Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Long Day

Moana was pumped to head off to Girl Scout Camp first thing this morning! That made two of us. :) I'm sure she is having a blast and I feel happy/grateful that she gets this opportunity.

It made for three happy campers, really, if you count Maia, who got to go straight to the beach where she found a friendly Boxer to run around and romp in the sand with. Then she took a nap in the car while Mark and I practiced getting beat up by the ocean.
Experienced open water swimmers can take one look at the texture of that water and have an idea of what it felt like to swim in that. It's been ~6 weeks since I've been in the ocean so I didn't feel as accustomed to the chop as I have before, but I was fine. We got ~2 miles done and I managed to avoid getting tagged by a man-o-war (which is just pure luck). It's always a bummer when we see them washed up on the beach before we get in. Mark said one wrapped itself around his chest but what doesn't kill you... right? (#HeIsStronger)

I came home to this quiet house and it was so weird. Wasted some time checking Facebook and Twitter and then answered some emails and texted some athletes getting some race updates... Newsflash: Everyone crushed it today! Team BSC had 6 podiums today(!) + a 50 mile run finish and a Wildflower long course finish. Woot! Anyway, finally headed out on my bike ~10:30 no rush, which just felt odd. Like I have all day!? I ended up riding until ~2:00, no big efforts just steady moderate riding and felt pretty good.

My plan was also to run today but I didn't do it right off the bike, primarily because I was trying to be a good dog mom... so I came home, ate, played with Maia, answered emails, talked to a few athletes on the phone, took Maia for a walk, ate again, then headed out for my run. Goal was 7 miles out/back negative split, which would have been a no brainer on a flat course but since pretty much all my runs from home go straight downhill to start, it was a bigger challenge than it seemed. I felt good though and had a feeling I'd have a solid run, which I did. Ran 33min flat on the away out and 30:39 coming home, which is about as fast as I've run those 3.5 miles uphill.
I felt like a machine on this run- just strong never struggling- and a few thoughts were cycling through my brain:

~I'm approaching the kind of fitness I had in 2012 and I really like it.
~Running Tantalus every week makes running the hills around my house seem not so bad.
~I'm genuinely enjoying training recently.
~I like being my own coach.
~I think I want to do another Ironman.

So. We'll test that Ironman thinking tomorrow. Have a long ride on tap ~95 miles. I'm prepping by drinking some IPA at the moment. New brewery opened up down the road and they make an excellent Swear Jar IPA.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday

Husband is out of town for a few days visiting his parents in California... so I am holding down the fort alone. Not a big deal, actually. Seems like I should find it challenging but I don't really. The only thing it really changes in my life is that I can't swim first thing in the mornings with my friends b/c I need to see Moana off on the school bus. So this morning I did that and then took Maia for a little dog jog. Well first we went to the park where I did my little "Get Your Glutes Going!" routine... Once my glutes were going we were off and running. Just a couple of easy miles but since my glutes were going(!) I felt pretty good and opted to throw in some short hill strides at the end. Plenty of hills to choose from in my neighborhood but I went to one where I felt comfortable letting Maia off the leash and she actually did all 8x30" hill sprints with me. That was perfect b/c then she was spent for the rest of the day.

Swam 4k mid-morning by myself. It was a fairly uninspired swim, like just getting the volume done kind of thing. I even wore a 2 piece suit, which I almost never do. It's not common for real swimmers to train in 2 piece suits. Most of the time swimmers know their paces well enough and don't want the extra drag of a 2 piece... But since I was swimming alone I thought maybe I'd work on reducing the ugly tan lines on my back... and I did a bunch of that swim with my feet tied together anyway so it was a drag/strength type swim where I wasn't worried so much about splits. Boring swim but in case you're interested, I went through the following 2x:

1000 easy (2nd round PBB)
4x50's @1:00 bands only
400 w/ fins as 50 kick/50 swim
4x100's @1:55 pads/bands only

Later I snuck out for a 90min ride that included some hill reps. This hill is 7ish minutes long and I did it 5x. Road bike no data; I didn't even time them just sat down and worked the effort that felt right each time. Funny how content I am to train without data sometimes. I think b/c I know myself and I know that I either race myself for the highest numbers or judge myself if I don't like the numbers... so best way to just get work done without judgement is to not know. Maybe not ideal but better than not doing the work... that's how I look at it! Fwiw, if I had a coach to report numbers to, I'd use the data so I could report numbers.
The other thing I was thinking is this... Moana is off to a Girl Scouts camp all weekend(!) so I have the whole weekend to myself(!) which means I'm going to try to get some solid training volume in... Given that, I didn't want to crush myself chasing numbers today and be too tired to do what I have planned for the next 2 days. None of it is really hard actually but I'm using my time available so it's mostly going to be a long aerobic volume kind of weekend and I can't wait! It's like my own solo training camp!

Funny too- husband is away and all the animals seem to be hovering around me. I'm a softie and have been letting Maia sleep on the bed with me and- too funny- both cats jumped up too! It's like the Animal Farm around here I swear.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Honoring The Easy

I thought about not blogging tonight, because really, what is there to say about a day where all you did was ride easy? But then I saw this tweet and thought I should change my tune. Give the easy days the credit where credit is due! :)

I spent much of the day working today. I took a few breaks here and there to do some glute and core work... My routine for a lot of the glute stuff these days is to do it as part of my morning dog walk (or jog). Incorporating it into those walks makes it pretty much guaranteed to get done b/c the dog gets walked every day. I'm up to 8x unassisted pistols each leg now(!) and can hold some of the isometric holds for a full minute (ones that used to leave me shaking after 20-30 seconds), so seeing that improvement is cool and motivating. My hips definitely feel more stable now than they have in a long time. I had a bit of hip pain (same as before) today b/c apparently 3 runs in 2 days was a bit of a push but the exercises and the rolling and the stretching all seem to have worked b/c it feels better tonight than it did this morning. I'm on the fence about whether or not to run tomorrow. Maybe just a dog jog. Poor Maia is in desperate need of being worn out. She's come to hate it when I get my bike out, which means she's in for a depressing weekend.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I took my road bike out for ~90min easy this afternoon. Legs felt like they were filled with concrete for the first 30min or so then got better and by the end I felt quite solid and had to consciously hold myself back... Honoring the easy day. It's easier for me to do easy these days than it was a few years ago. I think I have a higher appreciation for easy than I used to. Maybe because I am 42. ;) No really, I'm so good at easy these days I don't even need a leash. Not even for running!

Check out my new bar tape! Pretty cool to customize your bike like this... It's the Coeur Sports logo Heart and Courage... I'm so fancy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Accumulating Fatigue

I'm starting to feel the accumulation of fatigue now, which I think is fine. Necessary, in fact, to be quite tired from training at times if you're trying to stimulate a change in fitness. So in a way, I really welcome this tired feeling. Especially 4-6 weeks out from a key race... I think I should be tired!

I actually warmed up easy this morning in the pool- no blasting through a fast 1000 from the first stroke. I knew we were going to have a sprint type main set so I figured an easy warm up was in order. I still timed it, because that's what I do in the water.  16:23. So my 'easy' pace/effort is ~5"/100 slower than my 'solid' pace/effort.

Main set was quite different from ones we typically do... 5 rounds:
50-50-100 all max sprint (off 1:00/1:00/1:30) straight into 200 super easy recovery @4:00, which gave us like 40" rest between rounds. 4 of us were there making waves in the middle of the pool with this set, which made it WAY more fun/effective than it would have been had I done it alone. I held 38-39" for the 50's then 1:22-1:24 for the 100's. It was hard in a completely different way, which I think was good. This is the kind of swim that can really give you some POP when you have a decent endurance base to build it on.

So only 3k in the pool today but that was enough. Came home and jogged easy for 7 miles. Actually, I jogged easy for 6 miles (avg ~10' pace) then last mile I included 5x30" strong effort hill reps with walking/jogging recovery as necessary between hills. It just felt like an aerobic deposit kind of run with a bit of power there at the end. My stomach felt off for the bulk of it, mostly b/c I did it pretty soon after that hard swim and sometimes hard swims like that leave me all bloated and feeling like I need to burp/fart (I swallow too much air maybe??). TMI maybe but just keeping it real.

I felt quite tired for much of the day but went about my business as usual... I don't normally do any training in the evenings, but Moana has swim team from 5:30-6 and tonight we jogged down to the pool together(!) then I jogged more while she swam then we walk/jogged home together after (alternating light posts, which gave us some mini goals along the way). She was super proud of herself for all the exercise(!) and I got a bonus 5 miles in. No watch just easy easy jogging tonight. If I had to guess I'd say my HR never went above 145- it was *that* easy. I just looked at it as a durability run. Junk miles, maybe, but I think those types of runs are important for me.

Tomorrow will be a light/easy day (mostly home working) then I'm going to try to put together 3 more solid days Fri>Sun.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Change Your Bar Tape

Last week I took my road bike to my friend Mike who does all my wrenching for me. The bike was actually working pretty well but I've been riding it more than I used to and figured I should stay ahead of any major problems by having him check it out and give it a bit of a tune up to keep it in decent working order. The bike is ~10 years old and while I've replaced parts here and there along the way, it's typically in need of some type of maintenance fairly often.

It was a bummer when he sent me a text saying "It's happening again"... followed by a picture of my handlebars that were all corroded and ready to snap. My shifters were in a smilier condition. I guess riding where it's humid and dripping sweat all over your front end all the time isn't exactly good for metal parts. Mike replaced the bars and the shifters for me and then said (just for fun) he applied some pressure to the old bars to see how strong they were. Apparently they snapped under very little force. He said I was just one good pothole away from requiring some extensive dental work. I guess the moral of the story here is, once again, change your bar tape.

Anyway, I didn't have that bike back yet so I took my TT bike to Tantalus today. I've never actually timed myself bottom to top while riding my P3 so I didn't know if my splits would mean much today (On a climb like that would the TT bike be faster? Or slower? I really didn't know), but I figured I'd have power and that might be fun to watch... In the end I think the bike was a non-factor. Splits were right about what I would have expected them to be. I rode up first time just sort of steady. I wouldn't say it was easy but I wasn't pushing either. 35:10/185w. Kinda fun that my warm up pace today was right about the same as my max pace a few months ago! :) 2nd lap I thought I'd shoot for 200w and see what that got me... had avg 201w at the top... 32:55 which was about the same as the fastest one I did 2 weeks ago. Then last lap I was just going for anything over 201w... Managed 205w and that put me at the top in 32:15. Solid effort for sure. I think I'll go back to using my road bike on the climbs going forward b/c I prefer descending on that bike vs the TT bike, but nice to get a gauge for the power and to know that I can climb just fine on the P3.

View of Honolulu and Diamond Head half way down... It was warm and sunny today!

Off the bike I repeated the run 2 miles up/down. Up in 22:39 which is to the second(!) exactly the same as last week, but I looked at it as progress b/c today was hot vs last week was cloudy with a bit of rain... and today my effort felt controlled vs last week it felt quite hard. Similar story on the way down. I was actually 20" faster (14:27) but it felt more relaxed for sure. My climbing was harder today vs last week but I still ran better/easier, so overall I think today represents continued improvement which is always fun and motivating!

I genuinely enjoy this key brick and look forward to it each week now. I think I'll do it 2 more times before Honu, maybe progressing it by extending the run up another mile? We'll see.

What I didn't enjoy was coming home to find that Maia had chewed up all sorts of stuff and spread it around the house... Apparently she doesn't appreciate it when I'm gone all day. In good news she didn't really chew up anything of value, but still, the clean-up wasn't something I was stoked about doing this afternoon. She doesn't know it yet but she earned herself a ticket to being locked out on the patio all day next Tuesday.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Matrix 100s

Solid swim this morning. All the pieces were in place, which mostly means I had training partners vs swimming alone. 1000 w/u felt ok. Neg split 7:52/7:46 (15:38)

Main set was 27x100's done as follows: (Send-offs 1:45/1:40/1:35)
1/1/1
2/2/2
3/3/3
2/2/2
1/1/1
There are 100 ways to mix up pace 100's but this is one of my favorites because you're changing pace the whole time and constantly doing math figuring out when you're going next. To be honest, for whatever reason I didn't think this set was going to be crazy hard. But it was harder than I thought it would be. I took it pretty easy when I had some room (@1:45) and worked it when the intervals were tighter (@1:35). I guess I just felt like my endurance wasn't quite there because after ~15 I felt like I was falling apart. I really had to focus on keeping my stroke together. When I get tired I tend to move my head around more which causes some drag and is just less efficient, so mostly when I focus I'm focusing on keeping my head still and neutral (and keeping my turnover up!). This was also the first long/hard main set I've done without paddles in a while so that might have been why the send-offs felt like a bigger challenge than I expected.

Mark and Nalani got out after that b/c they don't have all day to swim. I do and I wanted 5k so I stayed in and floated through a super easy 300 then pulled 1000 straight relaxed effort. I was super tired and it was slow and not a negative split! Lol. 16:22 (8:08/8:14) which might take the honors of slowest 1000 I have done with paddles. Fine though I'll call it a cool down. Got out and was like yep that was enough for today.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

12 Miles!

I ran 12 miles today! Woot! It was one of those mornings where I left and told Scott I wasn't sure how long I'd be gone... Maybe an hour and a half? But then I got out there and was just trotting along and felt just fine and couldn't think of a reason to turn around before 6 miles. :) To be honest I think I could have kept going today but I didn't want to get all greedy about it b/c that's how I get myself hurt. So 12 miles it was. AND, I negative split ~by almost 3 minutes!~ which was no easy feat given the route I ran. Basically I jogged 3 miles downhill then 3 more flat miles without looking at my watch at all. It was very relaxed and I felt like I wasn't giving more than ~3/10. Checked my watch just for fun and saw 58:18, avg 9:42 pace. So ok my goal became to get every mile on the way home <9:42 pace, which I figured would be a no brainer on the flat part but last 3 miles uphill might present a bit of a challenge. But I did it! Last 3 miles were 9:34, 9:26, 9:22 which given the uphill and the distance of the run, was satisfying.
It sure was nice to feel decent on a long run. I got in just over 33 miles this week which is by far the most running I've done since sometime in January. Hip isn't 100% happy but it's no worse than it was after that 10 mile run on Thursday (still registering ~1/10 on the pain scale) so really quite manageable.

I had a swim lesson to teach this afternoon, which was good b/c it forced me to drag myself to the pool, which I don't typically do on weekends. I went early and got a lazy 3K done before the lesson... Pretty much felt like ass but I know the 4th swim of the week is an important one when I can make myself get it in. 4 swims/week boosts fitness in a way that 3 swims/week does not, even if the 4th one is lazy like mine was today.

Overall I got in 19.5 hours of training this week... After 17.5 last week... A few more weeks like this and it'll be a legit training block!