Sunday, December 4, 2016

Double Roughwater Swim (2016)

The ocean is like a box of chocolates. 
You never know what you're going to get...

I've lost count of how many times I've done the Double Roughwater swim? Maybe 8 or 9 times? (edit- I looked it up- I've done it every year they've heard it since 2006, so this was my 9th year!) I can't remember. I think I missed one year, and then last year they didn't put it on. I can't remember why? Maybe because there were shark attacks like every week through the fall so no one wanted to swim in the ocean. Anyway, most years since 2006 I've done this 4.5 mile swim in December.

I was glad to have this swim on my calendar this year because it gave me a nice goal to focus on when I couldn't run for 3 months. I've been pretty consistent with my swimming recently. Most of the last 2 months I've swam 16-20k/week.

It seemed like we had decent conditions this morning. Light winds means the water is glassy and that's always quite pleasant!
The race director describes this race as an "Equal Opportunity Swim"... meaning if there's a current (usually there is), we get to go against it one way and with it the other way. He also describes the ocean as a potentially dangerous place, with "big fish and things that sting". He finishes every pre-race talk with "If you have any concerns, don't swim." I love that.

Anyway, we each have our own individual escorts and once again, Scott was mine. The fact that we have done this together so many times before allows me to feel super confident. He knows where to be (in front of me and slightly off to the right) and who to follow for the best line, etc. We heard there was a head current going out so we decided to try to take an inside line on the way out. I think we did a good job of that, but yikes that current was still legit. At times I'd look at the bottom and see that I wasn't really moving forward. My strategy in scenarios like these is to not look at the bottom. :) I just keep swimming as strong as I can and trust that eventually, at some point, I'll get to the turn-around marker. I felt like I was swimming very strong and knew that there was nothing else I could do to move along any faster, so I just sort of tried to not think about anything other than meditating on my stroke/effort in each moment. Eventually that channel marker buoy did come into view. I made my way around it then stopped for a minute or so to down a Honey Stinger gel and drink some NBS fluid.

Somebody shoot me I've become one of those triathletes who swims swim races with her garmin. Blame my desire to upload everything to Strava... lol

When I was stopped I saw that there was literally NO ONE swimming near me. Scott said there were a handful of swimmers pretty far ahead, and everyone else was sort of far behind me. I told Scott that I was good and started swimming again. Immediately I was like WOW YES!! It felt like I was swimming on a conveyor belt! Woot! I still felt really strong and like my turnover was good. The return trip went by a lot faster than the outbound and seemingly all of a sudden I was at the turn buoy that marks like ~600m to go. Getting in from there it got hard again and felt like it took forever, but eventually I stood up on the sand and jogged to the finish line.
It was my slowest ever double swim at 2:13, but it felt like one of my strongest efforts. I was mostly stoked at how well I managed to stay focused and in the moment the whole time. Everyone else I talked to also commented about how it took longer than in years past. That's sort of how it tends to go with ocean swimming. Sometimes its fast and other times its slow. I won my age group and think I was 5th female OA? There are always some young gals who show up who just really are amazing swimmers. This year there were some folks from CA who showed up and made it extra competitive, so that was fun. Even then, it's a super relaxed fun kind of (Hawaiian style) competitive.

Anyway, so that's a wrap on the racing for 2016!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Enjoying Training...

In my last post I mentioned how much I have been enjoying training recently... So I figured maybe I would elaborate. I think there are a bunch of factors that play into it, but in no particular order...

~Not running for 3 months made me really appreciate running. I think that's like a universal law or something, isn't it? Like absence makes the heart grow fonder... So even though my running is short and slow right now, when you're finally able to run again after a forced layoff, any running is good running and I'm just happy to be back out there with nothing hurting. At some point maybe I'll start putting pressure on myself to run specific paces or whatever, but as of right now, it's just getting out there and trotting along so the effort is super easy. Running (yogging) feels like a stress reliever not a stress producer at the moment.

~Swimming is good right now because I'm doing enough of it to physically feel quite good in the water. My swim set up is pretty much ideal with a consistent training partner and a free long course pool so close to my house...

~I mentioned before that having Carly to ride bikes with on the weekends has made my riding feel more fun recently, and that is true, but I'm also having fun riding in my garage these days. I never thought I would say this, but I got a Wahoo Kickr and figured out how to get it all set up and well, I genuinely enjoy riding in my garage! I'm using Trainer Road to run my bike sessions and they way it works with the smart trainer is super cool. I entertain myself with Netflix while I'm riding and 2 hours flies by in a flash! I'm not usually a huge TV watcher, but I've heard on Twitter that some of my peers really like Gilmore Girls, so I started that today... Season 1 Episode 1... Yep! I watched the whole Breaking Bad series last year but other than that I really haven't seen much of Netflix at all. So, if you have suggestions of what you like to watch, throw 'em my way! Anyway, the idea of not having to ride my bike in the rain anymore is extremely pleasing to me. I'll still go out for sure when it's dry, but I bet I'll do 1/2 my riding in my garage this next year. So far I have been unsuccessful in getting set up on Zwift, but that looks pretty cool too so I'll see if I can get set up on that at some point as well... Though by the time you pay monthly subscriptions to Trainer Road and Netflix and Zwift, well, #ridinginsideisntfree... #butitseffective.

~I know I was blogging a ton of my training earlier this year, but I haven't felt the need/desire to do that recently... Likely because I now have a coach who pays attention every day and reads my notes and gives me feedback. I didn't even realize how much I missed that until I went for a while and didn't have it. Training can feel like such a lonely endeavor sometimes... it's nice to share it with someone who can be objective with you! So the fact that I have him lowers my desire to write about the specific of my training here. That said, I did recently get myself a Strava account and have my Garmin set up to auto-upload all my training to that social site, so if you're curious and want to follow along, it's all there on Strava. Now that I have a few weeks experience with that social networking site, I feel like I should have joined it years ago! I find it genuinely enjoyable to follow along with what other people are doing, and to share what I'm doing as well. I don't know much about 'segments' in my area but I'm learning a few and I've accidentally earned myself 2x QOMs so that's kind of fun! I think I'll be able to manage myself on Strava and not let it ruin my training by getting overly competitive at the wrong times. I think that's what worried me before about that site- thinking it wouldn't be good for me b/c I'd end up racing all my training, but so far that hasn't been the case at all.

2017 is going to be my 23rd year of training and racing triathlons. Holy shit you guys. 23 years!?! That's more than 1/2 my life! The fact that I still enjoy it as much as I do leads me to believe that I'll probably be doing this sport until I can't walk anymore. Lol. It just sort of feels like who I am at this point. I feel like I've finally struck a really nice balance between wanting to be the best I can be with not putting too much pressure on myself... and being able to turn it on and off at appropriate times. So right now I'm not doing a lot of training that I would categorize as 'hard'. It's all very manageable which probably contributes to the enjoyment factor I feel. Though at some point I'll (hopefully) get back to a place where training feels big and maybe scares me a bit. Until then, I'm just consistently doing what I do, and enjoying it all...


Sunday, November 27, 2016

November...

You know its been a while since you've blogged when you have to google your own blog to get the page to come up on your computer... I've thought about writing blog posts recently but obviously it wasn't top of my priority list this past month. And then when its been a while since I've written anything I find it hard to know where to even start, so I guess I'll do what I always do in this scenario and just sort of write a random bullet list type of post...

~Let's start with running! After 3 months completely off to let my hip bone heal, I started jogging again this month. It's mostly been 3x/week, starting with 15min and working to 20 then 30... watching HR and keeping it low aerobic which means its slow and I take short walk breaks up hills to keep under my self-imposed HR cap. I've been adding in a longish walk/hike usually like 1-2x/week with the dog. We go in the woods on trails or on unmaintained roads with a lot of hills. That makes us both happy and is how I coped with some disappointing election results earlier in the month.

~Given my renewed capability of jogging for 30 straight minutes, I jumped into a little local run/swim race this morning. I didn't have any expectations about any of it- honestly I just wanted to be a part of the local race scene again because I missed it. I forgot my garmin at home, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Once again I learned that the key to my happiness post race is quite dependent on my expectations going in. If I keep them low enough, I'm super happy post race. :) Really, I thought *maybe* I'd avg 9min pace for a 5k run today (and I assumed that would feel hard), but when the horn went off I just ran as I felt and inched the effort up little by little as my trust in myself grew. I didn't run a 'fast' 5k but I found out after that I avg ~8:25 and it didn't feel hard so that gave me a ton of hope for the future. The race was a 5k run into a 1k swim, which is an odd format, yes, but fun when you're a swimmer! Hey look at me! I actually get to pass people late in a race! Woot! Obviously from the expression on my face here at the finish line, I didn't did deep into to the well this morning, but I did truly enjoy being part of the local race scene again. This is a series of 3 races, so next time we do it (January) I'll aim to go faster than I did today. I don't think that'll be a big ask. All I would really have to do is try harder. :)
~I could write a whole post on all the reasons why I am enjoying training right now (in fact, I will do that!)... but here's one reason. I have a great new training partner! Carly is actually an athlete I am coaching but we are quite compatible on the bike so we can ride together a lot on the weekends. It's been great b/c we push each other but we don't race each other... and she executes sessions like they're supposed to be done so neither of us have to compromise the purpose of the session in order to have a more social ride. It's perfect, really, because it feels like we are friends but also training partners and all the while managing to maintain a great coach/athlete relationship. It's just really good for both of us! She's a bad ass. She raced this morning as well and was 2nd female OA, breaking 20min for that 5k before she swam! #TeamBSC
~I've been swimming a fair amount. Something like 15-17k/week. Not huge volume, but big enough and its been consistent and has resulted in me feeling pretty good in the water. Last week I swam a 1k TT in the pool and managed to surprise myself by swimming faster than I thought I could (and faster than I have in a long time) so that was cool. The Double Roughwater (7k ocean swim race) is a week from today so that has been the reason for the volume. I'm looking forward to that swim this year. I haven't done a ton of long ocean swims this fall but I'm totally to the point where 5k in the pool just feels like another swim so I'm gonna try to give it a bigger push than I gave this morning at that little biathlon race...

Anyway, I have a ton more I could write about but we'll leave it here for now. That'll give me something to write about in the coming week!

Friday, November 4, 2016

How To Get Your Kid To Eat Vegetables

Tonight we had a couple of the neighbor girls over playing. I made a big one-pot dish for dinner (super simple in the rice cooker just make rice then add a ton of steamed spinach, 2 cans of tuna, some mayo, relish, pesto sauce, salt/pepper and mix it all together!)... Anyway, Moana was the only one who would eat eat because it had spinach in it. After the girls left I told Scott that I sure am glad we taught our daughter to not be afraid of vegetables. I know it is taboo to tell other parents that they're doing it wrong, but any parent who insists that their kid just won't eat vegetables is doing it wrong. You know how to get your kid to eat vegetables? It's simple. #1) Eat vegetables yourself. #2) Don't give them an option of something else instead. The girls that were over tonight knew that they could go home and eat something else. Moana knew that if she didn't eat the spinach rice and tuna, she wouldn't have anything else to eat. That's how we operate and guess who eats any vegetable cooked any way? It's really not rocket science. I mean, eventually they get hungry.

Anyway. Off my soapbox.

So I'm finishing up my first week with my new coach and I'm super happy! I think the coolest part is knowing that I have someone on my side who is watching and paying attention and actually genuinely enjoys reading the notes I write about my training each day. I've missed that feeling this past year while trying to coach myself. I know different athletes want different things from their coaching relationships... I think what is currently most important to me is knowing that my coach is genuinely interested and is on my team. I have a new athlete who just started with me this week and she emailed me and in the first sentence she apologized for bugging me ... Right away I wrote back and was like you're not bugging me!! That's terrible for an athlete to feel like they're bugging their coach when they send an email. But I have felt that way. It sucks!

I'm 4 weeks out from the Double Roughwater 7K ocean swim... It's a good time to really try to wreck myself in the pool! Really what I'm looking to do is train my brain to handle the monotony of swimming strong for extended periods without breaks. This morning I swam alone because Mark didn't show up. 6x1k descend 1-6. How's that for a monster set? I've done 5x1k but never 6. I've only ever given 6x1k to an athlete once... It was years ago she was training for a channel swim and she loved her 1000 repeats. I give 4x1k all the time to ironman athletes. But 6x1k was something I really had to wrap my head around.
I brought some treats and ate one after #2 and #4. They worked a minor miracle! I swam the first 3 (LCM) in 16:11, 15:59, 15:41. Then added paddles and went 15:39, 15:24, 14:56! Pretty stoked about that last one. I checked my watch at the 500 and saw 7:31 so I knew if I worked it I'd get under 15min and that was motivating so I wrecked myself that last 500. Consequently I spent the rest of the day feeling like I needed to just stay curled up in a ball. Long hard swims do that to me.

No time to curl up in a ball though b/c I had a bunch of programs to write and some phone calls to make and some social media buzz to attend to. Woot! Happy to say I'm on the Coeur Sports Team again for 2017. This will be my 4th year with this team and without a doubt can say I'm honored to have the opportunity to continue to be a part of this group. They make the best tri kits around (#noangrykitty!) and they're great people who stand for values I believe in. It's so easy to support this company! I feel sort of lucky that I got in during their first year because its harder and harder to get in given how their popularity has grown...

And before I sign off I'll note... I did my first 'real' runs since Vineman this week! I ran (ok, jogged) 15 min twice this week! WOOT! On the comeback trail!! Lol. Felt ok while doing each of those. The day after each I felt something not quite right in my left leg. It's not my hip though and it doesn't feel like bone, so I can't decide if its something I should be worried about or if its something I can manage and jog through? It just feels like I've got a couple of giant spasms in that left lateral quad. I can feel the muscle spasms when I try to roll it out- they're huge and they 'jump' as I roll over them (it hurts!). If that's all it is (muscle spasms) then normally its nothing I would worry about. My biggest concern is why I can't get them to release? My fear is knowing that when my bone was compromised, the way I felt it was that the surrounding muscles were all essentially shut down and non functional (i.e. at Vineman I felt that 'mechanical' failure where muscles just wouldn't function on that side)... After Vineman I was ridiculously sore on that side and that soreness just wouldn't go away like normal muscle soreness does... and my glute med shut itself down and wouldn't function at all... So I know that it's not unheard of for muscles to operate (or stop operating!) in a way that protects bone when its compromised. Anyway, that's my fear. I hope its unfounded!! I guess we'll find out as the weeks go by. I keep rolling this quad and trying to get the muscle to relax. I'll jog 15min again tomorrow and will continue to monitor it.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#Goals

I just got home from my longest dog walk yet... 3.4 miles! (Maia is currently passed out cold.) We walked ~2 miles this morning as well so it was a big day of walking. I've started using my garmin on these walks but in 'run' mode. Tonight when I finished it told me I'd earned 2 new badges! Longest run AND fastest 5k! Lol. Ready for it? 48:08! Turns out, I walk ~15:30 pace. I've really been enjoying our evening walks. Have found some good podcasts and I just listen to those and walk... I think I could walk for a really long time listening to those. My current favorite is Michael Gervais 'Finding Mastery' podcast. He is insightful and I like the depth of his conversations with his guests.

Maia and I have been walking 2-3 miles every night, and every other night I've been adding a little bit of jogging to these walks. Started with 6x30 steps then 12x30 steps... Last night I didn't micromanage it at all just did sort of this walk/jog thing as I felt and just made it feel super easy. So as soon as I felt the least bit labored I'd walk, then when I felt ready I would jog, then walk, etc. Tough to tell how much I actually jogged but it was 2.3 miles and avg 13:14 pace so maybe little less than 1/2 of it (total) was light jogging? I've had zero deep bone ache at all this week so what I've been doing hasn't  been too much (yay!).

I've been doing a bit of strength training as well- like 2x/week- and after a couple sessions squatting with 45lbs I went back up to 65lbs today (2x10) and that felt fine. Deadlift up to 95 lbs today and again that felt fine. Added kettlebell swings and step-ups today as well. I like the way strength training with weights makes me feel. It's a different feeling than the body weight functional strength stuff.

Anyway, this week I go back to structured training. It's almost odd seeing a plan in my Training Peaks... after most of this past year just making it up as I feel every day, having something in there to follow feels like a bit of a relief. I am good at following directions when someone else writes stuff in for me so it's nice to not have to think so much. It's motivating too like yay finally I get to start really building back vs just exercising and being fairly random about it all!

Now if only I can avoid the Halloween candy these next few weeks... Ugh. I feel like an elephant. Totally afraid to get on the scale but I don't need to get on the scale to feel how tight my run shorts are. Goal for a month from now is to not feel like my run shorts are all bun-huggers. #goals

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Scientific Process

Last week when I posted, I was pretty stoked about having sort of started the process of returning to weight bearing activity... Unfortunately, some heavier squats and a tiny bit of jogging on Wednesday left me feeling some deep bone ache in my left leg on Thursday. Ugh. It wasn't debilitating, but it was there and it was noticeable and was an indication that the stress I had applied- even though it didn't hurt while I was doing it- was too much. The problem was that I didn't know if it was the squats or the jogging that caused the bone ache? That was the problem with doing them both on the same day. I should have just done one and then waited to see how the legs responded... that would have been more scientific. Call it #hindsight20/20.

Given that, I took 3 days and did no weight bearing activity other than a few short walks with the dog. Not the end of the world because I have other activities that make me super happy! Saturday we went to the west side to swim and found a tons of dolphins within the first 10 minutes of getting in. The water was perfect temp with unreal visibility and the whole time we were just giddy smiles. Its was like swimming in a giant aquarium and after the dolphins we found 2 huge turtles and a beautiful spotted ray.
Honu! This guy seemed sort of camouflaged but the water was so clear we could spot him...
And of course... Swimming with dolphins never gets old. Never.
On Sunday Carly came over and we did a bit of strength training together. I backed the weight off to 45lbs but did 4x8 squats and deadlifts with just the bar. Also did a bunch of 'wall balls' which was one of my favorites from my Crossfit days. We did a few other exercises too but I don't think those would have hurt my hip or leg at all. I felt fine and strong and stable while doing those exercises and once again felt like maybe I could have done a bit of jogging but I learned my lesson from the week prior so I walked the dog but took zero jogging steps. I really wanted to see if I had any deep bone ache on Monday?

Monday came- no bone ache! Yay! Had some muscle ache for sure but it was equally distributed between both legs and felt exactly like what I would have expected to feel after a ton of wall balls. So in my mind, nothing to worry about! Phew.

So I'd ruled out that moderate weights caused deep bone ache. #scientificprocess Last night I took my dog for a longer walk (like 2.5 miles) and I inserted 6x30 steps of jogging on different uphill sections. Felt fine during those short jogs and was curious how I'd feel today. Deep bone ache? NOPE! Woot! It's so funny to be stoked about 30 steps of running but whatever. It's a start!

No jogging steps today b/c I'm taking the ultra-conservative approach and not running on back to back days for a while. Instead I went for a bike ride. It was a gorgeous day to be on two wheels. I have ridden by this spot countless times over the last (almost) 12 years and only rarely stop to take a picture. Today I just had to. It was stunning and my level of appreciation for being able to be out there was high.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Couldn't Help Myself

I realized its been a while since I've written anything about how the stress reaction in my hip is healing... I guess I'd say it's healing well? I think? It's really felt nearly perfect for the last 3-4 weeks. I get these weird- seemingly random- moments where I feel a subtle deep ache on that left side. I'm not really sure what that's about but those come maybe 1-2x/week and last maybe 10-20minutes and then seem to just fade away. It's possible I'm just being hyper-aware and if I paid less attention those deep ache episodes might pass by unnoticed...

This week I started doing some moderate strength training. Not sure I'm officially cleared to do that yet? I hope I don't look back on this as a giant mistake, but I'll document it here just in case... On Monday I did 2x10 squats with a 45lb bar (last week I did body weight squats a couple times no issue and prior to that had been doing a 'floor routine' basic strength exercises I put together that were all non-weight bearing). No issue with those squats on Monday (not even a little sore) so today I did 2x12 with 65lbs and 2x12 deadlifts again with 65lbs and it didn't feel hard or heavy and my form felt solid. I genuinely like lifting weights but will try to not over do it at least until December. #SteelChallenge anyone? :)

I've been walking the dog like 20-30min most days for the last few weeks. Tonight I included 6x30 steps super easy/slow jogging. Each of those short jogs were on slight uphills. Zero pain (or even sensation, really- 100% fine). I'm officially cleared to start running Nov 1 so I'm about 10 days early right now, but does 6x30 steps even count? My gut just said I could do that tonight and I wasn't going to hurt myself so hopefully I'm not wrong about that. But just in case, I pinky swear NO JOGGING tomorrow. I think the name of the game with bone issues is re-introducing stress in micro-doses and then allowing adequate time to adapt. 6x30 steps felt like a mini micro-dose of stress.

Besides that, I've been riding and swimming 3-4x/week. Monday I swam alone b/c no training partners showed up to the pool and the water was hot and I just had very little motivation. Muddled my way through 3400 but it was totally uninspired. Today, Mark showed up and the water was maybe a degree cooler and that helped a ton! I'm super spoiled wanting/needing someone to push me in the pool. My 1000 w/u today was nearly a full minute faster than Monday. Main set was short at only 1200m but was quality: 2x400's strong @6:30 straight into 4x100's fast @1:40 and I swam hard enough to make myself nauseous. After that Mark got out but I was on a roll so I stayed in and pulled a 2k straight descending the 500's 7:51 down to 7:24 which was faster than it felt. Goes to show how much performance is in our heads. Physically I was no different today vs Monday but today my head was in the game and it was night and day different.

I haven't done anything specific or structured on the bike. Just been riding maybe 2 hours at a time and it's mostly been low cadence strength work. Some hill climbing but again not structured repeats or anything just out cruising around looking for hills to ride up. Efforts are seated and using heavy gearing low cadence controlled HR and its quite enjoyable. I feel like I'm finally regaining some strength in my legs.