Friday, April 30, 2010

Race Captain for Marathon Nation

Marathon Nation is a new online running community started by Patrick McCrann, the founder of Endurance Nation. When you join, you get a training plan, a community of supportive friends, all the training information you could ever want, weekly video chats with the head coach, and a lot more. The training plans emphasize very specific workouts that help runners get stronger and faster... i.e. lots of speedwork and drills. Recovery and core strengthening techniques are also included.

So... here's the news.... I'm the race captain for the Marathon Nation Philadelphia Marathon team (Nov 2010)... what does this mean? Well for one it means that after Ironman Coeur d'Alene I will rest and then train to do that race myself using the MN training approach (can't wait!). MN will have a special Philly race group that I will be in charge of. I will answer daily training questions, keep up with everyone's progress, and create special challenges to make the training more fun. I will host a group gathering/dinner on race weekend.

I'm excited to be part of this community and to help people achieve their running goals. I ran the Philly ING Distance Run last year (and set a big PR) and did the full marathon a few years ago. The fall scenery is beautiful, the course is pretty flat, the weather is cool and not-humid (unlike Austin), and the pro-field is world class. It's a great race.

If you are already in Marathon Nation, consider running Philly with us! If you have never heard of it, take a look at the website. We are friendly to all types of runners.

this week is a breather

I'm done whining. 5 days have passed since the half ironman and I am starting to feel normal again. I decided to abandon my training plan this week and just do whatever I am in the mood for based on how I am feeling each day. This is helping my mental state because I don't like feeling boxed in by a strict plan. I don't mind doing the work as long as I don't feel like a train wreck.

Swim 4000yd, 1:13 at Deep Eddy pool
MS: 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200 - all at 1:30/100 pace steady
Deep Eddy is COLD! The water felt awesome on my sore muscles. I had no trouble holding my threshold pace for this.

Run 7 miles, 59 min - Town Lake loop
Ugh, legs not horrible but not quite back to normal.

Swim 3000yd, 53 min
MS: 10x133 in 2:00 on 2:15, 10x66 in 1:00 on 1:15.
Big Stacy pool - so yes, the lengths are strange. Basically repeats of 2 laps and 1 lap. Nice swim. I went under my goal pace for many of the laps.

Run 10 miles, 1:26 with last 2 miles at 8:14 pace.

Strength workout
This is a modified version of the Crossfit Spartan Challenge:
25 pullups
50 pushups
50 box step ups on 20 inch box
25 lying leg raises
25 tick-tocks with broom stick
50 kettlebell clean and press with 20lbs
25 wall ball with 12 lbs

3x10 seated leg press machine@130 (not hard, just a reminder to my legs)

Monday, April 26, 2010


Bike 45 minutes (spin class, recovery)
Strength 15 minutes (lat pull, deadlift, pullup)

My hips and inner thighs are sore, and the rest of me is kind of tired, but the worst part of recovery from yesterday is the sunburn. I have a few really painful spots that hurt when my shirt rubs against them. I wish I would have thought to reapply my sunscreen before I started the run. Hello lots of aloe.

I am feeling kind of deflated today about triathlon. It really bugs me when I work so hard at something and still end up being an average middle-of-the-pack finisher. I feel beat up inside and out by that race. It felt more like work than fun. Thousands of Type-A triathletes in a small space is not an energy that is fun to be around. Why am I doing this again? I am optimistic that Coeur d'Alene will be better because the conditions won't be so brutal, and the course is nicer. I am going to do some hard thinking about what it will take to push myself to the limit in a positive way at that race.

In the spirit of this negative post, I may as well get it all out at once.... I have gained back the 3-4 pounds that I lost in the off season. It's not a lot in the grand scheme of things but it is enough that I feel it and notice it in my clothes. It is probably affecting my performance too. I think I tend to use food as a reward for really hard workouts, or fall into the trap of thinking that just because I have an Ironman on the calendar I can eat whatever I want. It's time to put some restrictions back in place:
1. 12 hour fast every night. i.e. All eating done by 7pm so I can eat breakfast at 7am. I will not die if I go to bed hungry.
2. Eat roughly Paleo with starchy carbs only immediately pre and post-workout3. Portion control

Lonestar 70.3 Race Report 2010

Galveston is a strange place. It's still struggling to get itself back together after Hurricane Ike. Many houses and buildings have boarded up windows and some still have blue tarps on the roof. The sun there is very intense and it is ultra-flat, and windy. There are miles and miles of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico, with lots of resorts, but while it seems like it may have been nice at one time, it is now kind of rough around the edges.

And so was the Lonestar 70.3 Half Ironman. It was in the 80's, clear and sunny, and with a relentless 15 mph wind. My age group (30-34) put me in wave 14, which meant that I started at about 8:10, over an hour after the first athletes. This gave the wind and sun an extra hour to intensify. The point-to-point swim in the bay had a choppy headwind the entire way. At some points I felt like the waves were sucking me backwards. My swim was well-executed but it took me a slow 40 minutes to muscle through the 1.2 miles.

The bike was 56 miles of the flattest road I have ever biked. It was an out-and-back route along the coast, which meant beautiful views of the ocean the whole way. I looked up once in a while to make sure not to miss that. The super flatness gave no terrain variation so I could use different muscle groups or stretch. My inner thighs cramped up at mile 20 and I had to fight cramps the entire way. I wasn't sure how that would play out since I have never had muscle cramps there before. The bike was 3 hours down in aero-position cranking out steady power... with a 15 mph crosswind the entire way. There was nothing to block the wind or provide any shade. I took it a little conservative on the way out and hammered the way back. I should have gone harder the whole way - that was a good lesson in pacing learned the hard way.  Lots of women passed me, and I shouldn't have been so ok with that. I wasn't going hard enough. On the plus side, my nutrition worked perfectly: 900 calories and 3 bottles of water in the form of Gatorade, EFS drink, and my special mix of Larabar, fig bars, walnuts, raisins. The solid food tasted good and I had no trouble digesting it. Final time: 3:02.

I was glad to get off the bike to relieve my hip flexors and inner thighs from all that aero-time. I headed out on the run course for 4 laps through Moody Gardens. They use the word gardens loosely because it is a commercial resort and the entire run was on concrete with no shade. My game plan was to work the bike out of my legs on lap 1, find a steady pace on lap 2, work through lap 3, and push it on lap 4. All those laps were mentally hard, but the nice part was that there were aid stations every mile. I needed them badly in the heat, and walked through every one taking all the cold sponges and water I could get. I also had Gatorade or some other calories at every other mile. I didn't have quite enough and started to go into bonk mode. I got real cranky and was so spaced out I started bumping into other runners by mistake as I passed too closely. The heat got to me and by this point I could tell I was getting a nasty sunburn. I had a decent pace for the first two laps but after that it was a fight, a death march - one foot in front of the other... just make it to that next sign post...ok, now get to the next one, etc. Seeing a lot of spectators and all the runners on the course made it bearable. Final time: 1:52.

There was nothing I could have done to make my swim faster given the water conditions. I should have biked harder the whole way. I should have used a slightly harder gear and just pushed it. I should have gone to war with that. A+ for good bike nutrition today. My body isn't used to the Texas heat and direct sun yet, even though I have lived here for a few years. It really got me on the run. When I get overheated in a race, my mind goes. I had trouble keeping my thoughts positive and adjusting my run nutrition to the conditions on the fly. I did ok at this but not optimal which is why my run time is ok but not what I am capable of.

Finish time 5:38
18th of 89 in age group female 30-34
[previous half iron PR 5:22]

Week in Review

Monday - REST

Tuesday - Run 7.5 miles with 1 mile, 800, 400 hard... and then crash.

Wednesday - REST - sick with low grade fever and aches... heading towards overtrained and worn down? maybe.

Thursday - Bike 60 minutes (easy with race pace pickups), Swim 3000yd (58 minutes), Strength: 5x10 [pullups, pushups, box jump, wall ball]

Friday - Run 5 miles easy, travel to race

Saturday - Run 3 miles easy

Sunday - Lonestar 70.3 Race, Galveston TX - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

This was week 11 of 20 Ironman training. I think I am starting to spin my wheels - too tired to knock out high quality workouts, but still trying. My body forced me to take some extra rest by getting sick. Between sickness and tapering for Galveston, I don't feel like this week was very productive in terms of training quality. However, the race was a good rehearsal for Ironman, so all was not lost. With 9 weeks left, it's time once again to step back and reboot my body and mind. Things are going well but how could they go even better? What do I need to focus on most? How do I motivate myself to keep training strong twice a day? Mile 12 of a 20 mile race is when the fun begins.