Thursday, May 26, 2016

Double Run Thursday

Standard double run Thursday today... Started with all my glute activation stuff during the morning dog walk, plus running drills like skipping and bounding and jumprope. All that stuff feels way more coordinated now and I like it. Single leg jumprope- no problem!

Once I was adequately warmed up I jogged over to the Gardens where I ran the same 8x1' hill rep session as I did 2 weeks ago. I felt better/stronger than I remember feeling before... I was highly conscious of my body position and leading with my hips and getting power out of my posterior chain. I had thoughts about how I felt like a swimmer trying to solve this running problem of mine. It just seems so clear to me that my lack of run speed isn't a fitness thing but it must be an economy/efficiency thing. I think those drills are helping for sure, short strides and hill reps are also helping. Like if I can get myself into the right body position and then use the right muscles to power my running, I'm more efficient and I move quicker and its not as hard. I've thought about this here and there over the years but never quite as diligently as I'm approaching it right now so we'll see if it helps. Feels like it is but I want more consistency with it before I decide for sure that it is.

That run pissed off my hip pretty good and I considered bailing on my planned afternoon run. I took some ibuprofen (which I haven't had to do in a few weeks) and rolled my glutes out with the supernova ball to see if that would help. It did, so I did my afternoon run as planned. Same as 2 weeks ago- 2.5 miles out/down followed by 2.5 miles back/up, with the goal of being faster on the way home. I jumped on the Hoka Clayton bandwagon and bought myself a pair of those- this was my first run in them. I think I liked them but they must be a bit longer than my normal shoes b/c I caught my toe and almost tripped like 10x during this run? In order to avoid falling on my face, I had to really focus on lifting my feet up, which might have actually been a good thing. I ran out at ~8:40 pace which was faster than it felt for sure, but I still wondered how I was going to run faster than that given the uphill coming home?? I managed though! 8:25 pace coming home is faster than I've gone before so something is clicking (and I didn't trip and fall on my face!) Effort in the last 2 miles was high though, maybe too high? It felt like a withdrawal vs a deposit and I finished thinking that I should not put out an effort like that again until race day. I'm glad I did it today because it was only ~20min of real effort and it was confidence building, but I'll need to be careful to not go looking for confidence again for the next 9 days. In good news, my hip felt totally fine while I was running and the pain hasn't come back. Go figure.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Expectations

Last night, as is my habit, I checked the weather forecast for today. I have an app on my phone that predicts hour by hour and it's usually pretty close to being right. Helps because our weather can be quite variable though the day so it can sometimes help me avoid riding in the rain or whatever. Anyway, it said for today all day thunderstorms and heavy rain... but chances of that increasing throughout the day. UGH! My fear was that the pool would be closed but of course I really wanted to swim. I mean, I wouldn't swim in a legit lightning storm but if there was just a thunder strike off in the distance I'd go ahead and risk it*.

I texted Nalani and asked if she would be game to go ocean swim since there was a chance the pool would be closed b/c of thunder (with the thinking that no one would kick us out of the ocean!). She said no but predicted that I could probably get Mark to go... So I texted Mark and he was like Yep what time? We agreed on 6:45 and I was stoked b/c while the forecast did say chance of thunder, it also said wind speed at ZERO. I had all these visions in my head of perfectly calm ocean conditions that frankly make me salivate and I was pretty stoked.

Woke up to no rain and only partly cloudy- no sign of thunder. So with expectations of super flat calm perfect water, I drove to the ocean this morning. I felt some wind on my face as I was walking toward the shore and then saw the texture of the water and was like, um, that's not the flat water I was expecting! It was typical tradewind conditions out there which really is no big deal but since my expectations were that it was going to be perfect I was slightly annoyed. We swam uphill against a strong current out to our normal buoy and it was hard, but when we got there I asked Mark if he wanted to swim another 1/2 mile out anyway to make the swim longer. Whatever you want was his reply. Gotta love a training partner like that! So we ended up getting close to 3 miles in this morning. 42min out and 32min back so that was a legit current! I got my first man-o-war sting of the year today as well which was sort of a bummer but it wasn't a really bad one. I might have an immunity at this point after years of repeatedly being stung... Not sure if that's how it works but today it only hurt for a few minutes and didn't even leave a welt. #nbd Anyway, chop, current, man-o-war... So much for my vision of a glorious sunrise ocean swim!! Lol. Whatever. We got it done and next time I need to mentally prep for the worst instead of envisioning things all being perfect. What's that saying about  Expectations??

The forecast ended up being wrong for the bulk of the day. We never got any thunder. Since it was mostly dry out there I did head out for a cruisy 90min ride. Felt a lot better than I expected (no heavy legs like normally I would have after a brick like yesterday) but I kept the effort easy anyway. It did start dumping- like flash flood style rain- right before Moana was supposed to go to her own swim practice. I asked her if she wanted to skip swimming since it was piss pouring rain... "No!" She wanted to go. Fair enough! I took her and she had fun swimming in the rain. :) Apple don't fall far from trees.

*Please don't comment to tell me I'm a moron. I assess situations and make judgment calls based on my perceived risk.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tantalus Tuesday

It was a stunning day to be on the mountain today. Blue skies, dry roads. Hot at the bottom but cool at the top... I normally enjoy this mountain but today I just completely felt like I was in love with it. I mean, seriously, look at this view! It crossed my mind more than once today that this sure beats the piss out of riding a trainer inside. #outsideisfree
I decided that I wanted to do my whole normal brick session today, but with Honu in ~10 days I didn't want to rip myself apart or do anything that would require extended recovery time. I do think the next 10 days will be a bit tricky for me. A downfall of mine is that I tend to want to avoid resting... Training less is not appealing to me, nor do I typically welcome it. So the whole recover-going-into-a-race thing is something that would probably be best if guided by a smart coach who knows me well. Given that I don't have one of those right now I'm going to wing it myself and try to not be a moron. I think I succeeded at that today! :)

3 loops up and I did get faster each time, but my effort was always controlled and the fastest one was only 34:45- so not blazing- and a few minutes off what I think I could have done had I opted to really rip it. I couldn't find my HR strap this morning (hate that!) but HR/breathing felt very much in control and it was all good.

Run off the bike same 2 miles up 2 miles down... something changed though b/c I felt WAY better going up today. Got up in 22:10 which was a full 50" faster than I've gone yet this year but it didn't feel labored at all (ok it's straight uphill so it did feel a little labored but not like it could have!)... Turned around and got down in 13:52 (6:56 for both miles) and again it just felt like legs ticking over not digging. So really I was mostly happy not about the splits here but about how it felt. As well as how I felt afterward- way less smashed than I typically am after this brick. #missionaccomplished

I won't do this brick again for a few weeks b/c of Honu... but when I go back to it in June I think I'm going to have to modify it a bit. I feel like after 5x same session I will need to change up the stimulus to force my body to keep adapting... Though I don't know... maybe I'm not done adapting to it yet? Every time I do it I run faster than I did the time before (with less effort!) so maybe there's more to get out of repeating the same session? These are some of the thoughts I'm having anyway.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Back On The Blog

Haven't written for a few days. Thought about scrapping the blog altogether, but I don't know. Part of me wants to keep (publicly) documenting my training this season. I think it's something most athletes don't (or won't) do but I think for at least a few folks out there it might be interesting to kind of 'watch' training unfold in a really transparent way and then see how it all plays out on race day. I know I'd actually be super interested to get to read accounts of other athletes daily training. I mean, I get to watch my own athletes of course but to see how someone else goes about arranging training (and hearing why!) would be genuinely fascinating to me... I don't think I have all the answers and I know there are 100 ways to skin a cat... I feel like I'm sort of experimenting on myself going with my gut all the time in my day to day training but since no one is responsible but me, I don't mind putting it all out there this year. That said...

I don't want this to come across wrong, but I'd like to note here, just for the record, that I'm not asking for advice about how I'm going about things this year. It would be one thing if I was writing things like I don't know? What do you think? Or if one of my close friends saw me going down a path that was really inappropriate or unhealthy then ok, help set me straight. But my comments page here is not a place where I'm looking for unsolicited advice from strangers. Fair enough? If you're judging me, just keep doing that silently in your own head. :)

Saturday turned out to be a lot nicer than I anticipated. I rode my TT bike out the other direction from where I normally go to ride long (mostly b/c it looked drier that direction). Indeed I only got a little bit of rain all morning and it was all right at my house. Got ~4 hours in and did it in a pretty fun way. Rode for almost an hour then hit a quiet hill for 5x3' strongish (210-215w), then rode another 90min or so HR 140's as much as was reasonable... Power was variable b/c the route goes up/down a lot with turns and wind and all that, so I focused more on steady effort and HR vs power like I do when it's flat. On my way back I hit the same hill again, harder this time, 5x3' building from 228-249w and felt good about my ability to pull that off 3 hours into the ride. Rode home then off the bike ran just 10x30" strides on 30" rest. I've started doing those right on the street out front of my house so one direction goes slightly up while the other goes slightly down. Purpose there is just to get the right running muscles firing off the bike but not actually create any excess fatigue. I find it takes 2-3 before I feel like I have any coordination, then after that they feel quite good. I do feel like a complete dork though and don't like it when my neighbors are out washing their cars or whatever and I'm running back and forth like a crazed rat in a cage...

Sunday mornings are often spent getting messages with race results, which is always fun! Because of the time change to Hawaii, it's common for races to be done or almost done by the time I wake up so I spend a couple hours drinking coffee and texting/emailing/chatting before I head out for my own training. I did walk Maia and took some time to go all my pre-run glute activation stuff, mobility stuff for ankles, hips, and t-spine... As I get older that routine seems to be gaining in importance for me. When I finally left to go run on Sunday morning, I had 3 gels in my secret bra pocket (Coeur Sport bras are the best!) and told my husband I wasn't sure how long I'd be gone, hopefully several hours... Sure enough, started easy, felt controlled, kept running, then ran some more... kept running, picked up the pace a bit, and got home 17 miles later feeling super satisfied like YES! It's been a long time since I've actually felt decent on a long run like that. My period started and while I know some women feel crappy on that day, for me it all turns around and I tend to feel pretty good once the cycle starts itself over. It's happened every month for years so I know I'm not imagining it, though I will say that the cleaner I eat, the less PMS I have. For me there's 100% a connection there.

Anyway, this morning I swam with Mark and it was the kind of swim where I purposely avoided any 'middle ground' type effort. In fact, the whole time I was swimming this morning I was either slower than 1:40 pace or faster than 1:24 pace. Nothing in between. Easy easy 1000 warm up then main set was 2x through:

6x50's MAX @:50
200 easy
3x100's MAX @1:40
200 easy

Felt decent enough on that. The hard parts were so short they were quite manageable, and with plenty of rest with the easy swimming it didn't wear me out too much. No other training today so this kind of felt like a rest day.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Educating The Ignorant

Aloha Friday ocean swim this morning... Was windy today so the water was a good bit choppier than it's been the last 2 weeks. I didn't really realize it until mid-way through the swim, but we also had a significant head current all the way out... Took us 27min to get to the buoy when normally it's like 22-23. Got back in 21min though so what goes around comes around. :) There's a swim race tomorrow morning- sort of in the same area we swim. I've done it before but am not doing it tomorrow. I think it's going to be challenging out there for those who opt into that one! It's not a triathlon though so they won't cancel the swim.

Got all my work done today in a pretty timely fashion, even with a few phone calls thrown in! Headed out for one of my 'As You Feel' rides in the afternoon... I felt like a ton of bricks so rode about as slow/easy as I ever have and called it a recovery ride. I was about a mile from home cutting through a neighborhood when a big truck nearly side-swiped me. Sometimes I handle that ok but I am PMSing right now so today I did not- totally flipped the guy off then passed him back b/c he had to slow for a stop sign. I got through that intersection before he did but he made the same left turn, passed me (again too close) and I threw my arm up at him like Dude what is your problem?? At that he stopped his car in the middle of the road, window down was shouting at me ASSHOLE ASSHOLE ASSHOLE, which I found odd b/c isn't that term normally reserved for men? I rode up right next to his window though and then he was shouting that I should get out of the f'ing road and get on the sidewalk... I tried to tell him that I have every right to the road that he does but he couldn't hear me above his own incessant repeating of ASSHOLE! Eventually the confrontation ended and he drove ahead, only to get stopped at a stoplight where I rode up behind him and promptly took a picture of his license plate.
To be honest, at that point I was shaking and that was easily the highest my heart rate went all day. I got home and immediately showered and then went straight to the police station where I relayed the story and showed them the picture of the plate. The officer was cool- he ran the plate and said yep the guy lives here in town and that they would have an officer go "council" him. Not sure if that will make any difference or not, but my thought after this confrontation was that this ignorant fuck doesn't even know that cyclists are allowed to ride on the roads and that seems like something he should know.

Back out to ride again tomorrow, I think. It's supposed to be rainy in the morning which doesn't really excite me, but the traffic on Saturday afternoons might be worse than the rain in the morning... 19mph winds forecasted all day as well. (The funny thing is that they're calling Sunday the 'windy' day. Apparently round here 19mph doesn't qualify as windy.) So my choice for riding this weekend is a) Saturday morning with wind and rain; b) Saturday afternoon with wind and traffic; or c) Sunday morning with (likely) rain and even more wind (but likely the least amount of traffic!). Hmmmmm. Decisions decisions... #triathleteproblems

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Run/Bike/Run

This morning started with a phone call with one of my athletes. Sometimes communication via text and email is just not enough! I do enjoy catching up on the phone sometimes. :)

I've started incorporating some running drills along with the hip/glute strength stuff I'm doing at the park during my morning dog walks. Side skipping, skipping, butt kicks, high knees, grapevine, bounding, jumprope, single leg jumprope... That kind of thing. I've only just started with that stuff this week and am not positive it helps but I have an inkling it might (at least a little) so I'm giving it a real consistent go and we'll see. I think if I were to only choose 1 of those it would be jumprope. My single leg jumprope actually feels a lot better than it used to so that might be a good sign. Pop pop pop!

Ran 7 miles after that and made a point to keep my HR <150 (avg 147). My 7 mile loop is a fairly hilly one and the sun was blazing so there were several hills where I had to walk (gasp!) to keep my HR in the 140's. Truth be told I hate walking on runs but I think at times it's actually a good thing to do if you need to make sure the intensity of the session remains as low as was intended. Runs that are hot and hilly aren't by nature 'easy' so sometimes have to go out of your way to ensure 'easy'. A HR leash and short walk breaks work well for that.

That run was followed by another athlete phone call... Then catching up on emails and texts with other athletes...

Then it was off on my bike for some hill reps. And it was #newhelmetday! A little plastic piece on my Smith Overtake helmet snapped a few weeks ago. Smith warrantied it and my new one came today! :) I appreciate companies that stand behind their products. Plus, that helmet is the bomb. Really lightweight and fits perfectly.

It's been a while since I've been to Wiahole Valley Rd for 8x4min hill reps- it's the hill I went to pretty much every week in 2013. I think I've been there twice so far this year. Since last time though they repaved the whole road- what a nice surprise! I got rained on some while I was riding (seriously it couldn't have done that earlier when I was running??) but no big deal. Really my biggest issue with riding in the rain these days is that I think it is bad for my bike (read: I suck at cleaning my bike). Anyway, that ride went pretty well- I built from 228-245w and HR got up to 169, so it was a solid effort.

Got home and off the bike ran the same 7 mile route I did in the morning. I gave myself a longer leash for that one (+5 beats; avg 150) to account for the likely dehydration and heat of the afternoon. There were big puffy clouds all over the sky but the stupid sun would not go behind one of them no matter how hard I wished... For the first 4 miles I felt a lot better than I did this morning, and was running ~30"/mile faster. Last 3 miles I was still moving along 30"/mile faster than this morning but it was way less comfortable. It was at this point when I was really cursing the sun!

My afternoon work (email responses + texts) was done while plastered to my bed (nice of my boss to allow this). I currently feel like my body is just radiating heat, as is common after a long hot training day like this. Pretty satisfied with it though and as I told one of my athletes today, I love Ironman training!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Turning It Around

As is standard for a Wednesday morning, I decided before I left the house that I as going to swim hard today. Then I got in the water and started swimming and was like OMG ok maybe not... Once again I just felt like garbage warming up. I didn't fight it but just let the 1000 warm up be slow and crossed my fingers that maybe I'd come around.

Main set was a long one at 2800m. 4 rounds of the following with 60" rest between rounds:
300 @4:45
200 @3:10
100 @1:35
2x50's @:50

Send-offs were a bit tight but each round was only 700m and then we got an extra minute so that was the key I think that saved this set for me. First round wasn't very fast but was ok then it got better from there. Each round got progressively faster but it wasn't forced it just sort of happened, which was a huge turn-around from how my warm-up went and once again engrains in my brain that the way a session (or race!) starts is not necessarily the way it will finish. I started that set at 4:30 for the 300 and then spent subsequent rounds chasing Mark... 4:26/4:21/4:18. The shorter swims progressed similarly.

So while that swim turned out to be quite solid, in hindsight it may have been too much. Mostly b/c I spent the rest of the day just feeling trashed. Nalani sent me a text post swim...
Eventually of course I managed to eat (I'm not one to skip meals!!) but it's 12 hours later and I'm still feeling that swim.

I'm currently watching the finals of a Pro Series swim meet in Charlotte... Men's 1500M is going on right now (the leader is holding 60"/100 long course). Awesome to watch their strokes. One thing I think is funny is how triathlete adults learning to swim seem to think its so important to bilateral breathe to "even out their strokes"... Watching these guys, some of the best in the world at distance swimming, and they ALL have lopsided strokes and breathe to only one side. The leader is moving along with a cadence at 78 strokes/minute (I just timed/counted). He just finished in 14:59- nailed it b/c he put his head down and didn't breathe the last 6 strokes into the wall. Beautiful! So ya, while we can't all swim like these guys, we can maybe glean a few things from them... like don't waste your time/energy forcing yourself to breathe to both sides, and for Pete's sake, keep your turnover up!!