest part of the day to keep working on my heat acclimation. The hotter the better since Ironman somehow always tends to be on the hottest day of the year. I didn't let myself walk and I tried to focus on running strong for the whole time.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

rest ... now back to the grind

Bike - 92 miles, 6:03, Ave Sp. 15.3mph, hilly - round trip Cross Plains to Spring Green plus detour
Run - 2.3 miles, 19:54 - transition run

Back to the grind today. I started the day at 7 am from Festge Park in Cross Plains. It was cold with patches of dense fog at first, but became warm, sunny, and humid after a few hours despite the forecast for rain and clouds. I planned to go 80 miles today but took a wrong turn that ended up adding 12 miles. In 6 hours out there I only saw 2 other cyclists total. I guess this wasn't a very popular route or something. It was on parts of the Horribly Hilly ride course and had a good mix of hills and flat stretches. I enjoyed my compact crank even more today than the other day. My transition run was actually no big deal today, which I think had something to do with having easier gears for the hills. I have never felt as good on a post-bike run as I did today.

Today's Nutrition:
Pre-ride - 1 bagel with peanut butter and jelly, 1 piece banana bread
During-ride -
1 bottle plain water
1 bottle water with Nuun electrolyte tablet
1 bottle mix: 1 1/2 scoops Sustained Energy, 4 scoops endurolytes, 1 packet banana hammer gel
1 bottle gatorade (1 1/2 scoops)
1 bottle Heed (1 scoop)
2 clif bars
handful of pretzels

-Comments on nutrition: I felt hungry and thirsty at times during the ride. I could have had more solid food. Heed tastes like chewed up pills - this is not a good drink for me to use to encourage drinking. My stomach felt good during the run. I had a light headache at times during the ride and lingering into the evening after the ride. I think I would have been prepared for a cool ride, but it got hotter than I was expecting. Next time - one water bottle per hour + solid food?

[Saturday 7/20/06]

I can't remember the last time I took an entire Saturday off of training. I felt like such an iconoclast today because I knew that all the other Ironman people were out there slaving away on their mega bike-run bricks in the heat. Meanwhile, I was leisurely browsing the farmers market, taking myself out to breakfast, sipping tea at a coffeeshop, taking a nap, and relaxing in the hot tub at the gym. This day was as mentally rejuvenating as it was physically rejuvenating.

This week is going to be a long hard week, followed by a taper week and a half-Ironman race. Keeping focused through all this is going to take everything I have. I have been at it for 7 months solid and the end is just within sight. Ironman is exactly 7 weeks from tomorrow.

[Friday 7/21/06]

I was planning to go to Boulder, CO today for a week to train and work on a freelance web project. That is not going to happen. I am just too tired. It has been so hot that I haven't slept well and am getting to a state of overtraining that my body can't recover from. I need rest and recovery and all my energy needs to go into my upcoming hard week of workouts. I am going to stay home instead to get myself in a better state of being. I am cranky, indecisive, sleepy, worn-out, and pretty much useless for anything but sitting.

I took some extra time today (between naps) to clean and organize my house. Things had gone on far too long. Step 1 to feeling like my life is under control.

[Thursday 7/20/06]
Run - 6 miles, 50:32 - on lakeshore path (flat), hot conditions
Swim - 2000m, 45:14 - main set: 12 x 100 @ 1:45-1:53 on 2 min

Ok, so now I know I haven't lost all my running speed. After my recent race runs, I have started to wonder. I just need to make sure I do some runs where I force myself to push the pace and not let up. I got the new Red Hot Chili Peppers CD Stadium Arcadium and this kept me moving along today. There are some great songs on there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

day one with new compact crank

Swim - 4000m, 1:27 - main set: 4 x 950m @ 18:22, 18:53, 19:22, 19:57 w/ 2 min rest
Bike - 37 miles, 2:24 - average speed 15.4 mph, downtown Madison to Paoli plus a little extra

Man am I tired. Sleepy and exhausted. When is Ironman again?

Today for my swim I broke up the IM 2.4 miles into 4 segments (950m) and tried to swim them at my Ironman pace. That would have been about 18:45 each. I didn't quite make it, but given my level of exhaustion right now, this does not concern me. It is really a miracle I made it through at all.

I got out of the pool and got right on my bike to start my ride. It was my first day riding with my new compact crank (FSA carbon mega-exo compact) and I was surprised at how much easier it was. With the upgrade, I also took my crank arm from a 177.5mm length made for giants down to the more typical 172.5mm. I can already tell that my pedaling is smoother and it is easier to keep a high cadence. AND, I am loving my new granny gear for the hills!

In triathlon, you can buy speed. The next upgrade I am thinking about for my bike is HED 3 spoke race wheels.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

GGVII Race Report

Run - 16.5 miles, 2:40
I rolled out of bed at 5am and was out the door to start this run at 5:20. It was actually kind of cool outside at the early hour. I went around Lake Monona (12 miles) and then took the Wingra bike path over to the Arboretum to get in the extra miles. My legs are still pretty well toasted from Sunday and I am feeling tired all over, but somehow I made it through this. I am getting more and more used to the feeling of pushing through a long workout when starting out tired. It was a nice morning and I listened to a classical music station. This was very unusual for me since I usually run to rock and metal - bands like Tool, POD, Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Evanescence, and Seether. The classical was a nice touch to keep things calm today. Towards the end it hurt about the same to run or walk, so I figured I would be home faster if I just kept running. This whole description makes my run sound rather miserable, but I always enjoy the simple escape of my long runs no matter how tired I am.

[Monday 7/17/06]

[Sunday 7/16/06]
GGVII Olympic Triathlon, Chicago - 2:39:09, temperature: 90 degrees
Swim - 0.9 miles - 27 min
Bike - 25 miles - 1:13
Run - 6.2 miles - 54 min

5th place female overall
2nd place female age group 25-29

What a race this was. It was fairly disorganized so the exact course layout was not clear until I was racing the course. The results got messed up and have not been made publically available. The swim in Lake Michigan took place in a harbor filled with yachts, and went out and back along the wall. There was no opportunity to get in the water beforehand for a warmup swim. The water was not as dirty here as I was expecting and I could see the bottom for much of the swim. My swim went well and according to my friends, I was about the sixth woman out of the water.

T1 involved a near half mile run from the water to the bikes, partially on a cement path and partially uphill on grass. It took me about 5 minutes to transition, including having a lot of trouble getting out of my wetsuit. The bike course was two loops out and back on Lakeshore Drive - four lane divided highway with gently rolling hills. The inner two lanes in each direction were closed for the race, which made a unique experience of biking on the highway. I had an amazing bike, having an average speed of 20.7 mph. It was exhilarating to pass so many people. My average speed for Pardeeville sprint triathlon was 20.9mph, so I only lost 0.2 mph going 10 additional miles.

The run was where it started to get hard. The heat was setting in for the day and there was no shade on the course. As expected, my legs were dead for the first two miles after going hard on the bike. I ate a Hammer Gel with water and then got stomach cramps which lasted at least through mile 3. Miles 4 and 5 were smoother but my heart rate felt a bit out of control so I took two 30 second walk breaks to try to help this. I poured many cups of water on my head to try to cool off... perhaps too many because the water saturated my clothes and ran down into my shoes such that I was squishing on each step. This kept me cool, but gave me blisters on my toes. I was alone for most of the run, which left me wondering if I was so far behind that everyone was already done, or if I was really that far ahead. The run was an out and back so when I started to see lots of women just starting out as I was at mile 4, I knew I was doing well and had to keep my legs moving to maintain my lead. I was passed by the winner of my age group around mile 3 and she said "nice job" as she passed me. When people do that I feel like they are psyching me out by meaning: "you had a good race, but I am passing you now and you are not going to be able to pass me again." On the other hand, I truly did a "nice job" so I don't doubt that it is a sincere comment. Since I am not sure how I feel about having this said to me, I usually only say it to people if they are passing me in the opposite direction, already significantly ahead.

As I came in to the finish line, the spectators were really supportive and cheering for me. I sprinted to the end and knew that I gave it all I had. For my next Olympic distance race, I will eat more on the bike so that my energy is more topped off to start the run. The one bottle of Gatorade was not quite enough.

All in all it was a very supportive and fun race. I enjoyed having my friends out there to watch me. The distance felt like a long sprint distance, but I think I am good at it. Compared to my sprint time, this just about doubled which means that I am able to sustain my maximum power over a significantly longer distance. This will definitely not be my last race of this length. I think I could go under 2:30 in a race with a normal T1, with some fine-tuning to my race nutrition, and in slightly cooler temperatures.

[Saturday 7/15/06]
Race warmups: 15 minute swim in Lake Michigan, 15 minute run with race pace pickups, 20 minute bike with race pace pickups

[Friday 7/14/06]

Friday, July 14, 2006

more pre-race recovery

[July 13, 2006 Thurs]
Run - 4.8 mi, 42:25 - fast paced run in hot conditions

Sunday I am doing the GG VII Olympic distance triathlon in Chicago and it is going to be really hot. It will be the first Olympic distance race I have ever done so I am a little unsure of the pacing and nutrition. I thought I would get myself prepared for the heat by going out for a hard effort run in the heat of the day today. It was at least 85, maybe more. I tell myself that I am strong in the heat, and if I am good about my race nutrition I will be fine. It was a good run.

This week has been recovery and I am taking it extra easy because I have been feeling near overtrained lately. My legs feel better after my massage yesterday and I actually felt bounce in my step today. It feels strange to be doing so little these past few days, but I reassure myself that it will pay off by giving me some new enthusiasm to get through my last few weeks of hard Ironman training, and no, I am not losing all my fitness by only working out once a day.

[July 12, 2006 Wed]
Swim - 3500m, 1:15 - main set included 10 x 100 @ 1:38-1:46 on 2 min, 1000 continuous

[July 11, 2006 Tues]
Run - 6.6 mi, 56 min - speed workout with 5 x 800@ 3:30/3:20 w/ 400 walk recovery
Swim - 1800yd, around 40 min - long swim lesson with lots of repeats and drill work

[July 10, 2006 Mon]

[July 9, 2006 Sun]
Run - 15 miles, 2:24 - to IM run course, one loop and back home

[July 8, 2006 Sat]
Bike - 70 miles, 4:33
Run - 2 mi, 17:08 - transition run off bike

I biked from my house to the Monona Terrace, went out to Verona, did one loop of the IM course, and biked back. Three bottles of Sustained Energy with endurolytes, a Clif Bar and some pretzels worked well for nutrition in fairly warm conditions. I did not get a headache later in the day, was not hungry when I got off the bike, and felt decent for the run.

[July 7, 2006 Fri]

[July 6, 2006 Thurs]
Bike - 16 mi, 55 min
Run - 1 mi, 8:00 - transition run off bike

[July 5, 2006 Wed]
Run - 6.6 miles, 58 min - hard middle 3.6 miles (30:20)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

im course practice

Swim - 2.4 mi, 1:25 - Lake Monona
Bike - 14 mi, 56 min - easy aerobic ride

I did the swim on the Ironman course in front of the Monona Terrace, then got out of the water and ran up the spiral as though it were the race, got my bike which was parked up there, and biked back down the spiral to go on my ride. The transitions certainly are dramatic.

Monday, July 03, 2006

short and sweet

Run - 5 miles, 49 min - included some tempo work down to 8:30 pace
Strength workout, Abs

This was about as close to a rest day as it comes without actually taking a rest day. My workout for the day was complete by 8:30. I was in and out of the gym in an hour and a half. What would be normal for most people seems like a rare luxury to me at this point.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

pardeeville race report

Run - 9 miles, 1:32
Swim - 2500yd, 44 min - including 1 mile continuous @ 30:10

[7/1/06 Saturday]
Pardeeville Sprint Triathlon - .25 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 5K run - 1:16:23
Bike - 56 min, 15 miles - recovery ride

I love the Pardeeville triathlon. It is my favorite triathlon because it is a beautiful and fast bike course with rolling hills, the lake is nice, it is friendly to triathletes of all abilities, and it is close enough to Madison that I can always get friends to come out and see me.

I was totally on in all three sports today and had a great race. I set a sprint triathlon PR by 4 minutes over last year. 4 minutes! I was in a great state mentally, had fan support, was positive, excited, and confident to race, and had done all the key workouts to prep myself for the hard effort that a sprint distance race requires.

I took my usual caffienated gel packet 15 minutes before the start and was drinking a bottle of Gatorade in the 30 minutes prior to the start. I had a feeling it was going to be a good day when my warm up swim (one lap of the course) was 6:38, 22 seconds under my swim goal time of 7 minutes. My wave was last and I approached the start very calm and focused. As the gun went off, everyone started sprinting out and I held back until I got past the first buoy. I know I am a strong swimmer so there was no way that these women were all going to hold that pace for the entire swim. I let them pass me and get out of breath, and then I took off, passing all but one and I was second out of the water for my wave. I paid very close attention to staying right in line with the buoys and swimming absolutely the minimum distance required.

I grabbed the hand of a volunteer on shore who was helping pull people out of the water and took off sprinting to the transition area while peeling off the top of my wetsuit, my cap and goggles. I heard a few of my friends shouting my name but I was too focused to look up and see them. As I got to my space in the transition area, I was struggling to get my breathing under control. Taking off the rest of my wetsuit was not as smooth as it could have been, but it was not a disaster. I put on my helmet and raced out of there.
Swim split: 6:27

I hammered the entire bike ride. I mean, I really pushed. I gave it everything I had and didn't let it be comfortable for even a second. I passed lots of people and after a few miles passed the leader from my wave. I was racing first in my wave! As I got back to the park I did my well-practiced flying dismount where I take my feet out of my shoes (which are still on the bike) and swing my leg over the bike, then smoothly leaping off and running as I reach the dismount line, no seconds wasted. There were no other bikes back to transition from my wave! This was really something and I knew I was going to have to keep hammering on that run to stay in my top position.
Bike split: 43:30, 21 mph

Again, it was hard to get my breath under control as I began the run. Is this what they mean by "maximum oxygen uptake"? I felt like I was sucking in the maximum that I could but it was not quite enough. I maintained my lead until about 1 1/2 miles and then someone from my wave passed me. It was mentally tough because I didn't know if there was anyone else behind her. At Lake Mills I lost it on the run and gave up mentally when that happened. Today I was determined to give it my all no matter what. I did that and ended up with a decent run, though not as fast as I have gone in the past on fresh legs.
Run split: 23:35

It was a fun race and it makes me remember that when I am having a good day, I really know how to race these things. Last year I was 3rd. This year I was 2nd. Can I continue the upward spiral next year?

Thanks to my friends that came out to see me!

Final result - 1:16:23
2nd place, Female age group 25-29
11th place, Female overall

[6/30/06 Friday]

I was feeling tired and sleepy at 5:30am when I was scheduled to get up and go jump in the lake for a 2.4 mile swim. I listened to my body over my training schedule and I decided to stay in bed. The day before a race, this couldn't hurt.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

hamstring trouble

Bike - 1:11, 18.5 mi - speed workout with 6 x 5 min hard on 2 min recovery
Run - 5.5mi, 50 min - tempo run with a few hard intervals
Swim Lesson

I pushed hard on the bike and run intervals. My right hamstring is tight and sore, which was painful during my run today. It is ok if I go easy, but not at harder paces. This is a recurring problem that seems to happen every time my run mileage gets at or above 25 per week while at the same time my bike mileage gets at or near 100 per week. Yoga class hasn't fit into my schedule in the past few weeks and that usually helps somewhat. I am only moderately worried about it at this point.

[6/28/06 Wednesday]
Swim - 4000yd, 1:23 - main set: 7 x 200 @ 3:12-3:15 w/ 30 sec recovery, 7 x 100 @ 1:36 w/ 30 sec recovery, 10 x 50 @45 sec w/ 15 sec recovery

This was another of those swims from Triathlete magazine that attempt to bring someone to an Ironman PR. It was some good endurance speedwork and was mentally challenging to get through all the repeats in the pool without dying of boredom. The nice thing was that I would start to feel tired and wonder if I could make it through, and then the tiredness would fade a bit and more energy would surface.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

foot cramps=short swim

Run - 6 mi, 56 min - 2 x 800@3:30, 4 x 400@1:32, 1:35, 1:36, 1:31, 2 miles tempo run down to 8 min pace
Swim - 1800yd, 32:30

My run speed still feels a little rusty but I was really happy with my 400 splits today. 1:31 is a 6:04 pace! I'm not a fast twitch kind of person, so I know that the fact that I could hold that pace for a short distance means that with some increased length speed intervals I will be able to sustain it for race distances.

My swim was a complete bust. I got a foot cramp during the first interval of my main set. I tried to swim easy through it and drink some water. I didn't want to let it ruin my swim. Then I got one in the other foot. I could hardly do my flip turns because there was nothing to push off with. I think foot cramps mean I am dehydrated or out of electrolyte balance or something. I swam with the pull buoy for a little more to make it an even mile, and then called it a day. It was kind of nice to have a short swim for a change. Tomorrow I will do the real swim workout.

Monday, June 26, 2006

two loops

It wasn't going to be, but my legs are shell-shocked after that ride yesterday.

[6/25/06 Sunday]
Bike - 85 mi, 5:30 - two loops of the Ironman Wisconsin course, plus a little
Run - 2 mi, 18:22 - easy transition run

This was the first time I have done two loops of the course in a row. I was feeling tired to start out, and wasn't sure if I would do both loops or call it a day after one. I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I stopped after one loop though, so I kept going. Getting back into Verona, seeing my car, and yet knowing that I was only half done was a mental challenge. That first hill out of Verona was the toughest mentally. I planned my nutrition strategy in hopes that I could complete the ride without getting a dehydration headache after the ride was over. That is fairly predictable with me for long rides. I think I don't take in enough calories and salt so my strategy today was to feel like I was taking in too much. I had three bottles of my Sustained Energy mixed drink with Endurolytes, two bottles of water, a Clif Bar, some granola, and salty pretzels. I began drinking and eating right away and tried to have something every five miles. This actually worked really well, and kept the headache away. I was hot to start the run but got some cold water and was fine. I didn't feel hungry at any point and even after I got home I didn't feel the urge to eat. I got a bit bloated, however, but I feel like at least I now have a handle on the dehydration problem.

[6/24/06 Saturday]
Run - 5 mi, 46 min - speed workout: 4 x 800 @ 3:30, 2 x 400 @ 1:37

Some neuromuscular conditioning in preparation for Pardeeville sprint triathlon. The first repeat was hard, but it got much easier as my legs remembered how to run this pace. I was on the treadmill at the gym at 5:30 am. This was going to be a rest day since I was going out of town to a family reunion, but I decided to get up and squeeze in some intervals.

[6/23/06 Friday]
Bike - 23 miles, 90 min - recovery ride, ave sp. 14.9

This was a beautiful ride on a beautiful sunny afternoon. I went out with a friend who is a new triathlete. It is a treat to go riding with someone who shares my enthusiasm for this stuff.
...hi amber! ...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

great run, great swim

Run - 14.5 miles, 2:07 - flat and rolling hills
Swim - 4000m, 1:15

Both workouts today were awesome! I stayed strong until the end on the run and had a fairly good pace considering the hills. I wasn't going super easy, but it felt comfortable the whole time. I ran from home to the Arboretum, did the 6.2 mile loop, and then ran back home. I tried a new gel - AccelGel Kiwi Strawberry and it kind of tasted like yogurt. It had protein in it and didn't taste like eating a spoonful of sugar which was a nice change. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the packets are filled with excess air, so they are bulkier than other gels to carry.

I had a great swim too. I am working on keeping my forearm and hand in alignment during the catch and pull phase of the stroke in order to generate more power. I am also trying to make sure that I am always rotating enough. Like on the run, I was going at a very manageable pace, pushing myself just a bit. This gives me confidence that I will be able to use my Ironman swim (3800m) as a warmup for the rest of the race and still be around my goal pace of 1:15.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

two nap kind-of-day

Bike - 23 miles, 1:24, Ave Sp 16.5 - 2 x 15 minutes moderate hard w/ 5 min recovery

Things are going well in training this week. In the rest of life, they are not going very well, but in training they are going well. It was a beautiful summer evening to go on a bike ride and after my ride, I enjoyed a nice dinner of potatoes and steamed cauliflower on my porch. I took the day off of work today and was pretty sleepy so I took two luxurious two hour naps.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

longing for long rides

Bike - 19 miles, 1:10 - including 5 x 6 minutes hard w/ 2 min recovery
Run - 3.1 miles, 26:30 - transition run at moderate pace
Swim Lesson

My legs were plagued with lactic acid leftovers from the Horribly Hilly for this ride but I managed to push hard on the intervals nonetheless. Then, my legs felt dead and sluggish for the first part of the run but got moving faster after the first 12 minutes. I am determined to improve my brick workouts and not let the dead-legged run get to my head.

I am not sure when this happened, but my biking is the strongest right now and my running is the weakest. It was opposite last year. I have come to love riding my bike and getting out in the country away from people and traffic. I feel comfortable and strong on my bike. I look forward to my long rides the most. Hills don't bother me anymore because I know they don't get much harder than anything I have done on the Horribly Hilly ride or in Hawaii and I made it through those just fine. I am gaining confidence that I can manage just about any terrain.

figuring out my training plan

[6/19/06 Monday]
Swim - 3500yd, 1:06 - main set: 5 x 200@3:12 w/ 30sec RI, 7 x 100@1:37 w/ 20 sec RI
Strength workout - assisted pull ups, assisted dips, body rows, cable pull, cable punch, swimmers, hanging leg raises (3 x 12), varied crunches (100)

Triathlete magazine has a "lab rabbit" section where they give an age-group triathlete a training plan and track his/her progress up until the goal race. This month's magazine begins a feature on a guy from Wisconsin named Dirk who is training for the WI Ironman. I met Dirk as I was watching the Verona Triterium triathlon on Sunday. I decided to try out a few things from his plan for an Ironman PR, so that's where today's swim workout came from. It was tough to keep up the pace for all the repeats, but it feels like something I should be doing on a regular basis. Recently my workouts have gotten less structured for some reason, and have lacked the speed focus to give me as much of a racing edge as I want. This should help me tune up.

My current focus has now shifted to increasing volume for Ironman while building in specific speed sets tailored to my sprint, Olympic, and half Ironman distance races coming up in the next six weeks. I am not going to do much tapering for the non-Ironman races because it takes too much time and gets me off track. I sat down with my training plan tonight and came up with a schedule for myself for the next four weeks. The core of it is based on an Ironman training plan but I was also sure to build in race-specific workouts based on what is recommended for the shorter distance races. I feel better about my training now that I have something laid out that is concrete.

I contacted the Horribly Hilly timing people and my results are now listed online.

Monday, June 19, 2006

HHH results

[6/18/06 Sunday]
Run - 60 min, 6 miles - treadmill/track recovery run
Swim - 2600yd, 50min - mostly drills and technique work

This was a recovery day after the Horribly Hilly ride yesterday. I was a little sore, but not too bad. My plan for today's run was to keep a 10 minute pace and get a sense of exactly what that feels like. Running periodically on the track or treadmill are good for learning how different paces feel. It is hard to know that precisely while outside. Lately I have been feeling out of touch with putting numbers on my exertion levels.

The results are up for the Horribly Hilly ride and sadly, something went wrong with my chip and my time did not get recorded. My watch said 4:51 and that puts me in as the 11th female finisher out of 78. I am really happy with that. All the hill practice I did made a difference.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

horrible hills

Horribly Hilly Hundreds 100K Bike - 4:51, 68 miles of grueling hills

Miles 0-20 1:12
Miles 20-30 41:58
Miles 30-40 34:15
Miles 40-50 46:28
Miles 50-60 49:52
Miles 60-68 46:29
TOTAL 4:51

It was 87 degrees, humid, and windy. I knew that I would be riding in these conditions and was prepared. It turned out to be a good ride, but a really tough one. The longest training ride I had done on this course was about 2 hours long, but I had practiced most of the hills at one point or another. I walked on a few of the major hills when my cadence got so low that I just couldn't push the pedals around anymore. An easier gear configuration (triple/compact crank) would have helped but I chose not to change my gear setup for this ride. I felt no shame in walking my bike and I usually quickly caught up to the people that passed me while I was walking.

I used the ride to practice my nutrition and did a better job with it than I usually do. I knew I could not wing it in the heat for 5 hours so I had to have some strategy. I drank a bottle and a half of my Sustained Energy mixture, a bottle of Gatorade, a bottle and a half of water, and ate a Clif bar. This probably was not enough because I felt at points like I was eating and drinking the bare minimum to keep away a lingering headache. I usually get that after I ride in the heat. I'm not sure if it is lack of electrolytes or dehydration that does it. I felt like I was drinking a lot today. Nutrition on the bike is something I have to keep working on.

It was an exhausting day. I gave it all I had.

[6/16/06 Friday]
Run - 7 miles, 1:02

Thursday, June 15, 2006

you know you're busy when...

You know you are busy when you don't even have time to update your workout blog. Ironman training really has a life of it's own. It is a complicated game of juggling to get the workouts to fit into an already busy schedule. I feel like I am constantly running between workouts, always needing to be aware of what gear and food I have with me so that I don't starve or end up driving around needlessly. I am feeling unsure of what I am doing, and especially about how my running is going. I think I need to be running more.

This post is nothing but the basics - just the workouts I have done in the last week.

[June 15]
Swim - 1.2 miles, 44 min - Lake Monona

[June 14]
Run - 8 miles, 1:15

[June 13]
Swim - 1.3 miles, 50 min - Verona quarry
Bike - 13 miles, 54 min - Horribly Hilly course

[June 12]
Mega Brick:
Swim - 1.8 miles, 56 min
Bike - 13 miles, 49 min
Run - 5.5 miles, 53 min
2:38 total

[June 11]
Bike - 71 miles, 4:34 - Monona Terrace to Verona via Ironman course, one loop of course and back

[June 10]
Bike - 23 miles, 1:24, Ave Speed 16.2

[June 9]

[June 8]
Swim - 1.2 miles, Lake Monona
Strength training

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

lake mills triathlon

[6/6/06 Tuesday]

[6/5/06 Monday]
Run - 10.5 miles, 1:42 - easy pace
Swim - 2.4 miles, 1:09, Lake Wingra - including .75 miles with resistance

[6/4/06 Sunday]
Lake Mills Sprint Triathlon - 500m swim, 15 mile bike, 5K run - 1:21:40
Bike - 33 miles, 2:12

This was my first triathlon of the year and I was really nervous. I have been training so hard since January and I was nervous about testing my training. What if I was still slow despite all my hard work? What if after all of this, I did not improve over last year?

When I got to the race in the morning and saw the other triathletes, people of all abilities, I started to feel better. I knew I was well prepared to race. I put all my time goals way in the back of my head to keep the pressure down. My primary goals were: 1. do not go out so hard on the swim that i run out of breath and have to backstroke - have a nice hard pace, but not too hard in the beginning, 2. have awesome transitions, 3. put out a very strong effort on the bike.

I accomplished exactly these goals and that made it a good race. It was the first triathlon that I managed my swim pace well, my transitions were 2nd (T2) and 3rd (T1) place overall in the female division (faster than Nicole Deboom, the pro), and I flew like never before on the bike. It fell apart on the run for a few reasons. I was so busy thinking about the swim and bike that I didn't mentally prepare for or visualize the run. I didn't drink enough on the bike and my stomach was delicate from nerves, so I got big time cramps about 1 mile into the run which made it hard to go fast. I haven't put in comparably as much run mileage or speedwork that I have done in the other two sports this year. I was 11th in my age group, and the 35th female. In my age group, I was 8th on the bike, 9th on the swim, and 20th on the run. I know I can do that run 5 minutes faster than I did, so that would have taken me up considerably in the rankings. These are all good things to learn from and use when I do the Pardeeville sprint triathlon in a few weeks. Overall, Lake Mills was not my best race ever in terms of my time, but I made some great progress in learning how to deal with major pre-race anxiety, swim pacing, and bike effort. Now I have to get out there and start doing some track workouts to get my running back in shape.

After the race, I went out and did a nice 2 hour bike ride at an easy pace. Not bad for a day's work.

[6/3/06 Saturday]

[6/2/06 Friday]
Swim - 20 min, Lake Wingra - sprint start practice
Bike - 30 min, 8 mi

Friday, June 02, 2006

messing with my head

[6/1/06 Thursday]
Bike - 80 min, 21 miles - a relatively flat aerobic ride
Run - 30 min, 3 miles easy

Racing is messing with my head. I am really nervous for the Lake Mills triathlon. Today's brick workout was supposed to build my confidence. The bike was good. The run was harder than I would have expected it to be and that worries me, though I know I can push through pain for a 5K.
It will be my first triathlon of the year and based on the online participant list, there is a very strong women's field this year. I have not made my goals in both of the running races I have done so far this year, and I don't want to continue the pattern. I think my only hope is to forget about my competitors, reassure myself about how strong I have gotten this spring, and just go out there and race as hard as I can. I know that there is no way I could have prepared more carefully than I have.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

race prep workouts

Bike - 60 min - warm up, sprint ladder: 3-3/4-4/5-5/4-4/3-3 (min on-min off), cool down
Swim - 43 min, 2100m - main set: 2 x 400@ 7:22, 7:16, 2x[100@1:30 on 2min, 2 x 50@45 on 1min, 100easy]

I rarely get up early and go for a bike ride before work but I always enjoy it when I do. It is fun to see the sun rise. Getting in a workout before work always feels so satisfying.

Both of today's workouts were very strong. I wanted to get in some hard effort intervals in preparation for the Lake Mills sprint triathlon on Sunday. My legs are still sore from the half marathon so I am easing up on running this week. The bike ladder workout gave me 19 minutes of race pace effort. I made myself stay above 20mph for the entire length of each interval regardless of terrain. The race itself will be about 40 minutes... it is going to be challenging to hold that pace for twice as long as I did today but I always go faster on the bike in races than in training. The swim ladder gave me three times the race distance at just above or at race pace. I was able to draft off a fast swimmer in my lane for one of the laps and noticed a big difference in the feel of the water. Besides the workout race prep, I also cleaned my bike today and removed all extraneous accessories that aren't needed for a short race. I went to a bike tech clinic on deraillieurs and cables, and am hoping I can do all my own drivetrain maintenance from now on... in other words, when something is clicking or rattling, I will be able to fix it without going to the bike shop.

I am eager to have this first set of races be done so I can get back to my real Ironman training. I haven't done much long slow distance in a while since I have replaced much of it with speedwork and structured workouts. I guess this has been a good mental and physical recovery. Coming out of it, I don't feel that lingering fatigue in my body, and I am excited to start something new. Perfect.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

half marathon recovery

Strength workout - push ups, assisted pull ups, ab throw, ab twist - 5 min each w/ 15 sec on, 15 sec off

I decided to make this mostly a rest day since my leg muscles are sore from the half marathon. I took a much-needed 2 1/2 hour afternoon nap.

[5/29/06 Monday]
Swim - about 2 miles in Lake Wingra, 1:20 - easy pace
Bike - about 13 miles, 60 min - easy ride including 3 x 2:15 single leg drills (each leg)
Transition practice - bike mounting and dismounting with shoes attached to bike

Sunday, May 28, 2006

race day heat acclimation

Mad City Half Marathon - 13.1 miles, 1:54
14/285 in F25-29 age group, 80/1133 female

It was a hard day to be out attempting to set a PR. The temperature was over 90 degrees, and it was humid and windy. This heat wave came out of nowhere and I didn't plan on racing in the heat so I didn't prepare for it. Sweating while standing at the start line is a bad sign for a long distance race. I was hoping to do a 1:40 but was far from it today. My time at this race last year was 1:46, so I was pretty far from that too. I was on pace for the first half but had a tough second half. That's when it started to get really hot. I was continuously pouring water on myself and running through hose sprays of water put out by spectators, but I still felt like my skin was going to burn right off my body.

Though I am disappointed in my time overall, I still managed to improve in my age group ranking (14th this year, 18th last year). It seems like most people around my speed were about 10 minutes slower than what they would do on a cooler day. I can not blame my results on the heat completely though. I made a few mistakes training and racing that were contributing factors. First of all, my longest run before the race was 13 miles and I think I should have done maybe two more longer runs maybe a 14 and 16 miler. I think I overestimated what I was capable of and therefore starting off at the faster pace was detrimental to my endurance in keeping that pace at the end. My training up to this point has prepared me well to race a fast 10K. Mile 8 is about where my high performance endurance breaks down. Another mistake I made was relying on the pace team leader to run even splits. Our pace was supposed to be 7:38 and our first mile was 7:10. I was trusting the pace leader to keep me on track when I should have been watching my watch and listening to my body. Next time I need to remember to only rely on me like I usually do. Today was a useful experience in learning how race in heat, how to not give up when I feel physically and mentally demoralized by my late-race mile splits, how it is crucial to have realistic expectations and listen to my body, and how going out too hard can be disaster in distances longer than 10K.

[5/27/06 Saturday]
Run - 2 miles easy, 27 min
Swim - 16 minutes, open water

Friday, May 26, 2006

athlete foods only


Yesterday's massage has helped my legs immensely. They are starting to feel back to normal. My massage therapist always tells me that she has her work cut out for her when I am on her table. This is no surprise because by the time my monthly massages come around, I am always sore and knotty all over. She says my forearms feel like tapioca before she works on them.

I had a few days last week where my eating was not so good. It is so easy to slip back into eating too much bread and cheese (i.e. pizza, lasagna, etc) and sugar (ice cream, popsicles). My recovery sucks when I do that. Right now, I am strictly restricting myself to athlete foods only. In the past day, my diet has included oatmeal with flax meal, eggs, sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, banana, grapes, carrot-beet-spinach juice, broccoli, tortilla with pb+j, odwalla organic energy bar, and water, water, water.

I read that Natascha Badmann drinks carrot-beet juice as her recovery drink so I am all over that. It sounds strange, but is actually very sweet and delicious.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Run - 3 miles, 27:08 - easy with 10 strides
Swim - 2000m, 41:02 - easy

This was my last real workout day before the half marathon on Sunday, and both workouts were easy. Even so, I am not feeling fully recovered yet. I drank four bottles of water today, hoping to flush out some of the lactic acid buildup in my legs. Personal issues have started to mess with my head and I know I have to try my best to put it aside and not let it ruin my confidence. I need to make sure the next few days are restful and rejuvenating.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

just a ride

Bike - 32 miles, 1:57 - UW Campus to Paoli and back

Nothing special about this ride today. I didn't have any specific workout in mind, I just rode at a comfortable pace. It was warm, humid, and windy and felt like summer for the first time this year.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

no time to go to work

Swim - 3000yd, 1:03 - main set: 2 x [25hard/25easy, 50hard/50easy, 75hard/75easy, 100hard/100easy, 75hard/75easy, 50hard/50easy, 25hard/25easy]
Run - 5.4 miles, 45:58 - including 4 x 400 @ 7:15 pace, 4 x 200 @ 6:40 pace
Strength workout

Some days there is too much working out to be done to go to work. I took the day off today and became a professional triathlete. This all took from 7:30am - 4:30pm including eating, an afternoon nap, and giving a friend a swim lesson. Of course, most days I have to squeeze it into a work day but I don't get the good recovery food and nap on those days.

I loved that swim ladder workout this morning. Two sets of 800 were perfect for training for a sprint triathlon. The hard efforts totalled 400, the same distance as the race. Going back and forth between hard and easy with no rest allowed me to really understand the difference in what I am doing to go hard. I need to focus on not simply kicking as hard as I can, but also to pulling faster and harder and maintaining good form. It is easy to get sloppy. I am seeing that kicking hard is more tiring than it adds speed. That might be part of my problem in going out too hard in races.

I am addicted to the song Passive by A Perfect Circle and listened to it during my entire run. I had a great speed session thanks to that song. It's funny how a 7:15 pace isn't feeling killer hard anymore, and even 6:40 is do-able.

[5/24/06 Monday]

Sunday, May 21, 2006

race dress rehearsal

Bike/Run - 43 miles bike/1.5 miles run, 2:45 total - 3 x (15 miles bike, 5 min transition run) including 6 x 5 min max bike effort, 2 reps on Lake Mills triathlon course, last lap through Arboretum

After the race specific preparation yesterday, I got in the mood to practice my transitions some more. I built it into this workout which was primarily supposed to be a long bike. It was great to get on the Lake Mills course and after doing two laps of the out and back route, I feel like I know it really well. I practiced my sprints out there and that should come in handy on race day. My goal was to go 2 miles in each 5 minute interval. For some of them I came close, for others I had trouble staying focused. It is a flat course, so unlike all the hilly routes that I do, it has to be a consistent hard effort. This means not letting up and not letting the mind wander. It is a different kind of challenge. The route goes on back roads through local farmland and there were lots of tractors out there today. I had to ride slowly behind a few. There was also gravel on the road on the curves in the road, and dirt around tractor entrances and exits. I hope that gets cleaned up a bit. I felt hesitant to take the turns at full speed for fear of wiping out on gravel.

I got new tires to start the racing season - Michelin Pro Race in yellow to match my bike, and I used them for the first time today. I had Vittoria Diamante tires before, but these seem very similar. I used my race season during-workout-nutrition-mixture today for the first time. Nothing brings me into race mode like a perfectly mixed chalky concoction of calories in a water bottle. My mix includes Hammer Sustained Energy, Hammer Endurolytes powder, and raspberry Hammer Gel. I also wore my race outfit to complete the spirit of race dress rehearsal.

I lost it mentally after the second lap and wanted to be done. I drove back to Madison and did the last part on my familiar route through the Arboretum. I was planning on doing a cold water acclimation swim but didn't feel like dragging on the day any further (it was already 3pm) so I skipped it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

swim starts

Run - 8 miles, 1:12 - flat route, easy pace with 38 min/34 min negative half split

Strength workout - 3 x 8 minutes circuit style: agility ladder, med. ball throw, jump rope, deadlift ball swing, skaters, side lunge with resistance, forward sprint with resistance

Swim - 26 minutes, Lake Wingra - 1000m??

Today's swim was more of a race preparation than a real swim. The water was in the mid 60's and I am glad I have my new neoprene cap because the covering on my ears really helps me stay warm. It took about 5 minutes to get used to the water temperature and then I was fine. I swam some easy laps of a set course near the shore and practiced my sighting in order to swim straight. Then I swam some laps at a hard effort. Then I got out of the water and did a running start, sprinted one lap (probably about 150m), ran out of the water and sprinted about 100m on land while taking off my cap and unzipping my wetsuit. I got some funny looks from sunbathers and picnickers on shore as I sprinted in and out of the water, but I wasn't paying much attention. This was transition practice at its finest. I feel really good about my preparation today.

My biggest concern about my upcoming sprint triathlon (Lake Mills) is the swim start. I am worried about the point where I have just started my stroke and gotten into oxygen debt by going hard. It seems to happen about 50 meters in. In all sprint triathlons I have done, this has been an issue. I end up having to turn over onto my back to catch my breath for a moment before resuming my stroke. This wastes valuable time in the already short swim and gives the other swimmers a chance to get ahead of me. With some practice in running sprint starts, hopefully I can fine tune the effort I should give in the beginning of a race in order to not run out of air.

[5/19/06 Friday]

As I was moving a chair on my porch today, I klumsily ran into a brick post and hit the side of my face. I didn't notice it at the time, but I must have really slammed into my eyeball because the white part is now bright red like blood on one side. It looks pretty gross but doesn't hurt at all and I can still see normally. My eyeball is the same color as the Ironman logo.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

walking 4 miles in bike shoes

Swim - 3000yd, 1:00 - main set: 2x200@2:59, 3:06, 3x100@1:29,1:28,1:28, 5x50@41,42,42,42,42 (hard effort)
Run - 8.5 miles, 1:13 - 1 mile warm up, 2 miles hard@14:23, 3 minute recovery walk, 1 mile hard (uphill)@9:15, 9 minute recovery jog, 1.5 miles moderate hard@13:05, 1.5 miles cool down

These were some intense workouts as both included some near all-out efforts. I had an hour nap in the middle of the day to try to get some recovery and I think that was key to making it through the run. My legs were pretty trashed to start. I am in week four of a four week training buildup instead of the typical three weeks because of the scheduling of the Mad City Half Marathon. This would normally be a rest week and my body is definitely ready for that.

My swim intervals gave me a good sense of where I am at. I am satisfied with the times for my 50yd repeats but slowed down noticeably on the longer distances. Similar situation with my run. I was all over the place in the intervals that I did, and I slowed down at the end. I was planning to do 2 three mile repeats at a hard pace, but my knee was starting to hurt and it just didn't seem smart to try to push my pace through that. I have some challenging goals in my mind for my two upcoming races and I think it will be pretty miraculous if I can pull it off.

[Wednesday 5/18/06]
Bike - 1:05, 14 miles - on Horribly Hilly course
Walk - 4 miles in bike shoes in the rain with flat tire

I had high hopes for getting in a good 30-35 hilly miles on the Horribly Hilly course today, but ended up having to cut it short thanks to a flat tire. I had a spare tube and CO2 cartridge on me and I know how to change flat tires, so it could have all worked out fine. After I got the tire on and inflated, I couldn't get the CO2 pump off and deflated the tire as the nozzle was pressed down. I only had one cartridge on me and no hand pump. I had no choice but to start walking. Soon it started raining and lightening. The weather was strange where it was sunny on one half of the sky and black rain clouds with thunder and lightening on the other half. It was scary to be out there. Four miles into my walk, a guy was getting home, saw me walking my bike and asked me if I needed help. We tried to pump up the tire but couldn't and we figured that it was probably punctured by gravel or something while I was walking. He gave me a ride four more miles back to my car, for which I was extremely grateful. I was already annoyed at having to waste the energy to walk four miles in bike shoes when it was not directly benefiting my training in any way. It was a disappointing day with wasted time and energy. I guess these things happen sometimes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

consistent 800s

Run - 5.8 mi, 1:05 - 2 mile warmup, 4 x 800 @ 3:20 w/ 3:30 rec (on treadmill), 4 x 400 @ 1:42, 1:46, 1:45, 1:43 w/ 2:30 recovery
Strength - 5 min w/ 15 sec on, 15 off : cable shoulder press, squats with weight, body rows, hanging leg raise
Swim - 4500yd, 1:25 - main set: 9 x 75 w/ every third Back, 15 x 125 w/ every fifth with sighting and 15 sec rec

Thanks to the treadmill I was able to push out consistent 800's at 3:20. My 400's on the track weren't quite as consistent.

It was a good swim. Doing 15 x 125 somehow made the long set go by quickly. It has been a few days since I have swam so my arms were feeling fresh.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

riding in the rain

[Sunday 5/14/06]

Bike - 3 hours - 1 hour spin class, 2 hours outside (27 miles, ave sp 13.4)

The weather was a bit cold and rainy today but turned out ok for a 2 hour ride. My bike and I were covered in dirt by the end. It was really pleasant riding with a friend who I don't ride with very often. Through all our chatting I hardly noticed the hills. I have said it before, but I continue to amaze myself that I can just keep churning out the long workouts day after day.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

workout overhead

[Saturday 5/13/06]

Run - 13 mi, 1:56 - ran Mad City Half Marathon course, moderate pace with some harder intervals
Strength workout - circuit style with 3 x 20 (cable curl, cable punch, cable pull, swimmer, lunges, plank on fit ball @ 40 sec, skater squat)

I knew starting out that my legs were in questionable condition to be running long today. I had to push through some unpleasant feelings in my legs towards the end. I forgot how hilly this course is. They added another major hill in place of a downhill from last year. Today's run was much slower than I intend to race. I am nervous about that since it was pretty challenging, but I hope that fresh legs off a taper and race day energy will help me out. Despite my worries, a few times while I was out there I thought about how grateful I am to be able to run long and how nice it is to just sink into my pace and listen to my music with nothing but the present moment.

post-workout routine:
- eat half a powerbar, finish water bottle
- take warm shower (it was freezing today!)
- eat two eggs and a bagel with peanut butter
- sleep for 30 minutes
- go to the gym and do strength workout
- do stretch routine
- sit in hot tub for 15 minutes while massaging legs and stretching more
- eat second half of powerbar (why do i buy these things? they are sickeningly sweet)
- go home and eat bowl of plain yogurt and cereal with two glasses of orange juice
- roll legs and back on foam roller
- lay around house and finally get on with the day ... this all took from 7-2:30

workout "overhead" can take all day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

easy brick

[Friday 5/12/06]

Bike - 60 min indoor - hill ladder workout: 3 min/5 min/7 min/5 min/3 min hard seated climb with 2 min recovery between each
Run - 1.5 mi, 12:09 - transition run immediately off the bike

This was an easy workout, but that was what it was supposed to be since I am getting ready for my long run tomorrow morning. I haven't done any transition runs in a while so it was nice to remember what they are like. My legs didn't feel tight or dead, and I could go at a good pace right away thanks to my hour warmup on the bike.

Something funny is going on in my left arm. I think I may have pulled something when I was doing pull ups on Tuesday. It hurts on my lat in the area just behind my armpit when I attempt to put my arm straight up. More importantly, that is also the position I use to pull with my swim stroke. I thought I was just very sore, but now I am not sure because my other arm is not sore the same way. Argh. Hopefully it will fix itself.


[Thursday 5/11/06]

Swim - 4000m, 1:26 - 50m pool, slow and steady long swim with even 1000m splits
Run - 3 mi, 26:35
Yoga - 60 min

Woo Hoo! I made it to 4000m! Ironman is 3800m and I feel like 4000m needs to be my bare minimum long swim at any given point in time. I had worked up to 4000 before going to Hawaii, but then after a three week break from any significant swimming, it took me a while to work back up. I tend to be overly cautious about increasing swim volume because I am doing some pretty intense upper body strength stuff right now and don't want to get injured.
6000m long swim here I come!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

david blaine and ironman

[Wednesday 5/10/06]

Swim - 3200m, 1:15 - 50m pool (300 free, 200 pull, 100 kick, 4 x 100 @ 1:32, 1:40, 1:41, 1:39 on 2 min, 200 pull, 8 x 50 @ 45-49 sec on 1:15, 200 pull, 8 x (25 @ 22 sec/25 easy) on 1:15, 200 pull, 8 x 50 B3/B5/B7/B9 on 50s, 200 kick, 200 pull cool)

Bike - 26.5 mi, 1:50 - on Horribly Hilly route in Blue Mounds area

The goal of my swim today was practicing at paces that I would like to do for the Lake Mills sprint triathlon. For a 6 minute 1/4 mile swim, the 100m pace is 1:30. That is what I attempted for the main set of this workout, but came up a bit short. I put this workout together myself and it was a good one. It helped me to know exactly where I am at with my short distance pacing. I have some work to do, but it doesn't seem totally unreasonable. The long course pool is helpful in preparing me for the lake swims where there will be no wall to push off of every 25m.

I biked a section of the Horribly Hilly route that I have never done before. I am practicing the 100K course in small manageable pieces and increasing my time out there for each ride. It continues to amaze me how strong I am on the hills this year, and this early in the season. Somehow I was able to do all the hills today, even the steep 2 mile Mounds Park Rd at the end of my ride, and still feel like I had some energy left at the end. I was breathing really hard and struggling to get air while still pushing the pedals around (did I mention I have a standard 53-39 gearing?), but I practiced relaxing my body and trying to calm down my breathing. For the long hills, I came up with a mental plan of attack before each one - I would eyeball random markers some distance in front of me like a certain tree or something, and at each marker I would start imagining myself as a different pro-triathlete climbing the hill. I mean, would any hill in Blue Mounds tire out Natasha Badmann or Peter Reid? I don't think so. It kept me going and gave me something to take my mind off my screaming legs and my breathing.

I watched David Blaine's Drowned Alive show on TV where he lived in a sphere of water for seven days and on the final day attempted to hold his breath for 9 minutes. (He only made it to seven minutes before they had to rescue him.) The show showed how he trained himself physically and mentally for it. His will and determination to get through extreme mental challenges like that has been inspiring to me. Triathlon is so much mental and learning how to feel comfortable in times of discomfort, just as David does in this and other stunts that he does. I suspect that his internal psychological reasons for having the need to do extreme things has much in common with the psychological motivations behind people doing Ironman. To generalize, I think it has a lot to do with a desire to conquer physical and mental pain through one's own choosing as a way to compensate and feel control over for serious pain that one has suffered elsewhere in life. Essentially they are alternative spiritual practices.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

all wound up

[Tuesday 5/9/06]

Run - 7.2 miles, 1:02 - warm up, 5 x 1 mile @ 7:30 w/ 0.3 mi recovery jog/walk, cool down
Strength workout - Power focus/Drop Sets - 3 x [9 Push Ups, 9 Pull Ups, 10 Side squats, 8-10 Ab throw-downs]

It was an amazing run this morning on the treadmill. It is nice to do a canned run like that every once in a while to tune up my pacing. I was able to hit the 7:30 pace for all 5 1 mile repeats. I thought about my breathing and relaxing into the pace. It was a challenging pace, but not that difficult to handle for 5 repeats. I could have done more. I wanted to nail this workout so I put it as the first one of the week after my rest day.

The strength workout was good too. I did as well as I could on the normal (non knee) pushups and assisted chin ups, though these are always hard. My massage therapist who is 6 feet tall commisserated with me the other day that it is always much harder for tall women to do pushups. The lever is longer and there is more weight to push.

I have been engaging in some retail therapy lately... I got a new polyester swimsuit, neoprene swim cap, deluxe sports bra, running top, large container of Sustained Energy, cushion inserts for my running shoes, water bottles. While I was at the bike shop I continued my research on improving my bike gearing situation. The options are a compact crank, a triple chainring, or a larger cassette. I have now decided that it will either be the compact crank or the larger cassette. I have to look on eBay for some good deals on those parts and check out the relative weights compared to what I have now with my Dura-Ace road setup.

[Monday 5/8/06]

I went in Lake Monona for the first time today. I am aware that this is slightly nuts. It was cloudy and in the upper 60's with the water temperature probably in the mid 50's. It was really cold!! I would like to get my body acclimated to the cold temperatures because I am going to do the Lake Mills sprint triathlon. My goal today was to stay in for 6 minutes. I tread water for 5 minutes and then swam for 3 minutes. It was so cold it hurt my hands and took my breath away when I put my face in. I can say that I began to get used to it though. By the end it wasn't quite as cold. I wonder if I was the first person this season to get in that lake from the Ironman Wisconsin swim start line. I was certainly the only one out there today.