Monday, January 31, 2011

Let's get pruny!

It has been a hectic week.  Got a few things in the wind outside of training which have me stressed and excited at the same time.  Fingers crossed!

The past week was an awesome one.  I did a pretty good job at executing key workouts and the leg seems to be holding up fine.  I really don't get it but have been taking extra care to stretch, ice and take my vitamins (for Hulk).

I am slightly messed up lately with the way my program is laid out as I am used to Monday - Sunday but my new stuff has all been Sunday-Saturday.  Yet, I am getting used to it.

So I have commenced Operation Ramp Up.  I am trying to get in 3 swims, 3 bikes and 5 runs per week.  Also trying to get in some core and strength too.  I am ramping up my running in the hopes that perhaps I can run Nashville Marathon on April 30th (my anniversary) but if I have any concern with the leg I will just do the half like last year (not worth long term injury).

The nice thing about the running program I am following based on Arthur Lydiard philosophies is that while I am running more, it seems pretty easy.  The pacing is so much easier than the fast speedwork I was putting myself through and typically my HR sits in Zone 2 for the most part.  I think right now this is good for a couple reasons.

1.  It does not seem to bother my leg.
2.  It does not wreck my legs so I can still hit my quality bikes (which are grueling toughies).

Last week went as such-

Sunday - 9mile ran at 8:33 pace, 1100m swam, 45 min core circuit at LFT
Monday-19 mile bike, 2000 m swam
Tuesday- 14 miles ran at 8:35
Wednesday- Gorris Bike W/O #1 (21 M Biked), 2000 m swam
Thursday- 7 miles ran (short)
Friday - 22 miles bikes (gorris #2)
Saturday - 31 miles biked, 2000 yards swam
and Sunday 10,000 yards swam at CTC Swim Challenge!!!

(Short 2 runs, but wanted to make sure I eased in a bit)

So the swim challenge:  I had not really said much about it.  Mostly I think because I think so little of my swimming.  I always feel slow and it is my limiter.  Last year with a broken elbow, I did not get to work on my swimming like I should have.  This winter I have seen some improvements, yet no where near where I would like to be.

So back to the challenge, we had 3.5 hours to get it done.  2:15 intervals would put me over 3.5 hours so I decided I would shoot for 2 min repeats.  This was good for a couple reasons.  This really helped me to pace myself.  My lane mates were both faster than me but I decided to stick with the plan.  I am sure I could have tried to stick with them for a little bit and would have totally crashed and burned.  Also, staying on 2 min made counting so easy.  Every 20 minutes was 1000 down.  I started into the day just set on following my plan and everything was going well.  I also decided I would follow the set plan put out by our challenge coordinator which broke everything up into sets of 10.

100x100 - 1 minutes rest between sets (optional)
1-10 warm up of your choice - free
11-20 50 pull/50 swim
21-30 50 kick with fins / 50 swim with fins   
31-40 50 swim / 50 pull
41-50 swim
51-60 choice (fins and pull optional)
61-70 pull
71-80 swim (fins optional)
81-90 swim or pull of your choice
91-100 survival swim- do whatever you need to finish!!!!

I enjoyed doing the sets like this.  The zoomers and pull buoy on some sets definitely made it WAAAY easier.  (Definitely felt like cheating compared to people who did the whole 10,000 free).  So I was chugging along, not taking any additional rests beyond a couple quick sips of my First Endurance EFS drink to stay right on my 2 min interval.  It had become a mission to be right around there every 100.  Sometimes a little ahead or behind depending on where my lane mates were.  As I really had no breaks more than 20 seconds or so, I made a deal with myself that I would take a short break at 7000 and hopped out, hit the rr, grabbed a fig newton and some more EFS and was back at it in 4 minutes.  The break felt good for and the last 3000 went by pretty painlessly.  I picked it up the last 400 or so and finished in 3:18:33 or 3:22:33 with my 4 min break. YEAH!!!  I did it!  That is really far by the way- 10,000 yards is also 400 lengths, 200 laps, 5.68 miles!

Overall, my upper body muscles are less fatigued than after a upper body workout (maybe I am not working those muscles hard enough in the swim).  The only real source of discomfort is my neck from turning it left a million times.  Seriously I wonder how many times I breathed!  The other glaring takeaway is I NEED TO LEARN FLIP TURNS.  I lose soooo much there comparatively!

Overall the swim challenge was a huge success for CTC and it was really fun to participate!  Next year I will try to do it faster!

Did I mention how pruny I felt when I was done?  Thank goodness I had my TriSwim lotion to help my poor dry skin when I was done!

This morning it was back to it and I hopped on the treadmill for 15 miles which was the long run I would usually do over the weekend!  That felt good but I was crazy bored and happy to get off that dumb thing after 2:05.  Not only was I happy to get off the thing out of boredom, but my stupid arm and legs both are really chaffed!

Happy Monday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Type, delete, start again, over and over

That is pretty much this post.

I have tried to post a few times over the last several days.  I start typing and decide I am not sure where I want to go with it and delete.

I guess I feel pulled in too many directions at the moment to put down a cohesive focused post so these are just some of the random Monday thoughts in my head-

-  I hate that my leg concerns me so much.  I did not run at all last Money - Saturday hoping my leg issue would clear up, but no change.  Finally could not take it and ran 9 on treadmill easy Sunday.  No change.  Not sure what to make of it.

- I hate cold and dark.  Normally I tolerate and get out and run in it anyways but right now what I really want is a nice soft easy towpath run.  I don't want the pounding of the pavement or some crazy uneven footing to try to contend with as I sort this leg thing out.  Spring can not come soon enough.

- With the lightened running load, I have returned to a bike focus.  Coach G kicks my butt in our required bike workouts.  East side cycling got a taste of part of one this was a doozy!  I biked the most I have in a long time this past week and feel even more motivated to keep it up!

- This weekend is CTC's 2nd annual swim challenge / swim clinic.  Leah from Liquid Lifestyles is running the swim clinic which will be awesome I'm sure.  I am opting for the challenge.  Challenge is choice of 25x100, 50x100, 75x 100 or 100x100's.  I am not sure I can do the 100 but curious to see how far I will go! Gonna be fun!

-  REV3's blogtalk radio  is back this week.  Tune in 1/26 at 8PM to hear about 2011 season, highlighting REV3 Costa Rica and the chance to hear Pro Triathlete, Bree Wee. I am excited to tune in as listening to these last year always got me pumped up.

- On the Trakkers front, I am super excited that First Endurance and TriSwim are back on board as official team sponsors.

- Congrats to running friends, ESpeed and NC for tearing it up this weekend at the Case Spartan relays.  If only my leg was not such a sounds like great fun to go see what kind of time I could try to throw down at some short distances!

-  I take almost as much pleasure in my sister's newfound running as my own.  She is well on her way executing her marathon training plan as we prepare for Nashville in April.  I already see that she has the heart, discipline and potential to go far!  Speaking of sis, I had a awesome time with her twins 4 yr old girls yday at my cousins 1 yr old bday party.  They now can say they played Angry Birds on the Iphone and I can't help but laugh as they celebrate when taking down the pigs....which leads me to my final note

-  In spite of feeling like you are juggling too many things, quality time with family just seems to make everything better!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Run for Regis Race Report

First off, I love this race!  This was the first time I have "raced" this course.  I was used to the old course on the Buckeye Trail.  I ran it in 2008 which was my first 50K, which I ran the majority with two of my close friends, Amie and Elizabeth!!!  Then in 2009, I killed myself in very snowy conditions to come up a little short as 2nd overall female.  2010, I signed up, only to sit out with a tibia stress fracture.  This yr, 2011 , I feared I was borderline tibia stress fracture re-occurence and opted to just do 13.1 (or 13.34 according to my garmin) and play it safe!

I think this was a good idea and I REALLY enjoyed my day!  My plan was to go out easy and just enjoy myself.  Yet, as usual we started off and the atmosphere caught up with me and I was running faster than planned!  We started off slipping and sliding through the snowy field.  My first thought was pretty much, holy sh!t, this is going to be some rough footing.  I was pretty much running at race pace, which for mile 1 was only 9:08 in that snow.  One of my training partners, CK, was just in front of me, and for some reason I just felt compelled to stick in that pack with 3 guys.  As we got into the trail the footing was slightly better, but my body was getting one heck of a workout with all the sliding.

In my head, I was just happy to be running this year but I kept thinking, "what are you doing, plan is easy injuries".  Splits for 2, 3, and 4 were 9:21, 9:50, 9:53 and my respective avg HR, those miles 172, 170, 166, which for me is clearly not in my easy run range.  Around this point, the guy in front of CK let him pass and CK started to pick it up more and I opted to let them go.  My high school friend, GT closed the gap and then we started to run together and chat for awhile.  It was sooo nice to just slow down a bit and enjoy the day a little more rather than feel like I was pushing so hard.  It was actually aggravating my leg a bit when I was running hard and during the first 8 mile loop, I was considering not doing the 5 mile loop.  However, as the pace relaxed, my leg felt fine.  GT had me in good spirits and I was enjoying seeing the many friends out on the course, volunteering and running.

The course is just amazing and throws a little bit of everything at you-rocks, bridges, stairs, hills and that day, LOTS OF SNOW!

At the start, the 50k and marathoners headed right at the split to do the 5 mile loop first and halfers like me went left.  So it was fun to cross them a couple times and get to see a lot of the field.  The only issue was there was getting to be a couple packed down areas to run in and when we were passing, one of us was off in the snow trekking through deep footing which was a lot more work!  I usually popped off to the side, figuring they had a lot further to go!

GT and I rolled into the start point together and I grabbed a delicious glass of coke slushy and was off for the second loop.  The scenery is fabulous and I just settled in to a nice conservative stride watching GT take off after about a 1.5 miles, content to just enjoy the last bit.  As I headed back and hit the last big climb into the rocks, I hit an overlook.  I paused at the overlook as I had ran the course a couple times previously and knew this was not on the course.  So I backtracked and found where I missed my turn.  It was not the first time I had missed the hard left after all the rocks on the return from Happy Days.  I was glad I was pretty familiar with the course and realized my mistake early on.

As I headed into the finish I saw GT coming from the opposite direction.  He must have messed up somewhere, which is par for the course for him!  ;-)  Anyways, I was glad to be done.  For a half marathon, it was a lot of work!  That and the temps were dropping.  I think the start was 17 and it was probably 13 at the guess but somewhere around that!

So at the end of the day, I was the first female back for the half, 12th person overall with a time of 2:24....perhaps my slowest half ever!  Not too shabby, all things considered tho in those conditions!  Snow, cold and garmin says ~2800 ft of climbing (about the same descending).   Lots of other great female performances at other distances!!!

There were many people that did not even start due to the cold and snow and many people who had dropped down distances from the 50k/ mary to the it was definitely an accomplishment for all racers out there to get in those miles!

I went into the shelter to stand by the fire for a minute before collecting my super sweet BRIGHT NEON green and black shirt/jacket.  LOVE IT!  I collected this from Tanya Cady, the race director who really puts her heart into the race.  She deserves mad credit for all of her efforts.  Lots of others deserve props too like Nick with all his tech help, Vince for all the support and all the volunteers that must have froze their little tails off helping us out!  THANKS TO ALL!

Glad I made the call to play it safe and just really enjoy a fun morning run with friends!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Think Big Picture!

This week has been trying.  The weather has been snowy which stinks in that my long 40 mile commute takes FORVER!  Living in the snowbelt and wasting so much time in the car just wears on me sometimes and often it cuts in to my workout time significantly.  So annoying!  Yet, on the plus side, it means the husband is out making money plowing.  Win some, lose some!  Continuing on my rant, I was also bummed to discover we had already burned through a tank of oil in our house and are completely out which means $$$$.  Hopefully they deliver soon as the house is cold.  Thank goodness for our wood stove and Eden Pure heater to get us by.  And I have been grumpy that my leg still seemed very off on my treadmill run Tuesday.  Lastly, I hate cold and dark weather….I am a warm sunshine princess after all!

So this week, I am just trying to get by the best I can with a smile and what better way to do that, than to look forward to upcoming events which coming up include-

This weekend’s Run for Regis 50K ----Scratch that,  I have decided I will just run the ½ marathon.
February – Probably will run the Chili Bowl 5K and Dirty Dob 10k
March 6th-  Youngstown ½ Marathon
March 12th-  St Malachi 5 Miler which is always a party!
April 30 – Nashville Country Music Marathon
May 6-8th-  Cleveland Tri Club Training Camp at Mohican
May 6-8th-  American Triple T Ohio
June 4th – Mohican 100 K Mountain Bike Race

So back to this weekend and the 50k, I have decided the leg is not 100%, not bad by all means but not good either.  Actually I had a very nice easy 7 mile run on the treadmill today which felt great.  However, common sense tells me this is not the time to go run a 50k in a lot of snow and risk the early season.  So I have resolved that I will just go out and run the 13 miles easy and just enjoy being out there with my friends.  After all, last year I could not even do that!  Thinking big picture and spring!

So with that, there will be no taper and Sunday will just be another normal day.  After Sunday, I think I will either take a couple weeks off running or just run slow for 2 weeks or so to make sure everything settles in the leg and hopefully commence training with no more issues!  This may be a blessing in disguise as I could use some more bike focus.

This week I have made the return to weight training after a 2 or 3 week hiatus.  Dang, time off just makes the return a little painful, but its good to be least a little!  Always good to know I am doing something!  To everyone struggling this winter, do your best to do what ya can and find other positives to focus on!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crackers, slackers, Trakkers and awesome backers!

Last week, I felt like one of the slackers, laid up on my couch with chicken noodle soup and crackers (thank you super awesome husband for making this killer homemade concoction)!

After a lot of rest and taking it easy, I feel sooo much better this week after a super fantastic weekend!  Friday night we hit Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Park with our friends.  The highlight of that night was one of the groups of people who were in there filming a video.  The one guy rolls up with a mullet wig on into the one jump line.  Clearly he could ride, but they were filming crashes.  This was commitment at its finest, as he said not to worry, he just had to go crash a couple more times; the last time, even over the handlebars.  This was all quite entertaining! 

Saturday morning, as usual, I hit Cleveland Triathlon Club’s east side indoor cycling.  This is typically a 2 hour sweat-fest filled with lots of drills and intervals, sure to make us stronger riders come spring.  I think sweating out the last of my germs, made me even grosser than usual.  But have no fear, after we rode, I hit the pool to get clean and the gang swam a nice 1750 yard workout together!  What a quality way to spend a winter Saturday morning!  I spent the better part of the afternoon relaxing and watched Ultra Marathon Man, featuring Dean Karnazes, which highlighted his journey of 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states.  The banter in my running club is quite colorful when the topic of Karnazes comes up, but I can’t help but give credit where credit is due and that just seems like one heck of a feat.

Sunday morning I awoke for a final “long” taper run before next weekend’s Run for Regis 50K.   We ran a very gorgeous 11 mile trail run in some snowy footing in the sun and I felt great!  This was much to my liking as I am not sure if I am being paranoid or if I do need to back the running down a bit but it just seems like my leg has been tender randomly lately (similar to the way it felt last year when I had the tibia stress fracture).  It is strange, not really hurting when I run but somewhat dull and aching or feeling numb in the bone here and there.  Maybe it is me just being worrisome or maybe something more that I need to monitor carefully.  I donno.  Either way, I am trying to exercise the utmost caution to make sure everything stays on the up and up.  So that leaves me with a huge question mark for this weekend’s 50k race.  I do this one for fun, but I would be lying to say I am not competitive and want more.  It is not one of my 2 spring A races.  So if I feel good Sunday I will go for it.  If not, I will just have a nice easy half marathon trail run.  I am resolved to be ok with it either way as the only goal is to not be injured!

On the home front, I am excited again to be a part of Team Trakkers!  The 2011 roster has been set and the team is buzzing with lots of excitement!    Trakkers  is known for their real-time GPS device, designed by and for endurance athletes. Whether you’re training or racing, all of your essential information – location, performance, heart rate, and more – is transmitted to for instant viewing.  Other team backers include-

  • REV 3 OF COURSE!  Last year I had the pleasure of doing the entire REV3 Series!  This year again REV 3 is back with more races including Costa Rica, Portland, South Carolina and even some adventure races!  Additionally, they just rolled out their AG Series which even includes nice prize money for us amateurs!  Needless to say, REV3 Cedar Point and maybe a couple other races will be on my calendar this year!  And as a PS, look for Cleveland Triathlon Club to again help put on some on the course training days in OH!
  • Kestrel Bikes- Popular and much loved by lots of my teammates!
  • First Endurance – I must say I brag about their products on a regular basis.  They made a world of difference to me in my training and I carried and used solely the FE products to get me through my first ever IM last year with no issues.  I am so thankful to have finally feel like I have got a decent nutrition plan nailed down and much of the credit here all goes to FE!  Plus I am soooo excited they now have a Berry Liquid Shot (not that I did not love my Vanilla…I am just a bit fruity!)
  • TriSwim / SBR Sports – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stuff!  Another one of my favorite things to brag about so much so that I had to see that the Cleveland Tri Club got familiar with the product!  Lots of our members will get samples to try at our upcoming big CTC Swim Challenge and Clinic!
  • All 3 Sports – Another go-to for me over 2010 for that bike seat I could just not find at the store and anything else I was searching for!
  • Avia- New for 2011!  Now for some time, I have been a fan of the AVIA SKULL look.  I checked out its origin to find that the AVIA Skull stands for "Victory or Death" and has roots that run deep in Endurance Sports, just like AVIA.  I thought it was interesting to read in one of the press releases online that-
“World Champion, 4th place RAAM finisher, and eight-times National Duathlon Champion, AVIA athlete, Kenny Souza, arguably one of the best endurance racers of all time inspired us with passion for performance, endurance sports, and racing to win.

His inspiration stemmed from a "Victory or Death" mantra he focused on while racing, also tattooed on his left arm. "Victory or Death" is a mentality when racing, when training, it provides that extra push that is sometimes needed to dig a little deeper.” 

I LIKE IT...bring on some AVIA SKULL FOR ME IN 2011!   So heres to the new year, Trakkers and our awesome backers!!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

New Year, continued madness!  And as most of you, I have been looking forward to kicking off the new year right, but then I ended up sick as a dog.  So the story goes as such....

Holiday madness- Ran around like chicken with head cut off trying to see everyone with very little time off work and still trying to get in the training.

Wednesday, scooted out of the office for my FTP test on the bike with the help of DM.  I was not sure what to expect as I have been slacking on the bike in the offseason to focus more on running.  The FTP test deserves a post of its own but in a nutshell it was a 20 min warmup, some 1 min on, 1 min recovery pickups and then 5 minutes all out, 10 min recovery, 20 minutes hard to grueling finale and then 10 minutes of catching my breath.  I was happy to have a significantly better showing than last year, albeit not anywhere close to the boys in terms of wattage but a very respectable watts / kg ratio compared to them.  Improvement makes me happy!

After the test I continued to cough into the night, chalking it up to a hard effort, but felt slightly cruddy on Thursday through my run intervals and subsequent swim.  Ran around hitting the stores the rest of the day on Thursday enjoying the day off with the husband.  Friday, I hit the door early for another holiday run with Southeast Running Club.  The temps were in the upper 40's (HEATWAVE) and we had a large showing, most everyone in shorts!  Wooot!  It was another one of those super fabulous runs when I ran with longtime running gals, CV and LP and while I planned to run 8 min miles, we pretty easily clipped along shooting the breeze to finish the very rolling 13.2 with a 7:32 pace.  Then it was off to another super yummy breakfast at Club President's FD's pad.  THANK YOU SUE & FRANK!

The day seemed to fly by.  Lots of stuff to prepare for Cleveland Tri Club (CTC) Polar Bear Plunge, made some meatballs for the PJ Party NYE and the whole time I kept thinking, I know it is only a matter of time at this point.  We headed to a PJ party NYE with some other CTC friends....good times, good games, good food and fun!  I crashed out a little early around 12:30AM, probably due in part to the beers and feeling just plain exhausted!

Saturday, I awoke without much of a voice and a hardcore sore throat but tried to suck it up for a few more hours.  After a kick but breakfast thanks to the Joliffs we were off the the polar plunge.  Huge props to fellow board members MD and KB who spent the prior day breaking ice.
"Remember, we're triathletes, damn it!  We improvise, adapt, overcome! - Durno (pictured)
You see this was the 8th year for the polar bear plunge.  It was the first year CTC bought Tshirts to commemorate the event AND it was the first year it has been so COLD that Lake Erie beaches were all ICED OVER.  Yes, the polar plunge would be on if they had to make the hole themselves!

It was a HUGE turnout!
Probably 300 people and over 200 plungers!

All in all, it seemed to go off well and people enjoyed the balmy temps that we actually enjoyed on New Years Day.  My day was a bit hectic as we were running a bit behind schedule and I was hustling to get everyone signed in, tshirts sold and just try to hold down the fort.  

Afterwards the gang warmed up at Panini's in Westlake.  It was hard to believe just how many people were at the bar by 1 on New Years Day.  After feeling worse and worse we opted out on the after party we meant to hit and I crashed on the couch.  I did manage to watch the fabulous footage New Channel 5 and Fox 8 airred on the event.  SUPER AWESOME and I even heard it made national news!  Yeah for Cleveland Polar Bears!

But ever since I have been just kicked and knocked down and have not been able to get moving.  I have not worked out since Friday.  I left work early Monday.  Today is the first day I think I will try to do something tonight.  The sinus pressure that seriously made it hard to keep my eyes open has finally left and I cannot wait to get back to it!  It will probably take a few more days to get rid of the annoying funk so I will take it easy and then I can spend the rest of the New Year Making up for this false start!

Happy New Year to all of you and looking forward to sharing 2011 with you!