Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Favorite Workout

One thing I have had to get used to this year is not knowing my workouts very far in advance. You know, like it's Friday night before I know what the weekend training will be. I will not lie. This has been a challenge to get used to. BUT, at the same time (I'm being relentlessly positive here) it's pretty fun to log onto TP and read what I get to do the next day. So I get that little surprise, well, every day instead of just once a week.

So I logged on to Training Peaks the other day with all sorts of great anticipation as to what the weekend would hold... and when I saw '4:00-5:00 hour ride' my initial gut reaction was, "sweet!" Then I saw the 40 min run afterward and I was like "even better." You see, I actually love training long. I know some people dread long bike rides like the plague, but I am not one of them. I have loved long bike rides for as along as I can remember. There's always such a sense of accomplishment after you ride long. And I don't know, I just like doing them.

Whenever I'm given a range of times on a workout I pretty much just only see the longer one so "5 hour ride" was what I actually read. My long ride route took 5:12 two weeks ago when I did it so my plan was to do the same ride again. La la la HR range 140-150 is not quite so la la la anymore, but it's still quite comfortable. Anyway, I was like a kid on Christmas Eve last night getting my nutrition ready and setting out everything I would need for the training day. This felt like a real IRONMAN training day and I was stoked to get it done.

And it was a near perfect day to start the ride. I was out the door pedaling at the first sign of light and watched the sun come up over the ocean ~10 min into my ride. It was beautiful and I thought about how much Beth would like to see a picture of it but there was no way I was stopping any more often than the necessary pit stops on this ride so no pictures. Sorry. Just know that it was absolutely stunning. :)

Steady steady steady I rode. Got to Pineapple Hill and of course had to back off a bit to stay in my HR zone. Now it really was rather la la la as I went up up up... but interestingly, there was this guy riding like 100 meters ahead of me... oh boy. All it would have taken would have been one good surge and I would have been on him like white on rice but I was a good girl and did not go get him. I did wonder though if I could get him while also staying in my HR zone? I wasn't sure. We seemed to be riding about the same pace most of the way up. But of course I got him near the top. So as I passed him I looked down and saw my HR right where it should have been and I was so proud of myself but then realized that all I really did was bring on a passenger. But you know what happened next. He was a man after all. As he passed me back and of course wildly picked up the pace all I thought was, my HR is at 150 buddy. And I caught you. Let it go. Anyway, I did the climb nearly 5 minutes faster than I did 2 weeks ago (at the same HR) and now I am not officially the slowest person ever to do the climb.

I felt really strong riding home and was quite happy that I didn't have instructions to do any intervals over HR 150 b/c that actually would have been some hard work today. As it was I was working as hard as I wanted to at HR 148. You'd think maybe I'm just becoming wimpy and stale in zone 2, but in the end the ride was 14 min faster than 2 weeks ago at the same avg HR. So I was within the 4-5 hour range at 4:58. :)

Within a few minutes of finishing the ride I was out running. I won't lie and say it was a fantastic run, but I would say that the reason for that had nothing to do with weakness in my legs. It was more like the monsoon that rolled in just as I was finishing riding made it super tough for me to run uphill with a low HR into such a stuff headwind and driving sideways rain. (Ha! She blamed it on the weather. Classic, huh?) Maybe one of these days I will be fit enough to run solidly off the bike no matter what the weather.

Anyway, it was awesome today. 96 mile ride, 4.5 mile run, no ceilings spinning afterward. In fact, I'm celebrating with some really good Coconut Porter. This training is freaking awesome. I love Ironman.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mama Needs New Shoes

There are so many potential titles for this post I had a hard time picking one.

Where Nobody Knows Your Name
Mama Doesn't Fit In Here
I Think The Guy In The Purple Shirt Plays For The Chargers
Bring me Another Martini, Please

Let me back up. Last week I received an email about going to a function that Coffees of Hawaii was sponsoring... was I available on the 27th... yes I was. That was about all I knew. Then some details came in... something about Pro Bowl players and celebrities and VIP and Pearl Ultra Lounge. Um, what? The party starts at 10PM? Attire was 'club/cocktail.' What does that even mean?

I was guessing that Scott's interest in attending an event like this would be about zero, but I have an athlete that I coach who is in her 20's and into football and immediately thought she would be the perfect person to bring along to an event like this. I sent her a message and asked if she wanted to come with me. Yes. She did. Perfect. Maybe this won't be so bad after all.

Then I get another email that says that I only had one ticket. Um, what? Are you serious? I am supposed to go to some VIP party with celebrities and Pro Bowl Players about whom I know nothing at 10PM on a Thursday night by myself? 

Am I on candid camera?

I could go on and on here about how I was feeling about going to this party. I know some people would be super stoked about this, and shoot, maybe 10 years ago I would have been one of them. But I got married. And then I gave birth. Doesn't that entitle me to spend the rest of my Thursday nights lounging on my couch in my pajamas watching Grey's Anatomy?

One of my biggest dilemmas was what shoes to wear. I do not have any cocktail dresses so I did the best I could with a pair of capris and a halter top. But the shoes? Flip flops or running shoes? Flip flops or running shoes? Hmmm. Neither of those were going to work. So I dug and dug and in the back of my closet in a storage box I found an old but rather cute pair of sandals with a very thick heel (think platforms) that make me like 5'10". I feel more powerful and confident being 5'10" so even though I haven't worn these shoes in years, I threw them in my bag and took them along. (I couldn't possibly put them on until I was about to walk into the party.)

Anyway, I put on as much makeup as I could, googled the location of The Pearl Ultra Lounge, summoned up some fake confidence from somewhere, and set off to find this VIP Party. The revised info I got said that VIPs and Sponsors could get in at 8:30, so I showed up at about 9:00. Had no problem finding the lounge... it was quite obvious, what with the red carpet and ropes set up at the entrance and several security guards with ear pieces and fashionably attractive young women with lists in their hands making sure that only the important people were granted access.

I sort of hoped that maybe my name wouldn't be on the list after all. But there it was...

"Michelle Simmons (Coffees of Hawaii) +1 guest"

What? +1? The attractive young woman asked where my +1 was. Yeah. See, it would have been nice if somebody would have told me I was allowed to bring a +1 because then I wouldn't be doing this right now all by myself. It occurred to me to call Karen and tell her to get her butt down to this bar immediately but she lives on the other side of the island and it would take her an hour minimum to get there. Whatever. I will go in. I will drink enough alcohol to allow me to chat it up with several people and then I will go home and wipe this make up off and put my pajamas on and go to sleep next to my husband.

They gave me one of those fake Power Balance Bracelets which was my official ticket into the VIP lounge where all the players would be. I walked into the bar where all of about 10 people were sitting in groups of two or three talking quietly. Nice. I sat down at the bar by myself and ordered some liquid courage in the form of a martini.

Very Important People and other football players started flowing into the room. I started small chat with the first guy who came to the bar to order a drink. At some point I asked, "So what is your function here at this party?" Oh, you're the CEO of the Sports Marketing firm putting it on. Excellent. I introduced myself as one of the sponsors and made small talk about our coffee plantation on Moloka'i. He then introduced me to some other guy who actually lives on Moloka'i and knew all about our coffee farm... then I met another solo female rep who flew in from Southern California for the Pro Bowl weekend because her company was sponsoring the event as well... So luckily I didn't end up sitting by myself and drinking alone for too long.

And while I was seemingly the only woman in the room not wearing a little black dress and stilettos, I wasn't the only one who didn't know any of the football players. It was quite obvious which ones were the players (um, they are HUGE) but none of us knew who any of them were. Though the other rep said she was pretty sure that the big guy in the purple shirt over there played for the Chargers. Lol.

At one point I did get my picture taken with a rather famous ex-pro football player who was the head honcho behind this sports marketing firm putting on the party in the first place. And I talked up our coffee a bit to him as well so I felt like it was job accomplished after doing that. And then it seemed to me that maybe I'd had too much to drink because the floor was moving... and I was getting shorter... OK, no more martinis, Michelle.

Or maybe my shoes were just disintegrating right under my feet?  Indeed. That was it. OMG. My old shoes were literally falling apart on me in the middle of the Pearl Ultra Lounge. It was as if the clock struck midnight and Cinderella's carriage turned back into a pumpkin. As if I needed another sign to make it clear that this was not my scene and it was time for me to go back home where I belong. Mama is not a VIP. And Mama needs new shoes.

My late night last night did not interrupt my morning routine though. This morning, as I watched the sun come up over the ocean between swim strokes, I thought about how I was infinitely more comfortable here in the choppy ocean than I was at that party last night. This is where Mama belongs. No shoes required.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This Is Not Normal

I don't think my two year old is a normal two year old. I mean, in some ways she is. But in other ways, notsomuch.

Take for example, the other night. Scott and I were in her room after her bath... just sort of hanging out and playing. It was 7:45... so right around normal bedtime. Moana insisted on cleaning up her room. She wanted every princess dress and all her magic wands put in her princess trunk. She wanted her clothes from the day in her hamper and all the toys put away as well. Scott and I just sort of looked at each other in awe as she went about picking everything up by herself. I swear to you, we did not even ask her to do this. And then, then, she started singing The Clean Up Song. Clean up clean up everybody clean up...

Let me just tell you that our daycare lady is worth her weight in gold because obviously she was the one who instilled this desire for tidiness in our little princess. I promise you it was not me.

Think that's amazing? Wait for it. So then Moana says to me, "Mama go downstairs now please?" I thought she was asking me if she could go downstairs so I said, "No Moana. It's bedtime. We're not going downstairs now." But she repeated herself so sweetly. "Mama go downstairs now please?" Ok, I can repeat myself too... so I did. Then she said it again. It occurred to me that maybe she was actually asking me to leave her room? Could it possibly be? So I asked her, "Are you asking me to leave your room?" She said, "Yes. Mama go downstairs now please." Then she pointed to Scott. "Daddy go too."

Ok then. I was completely flabbergasted but Scott and I just looked at each other and did what our bossy independent little daughter asked us to do. She got right in bed and went to sleep.

So today after I picked her up from daycare she started asking for ice cream. Hmmmm. I don't really need this to become a habit but at the same time she eats healthy 90% of the time so a bit of ice cream once/week isn't going to kill anyone... so what the heck. Coldstone Creamery, we're baaaack. Moana went running in there squealing like a little piglet in a mud puddle. In good news, that place is empty at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday so no worries if she's dancing and twirling and squealing while pointing to the picture of the ice cream cone on the wall. ICE CREAM YOU SCREAM SOMEBODY WAS JUST SO HAPPY! Anyway, she ate the majority of a small ice cream. Normal enough I suppose.

But then we went shopping at Safeway. I was buying spinach and kale and broccoli and all the stuff that is safe to reside in our house. And guess who insisted on eating some of that raw broccoli? Yep. Mint ice cream with brownies followed by dessert of raw broccoli. I am not making this up. She then insisted on eating the leaf. What? The leaf? Yes. She wanted to eat the kale. Raw kale. I kid you not.

You know what else is not normal? Swimming 1300 meters with your feet tied together. Using paddles. But no pull buoy. I have more to say about this but that's for another post that is still brewing in my head. For now, a picture of the scene of the crime. Nice pool, huh? So what if there are no pace clocks and no lane lines. It's a mile from my house. And it's free. And the view is not too shabby.

This actually is pretty normal on my side of the island... I had to stop to take that picture the other day when I was riding.

What? This is not your normal turn around point of your weekday ride?

Ok, one more pic here... for Beth who is stuck inside on her trainer for like 8 hours every weekend. Now THAT is not normal... ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Training Is Like A Tube Of Toothpaste

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is concrete proof of progress we make while training. In the past I've relied a lot on perceived exertion to mark my progress. Did I feel good or not? And I would compare that to the total time it would take me to complete a specific run route or bike route or swim set... sometimes I would feel great but maybe the times didn't reflect progress, or vice versa... sometimes it would all come together and I would feel great AND go faster than before... and then sometimes notsomuch. But I don't think I've ever really experienced a very linear progression of progress. At least not like the one I feel like I'm experiencing now. Right now I feel like I'm experiencing concrete proof of progress nearly every time I train. It's really freakin' cool.

I read this analogy somewhere- I should be giving credit to someone for this but I can't remember who so forgive me and just know that I am not trying to take credit for this analogy... But he compared endurance athletes to a tube of toothpaste. You know, when you have a brand new tube of toothpaste, you can pretty much squeeze it anywhere and toothpaste will come out. Likewise, with a new athlete, pretty much any type of training this athlete does is going to result in progress. As long as said new athlete doesn't get injured, there are lots of different types of training that will produce good results.

Now let's think about that tube of toothpaste after its been used for a while... having been squeezed, say, randomly or from the middle. After you've gotten all the toothpaste out of the top half of the tube, you can squeeze and squeeze and squeeze from the middle but no more toothpaste will come out. But there's still more in there. So what do you have to do at this point? Well, you go back to the bottom of the tube and start carefully rolling a little bit at a time... and you roll and roll and roll and for a while maybe nothing even comes out... but in fact what you are doing is positioning that tube to be able to release all of the toothpaste without leaving any leftover and stuck in the bottom.

I feel like this is what I'm doing with my training right now... like I went back to the bottom of the toothpaste tube and am carefully rolling and rolling... and every time I take a running step or pedal a stroke on my bike right now I picture myself carefully rolling up my toothpaste tube right from the bottom. Right now there's not a lot of toothpaste coming out. But that's just because I've been squeezing from the middle for so long...

Back to this idea of concrete proof of progress. My definition of progress right not doesn't actually have much to do with speed. For me right now, it is about building fitness. Remember how last week I was all excited about the fact that I could finally run up the 1/2 mile hill to my house at HR<155 without walking? That was concrete progress when you look at it in terms of fitness. Yesterday I ran up that same hill, HR<155 while pushing Moana in the baby jogger. Seems to me that's pretty concrete... No matter what speed I was doing it at... Because let's face it, last week I could not have done that at all.

Where are you squeezing your tube of toothpaste?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Po Sum On!

La la la... another weekend done and gone.

I was just going to give Moana her bath and put her to bed, but right as we were going up she said, "No! I want daddy bath..." OK then. Mama is free to waste away the evening on the blog. :) I probably have 1000 other things I could be doing but just don't feel like it at the moment. My bike is clean (can you believe I actually cleaned it this afternoon? Amazing.) and all my athletes have their schedules for this week so really the only other thing to do is massage my calf.

For the most part my calf has been behaving and I've been able to run pretty consistently. Got in ~45 miles this week which seems pretty good to me. Funny though, it did not feel like a lot. Maybe because none of it was hard so running does not wear me out like it used to. Sometimes I feel like I could just run and run and run forever. I can feel/see myself getting faster at the lower HR which is cool and motivating and also makes me want to run more. I get all excited at these little gains but then if I compare the times I'm putting out on my typical routes to the times I have done in years past, well, let's just say I should not do that. But I do it anyway. And then I start to feel this little frustration build. But then I look at my average HR for the runs and see it at 151 and remember that I just cannot compare that to what I used to do to myself. It's like I need to just erase all my old routes and start with new ones that I don't know how long they will take. But that is hard when you have lived in the same house for 6+ years and have run every road within 10 miles of your house multiple times... I'm rambling now.

Back to my calf... it was bugging me a bit last week so I went to see Magic Man again. I expressed my frustration about how it gets tight nearly every time I run and I'm afraid I'm going to hurt it again... so he 'got aggressive with it' last week. Um, OUCH. It was hands down the most painful appointment I've had with him to date. BUT, I woke up Monday morning and was able to run so the pain was worth it. He also gave me this special chinese medicated oil and told me to massage a couple drops of it in several times each day. Not sure exactly what this stuff is, but I know the vapor of it burns my eyes if my head gets too close to my calf while I'm massaging it. Powerful stuff. And of course Scott can smell it too (from anywhere in the house if I so much as open the bottle) and he was like, what is this stuff?? Of course the info on the bottle is written in Chinese so we really don't know. There are a few English letters written on the bottle though... You have to imagine Scott using his best Chinese accent... Po Sum On! Lol.
We laughed about that pretty good, but all laughing aside, this stuff is magic. I'm pretty sure my calf pain/tightness comes from a lack of blood flow to/through the compartments in my calf... this stuff just opens it all up (and my sinuses too!) and blood flows freely and ta-dah! No more tightness. Perfect. So I po it on daily now.

In old news, I finally got my hands on the video from a few weeks ago- the one that shows Nalani and I playing tug of war in the pool! (Her husband taped it for us.) I'm the one on the left in the blue suit... It's not really very exciting, but I posted it anyway in case you're interested. Basically we tied ourselves together with a thick stretch cord and then swam in opposite directions trying to pull each other across the pool. This was much harder than it looks. In my memory of this I was flat out giving 100% here but in the video it looks like I'm la la la just cruising. Funny how swimming is like that. Anyway, it appears that I did start to pull her my way but what this video doesn't show is that I just gave up and stopped not too long after this. And also, if my memory serves me right, this was at the end of a w/o that included a swim test of 5 x 300's fast as we could go. I'm lucky I survived at all.

Waiting for coach to put this on my schedule during a swim workout... If he said go until one of you reaches the other end, it might just take the whole hour. That would be the hardest swim workout ever.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Moana Chronicles, January 2011

Life with my two year old is still a heck of a lot of fun. I thought maybe I jinxed myself last month when I said that I didn't know what people were talking about when they said "Terrible Two's", but I didn't. Phew. Moana is still just the cutest little doll. Though now she is one that speaks. Loudly. And a lot. Not unlike a parrot, actually.

Today she was 'helping me' put on a pair of slippers. This made her very happy. She said, "I help Mama!" Yes, Moana, thank you for helping. You are a real help. Then after my slippers were successfully on my feet she said, "It's time to go home now, sweetheart." Which was especially funny because we were in my bedroom. And I never call her sweetheart. She must have gotten that from Grammy?

This afternoon I got home from my run and she was outside on our patio drawing with chalk. She was instructing Scott to draw a hexagon. Yes. She's two. She counted up the 6 sides and cheered for daddy, squealing Yay hexagon! Once again, I asked Scott, "Is she really requesting that you draw hexagons? That's a big word for a two year old, isn't it?" Then he said, Oh you should have heard her a little bit ago. She found a piece of glass outside and said that it was camouflaged. I had to use spell check on that one. Moana is now using words that Mama doesn't know how to spell. Perfect.

The other day after I picked her up at daycare I don't know what came over me, but I took her to Coldstone Creamery. I haven't been to Coldstone in probably 4 years, which means she has never been there... but she has had ice cream before and, um, it did not take her long to figure out what goes on in a place like that. ICE CREAM. YOU SCREAM. WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM. I now know where that chant came from. Oh my. I have never seen her happier. It was better than Christmas morning. Seriously.

The new bed thing has worked out perfectly, She's been a total champ about staying in it when she's supposed to. Once or twice we have caught her getting out of it so she could dig into her princess trunk... What's interesting about that is that as soon as she sees us she puts her little tail between her legs and dives right back into bed. So clearly she has an understanding about when she's supposed to stay in it. So far though, she has not made a single venture out of her room during night or nap time. I'm impressed.

What I'm not impressed with is her complete and utter lack of desire to sit on the potty. We were doing pretty well there for a while but then I really screwed it up when I attempted to bribe her to do it more consistently. Everyone said the bribing worked for their kids... and I am not opposed to giving her some M&M's sometimes... but once she figured out that it was important enough to me that I was willing to give her M&M's if she did it, well, she drew the line in the sand and just completely stopped cold turkey. So I backed off this issue and won't approach it again for a little while, and when I do, I'll be skipping the bribes. I wish that worked for us, but it did not. Go figure.

And speaking of drawing lines in the sand, this morning Moana and I were doing some of that at the beach... she was having a ball. I swear, taking her to the beach just gets better and better every week. Except that today she started wailing about an 'owie' on her foot (she does this a lot, especially in the middle of the night but 99% of the time she's crying wolf b/c she just wants a kiss from mama at 2AM and yes, I go in and kiss her foot. Then the other foot because that one always hurts too) so at first I was not especially responsive. But, turns out I was just being insensitive because she had huge welts on her foot, ankle and hand. Poor thing must have gotten a jellyfish or man-o-war? I didn't see one but the welts were proof enough for me. I've been stung by those things plenty of times and they do hurt like hell so I was worried for her. I call the doc to ask what I should do to help her... but then like 15 minutes later she was back to her smiling little happy self asking for Jamba Juice. Phew. So in good news, she's not allergic to man-o-war.

Unfortunately she still likes to eat sand. Not sure what's up with that?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


So this morning, at the end of our swim, Nalani and I were doing some hard 100's with paddles and bands... strength/power building stuff... It's hard, especially at the end of the workout, and it exposes weakness if you're not a powerful swimmer. While Nalani is a beautiful (and fast) swimmer, she uses good technique to get through the water rather than brut strength. I, on the other hand, rely pretty much solely on brut strength so this kind of set is usually quite fun for me.

After the 3rd one we were recovering at the wall and about to take off on #4. In an attempt to motivate Nalani, I let out a ROAR! I said, Come on, Nalani, ROAR! It'll help. Then just as we pushed off she let out a meek little meow.

It was the most freakin' hilarious thing I've ever heard during a swim workout. Do you know how hard it is to try to swim fast with paddles and bands around your ankles when you are laughing underwater? It's very hard. Oh my. I tried so hard to stop laughing and focus on working hard but I just could not. All I heard in my head that whole 100 was meow. I'm still laughing. That girl

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whose Heart Is This, Anyway?

The most challenging thing for me about running by HR lately has been the terrain in my town. It's all hills. Some short ones, some long ones, some steep ones, some shallow ones... but I can't find a truly flat place to run around here that doesn't involve the track or the treadmill. And when you're trying to keep your HR low, and you're not really that fit, and the road turns even slightly up, well, you're walking (if you're hard core about not going above your zone).

I don't think there's been a run in the last 5 weeks that I did not walk (at least partway) up the hills. This has been very frustrating. But I am committed to fixing it so I'm sticking to it. Dammit.

Today my schedule called for the staple... 50-60 min run, HR 140-155max. Get used to this, he told me. So ok, I head out on a loop I've done a couple times before. It starts downhill so that's nice- gives me a chance to warm up and keep my HR low enough. But then its rolling in the middle and of course pretty much the whole second half is up up up and I end up walking a lot so I usually finish this run with my head hanging low, and sometimes, I'll admit, there have been tears of frustration.

But not today! I could tell right from the start that this was going to be a good run. HR was lower than normal from the first step. Sweet. I actually felt like I was approaching my old 'easy' pace, and every time I looked down at my HR monitor (which is less often these days b/c I'm got a pretty good feel for it now), it was a few beats lower than I guessed it would be. In fact, I was running down a slight hill today and it crossed my mind that I didn't even really want to go any faster, and my HR was 142. Five weeks ago it was not possible for me to take a single stupid slow jogging step at 142. So this was huge progress.

I still had to walk partway up 2 hills on the loop to stay under 155, but these hills are rather steep and I think it'll be a while before I'll be able to get up them without walking. Later in the run I was going up another longer, less steep hill and as usual, backed the effort WAY off in an effort to avoid walking for as long as possible... but then I look down and my HR was 147. Running. Uphill. 147. Seriously? So I pick it up a bit and look down again... 149. Nice. I ran what felt like a comfortable effort up that road and never went above 151. That was different. Look, coach! No walking!

Eventually I got to the last hill leading up to my house. I have yet to run this whole thing with HR <155. In fact, I think I've always ended up walking more than once over the half mile climb b/c my HR usually wants to be 158-160 on this last part. But not today! I couldn't believe I was running up this hill and kept looking down at my watch for confirmation- thinking, "Who's heart is this, anyway?" Can't be mine. But sure enough, I ran up that whole darn hill and never even went above 151.

What a freakin' relief. Seriously. All this slow slow jogging can really take its toll on an athlete mentally, so it's nice to see some concrete gains... Man, I needed that today. And now I've got my sights set on conquering a few more of the hills around my house at <155. There are some I haven't even attempted yet... but at some point I am going to get them. All of them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's Working

Awesome. That is how I described my ride today in my Training Peaks post-workout comments. Of course I went into more details for coach, but the gist of it is that this HR training is working. It helped, of course, that we had a perfect (nearly windless!) day for riding today, but beyond that, I can tell that I am becoming faster and more efficient at a rather low HR. So riding is still easy, but it is not quite as slow. And today I was granted the gift of being able to work a bit harder... 3 x 20 min sections at ~HR+10 from where I have been doing the bulk of my riding... and it was simply awesome. What a difference 10 beats makes! I was quite surprised at how hard I had to work to get my HR to where I wanted it to be, and how fast I was able to ride at that HR. This is what coach has been telling me would happen, and all I can think is that if it is only January and I have to work that hard and can go that fast at a HR that is still very aerobic, then what's in store for April?? Oh my. This is cool.

And I think I mentioned before that coach doesn't screw around with volume... I had my first 5+ hour ride on the schedule yesterday (hey, I thought this was a run week? Interesting that long ride popped up anyway...). What was most interesting to me about that (besides the fact that I set a new world record for Slowest Ascent Ever up Pineapple Hill trying to keep my HR<150 into that headwind from hell) was that starting off this morning I felt fresh as a daisy. I mean seriously, you'd think there would be at least a bit of residual fatigue from riding nearly 100 miles yesterday, but apparently if you do it easy enough, and fuel correctly during/afterward, there's not. Good to know.

So to recap, long easy distance is not overly fatiguing. And easy does not always mean slow. It's sinking in.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Second Run

I think after that 5K on Sunday coach realized the severity of the situation when it pertains to my running. The plan this week goes something like back the hell off the swimming and riding. Go run. Then run some more. Oh you already ran today? Run again anyway.

I don't mind this at all- clearly its what I need- and since all the running might better be described as jogging, it doesn't wear me out or anything. Nah. I just feel like Forrest Gump. Run, Michelle, run!

The second run today was actually just entirely awesome. Mostly because I did it with Moana in the jogger. After I picked her up from daycare I drove her over to Kailua Beach to do the Lanikai loop. (Angela remembers this location fondly I bet... :)  Anyway, it took a bit of coercing to get Moana to agree that running with mommy would indeed be better than going to the playground (our usual post-day-care outing) but eventually she was on board. Yes! Let's going running Mommy!

Moana is no dummy though- she recognized the road to Kailua and right away changed her tune. LET'S GO BEACH she started chanting. Hmmmm. This might be a tough sell getting her in the jogger if the beach is in sight...

I promised her that we were going to run to the beach (omitting that while it wasn't necessary to loop all of Lanikai first, we were going to do that anyway...) It was so cute though- she is always so concerned that she does not have running shoes to wear while she sits in the jogger. I really need to get her a pair. Since she didn't have any, she absolutely insisted on wearing my socks. I let her win this one. Happily for me, K-Swiss makes good shoes that don't rub so I was able to run sockless without any issues.

La la la... we jogged the loop. Moana sang out loud most of the time so I didn't need my iPod. At one point we saw one of those bouncy house things set up in someone's yard- you know the huge ones rich people who live in Lanikai rent for birthday parties? Moana has only been in one of those once but she totally knew what it was today. She started singing Happy Birthday (to me!). Perfect. Then toward the end of the loop there is a bit of a hill (local folks will know what I'm talking about) and she started singing The bear went over the mountain the bear went over the mountain the bear went over the mountain and what do you think he saw? So freaking cute that she sings that now every time she sees a hill. Sesame Street is the bomb for teaching her that song. Anyway, this is what we saw at the top of the hill. Ahhhhh. Kailua Bay.
There's nothing like starting the day by running next to the ocean... and then finishing the day the same way!

Scott actually goes to the beach park here to play soccer on Tues/Thurs evenings, so after we were done we got to see daddy playing soccer! This made Moana quite happy. And you can tell from this picture that soccer may be her sport of choice sooner rather than later.
Then of course we took the shovels to the sand and dug holes and buried our feet. Moana was just a wild NUT by this point she was so happy. It's not that often that we go to the beach on a Tuesday. She's probably crossing her fingers (and her shoeless toes) that coach keeps putting double runs on my schedule... :)

Guess What?

Kind of a tricky title for a blog post, no? But it goes along with the latest of Moana-isms:

Moana: "Guess what?"

Me: "What?"

Moana: (silence)

Kinda like the way a couple weeks ago she kept exclaiming, I have an idea! But then would never tell anyone what it was... lol.

So she picks up on things we do and say... no shocking surprise there. That's what 2 year olds do. The more shocking thing is that she is actually rubbing off on me too. For example, I now have purple toe nails. There is a first time for everything.
Moana is very proud of her purple toe nails and she shows them to everyone. And she says, "Just like mommy!" I guess she doesn't totally understand that this is the first time in nearly 3 years that my toe nails have seen nail polish. And since I don't own any nail polish remover they might just stay like this until it all rubs off on its own. And yes, it is January and we wear these shoes. Don't hate.

I know none of you want to hear how 'cold' it is here right now, but I will tell you this- there's not much circulation in those toes. Brrrr. Sometimes I wish I owned shoes (other than running shoes) that actually cover my feet. This morning I went running before the sun came up and wore a long sleeve shirt the whole time. AND, I could have worn gloves. But I don't have any. All I'll say is that it's a good thing I've got a good feel for my heart rate zones right now because I spent half the run with my sleeves pulled up over my hands so I couldn't see my watch. I did see a stunning sunrise though... right over the ocean the sun popped up on a very clear morning... I should have brought a camera.

Back to Moana... so we converted her crib into a toddler bed on Sunday. I wondered how it would go now that she has some freedom at night and in the mornings.

The first night I put her to bed in there I sat down and had a talk with her. We looked out the window and saw that it was dark. I explained that when it is dark, it is sleepy time. And when its sleepy time she has to stay in bed. So if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she needs to look out the window. Dark = stay in bed. If it is light out, then it's time to get up! I said, "Good deal?" She smiled and said "Good deal!" Then I left her room and she went right to sleep. Love that girl.

Scott and I came up with a plan of action of what we would do if/when she got up before it was time (basically just tell her that it was still dark/sleepy time and put her back in bed, calmly, as many times as it takes. I got that from Super Nanny.)

Times we have had to do that so far: Zero.

The first morning, yesterday, I was swimming so Scott was in charge. I asked him how it went and he said it was no problem. He heard her get up at about 7:20 and she went straight for her box of princess dresses and started "playing princess". Perfect.

This morning I heard her talking to herself a bit at about 6AM when I got up to go run. I knew she would hear me up but since it was still dark I wanted to reinforce that even though mommy was up, it was not yet time for her to get up. So I went into her room and explained that it was still dark out... but that when it got light she could get up and go see daddy. I got home from my run later and asked Scott how it went... he said fine. He said she waited til about 7 and then got herself up and started playing in her room. I described this to our day care Auntie this morning and all she did was shake her head and say "unheard of." Lol. I do feel blessed with a very obedient child, though I will say this- I am not a push over and don't give in to too many things with her. I read this once and live by it: Choose your battles wisely. But when you decide to engage, win at all costs. That's pretty much how I have been with her and it has paid off.

Anyway, I do expect a battle at some point with this new freedom she has, though I am pretty darn confident I will win that one.

Speaking of winning... I had a dream last night that I won my age group at Honu! (Yes- that was just a dream.) But then for whatever reason I got busy and forgot to go to the awards ceremony to accept pay for my Kona slot. I woke up with a very sick feeling in my stomach. Odd that it is only January and I am already having nervous dreams about racing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Which is worse? The last mile of a 5K that you took out too fast when your legs are just failing and you feel like you might piss yourself (oh, the challenges of natural childbirth...) OR the cold hard fact that you are just not as fast as you want to be?

Agony. In both cases.

Which is fine, really. Nalani sent me a text this morning asking how the 5K went. My response: It was a good test that confirms I have a lot of work to do. How's that for a relentlessly positive description?

It was a good lesson for me b/c this is the first time I've ever done a 5K with a heart rate monitor. I was pretty sure I could hold a HR that was about 13 beats higher than what coach suggested. Turns out, I cannot. So I learned that one the hard way. Might be the best way to learn a lesson, no? Actually, what it was is that I had decided on a pace that I thought was reasonable (except it was not) for the 5K so I did the first mile at that pace and disregarded my HR. The email response from coach said something about how I can't just ignore my anaerobic threshold and arbitrarily pick a pace I wish it was at. I can't? Shoot. And that next time maybe I should pay attention when he gives me guidelines for  a race. Ok. Got it.

In good news, a 5K has about as much in resemblance to an Ironman as thether-ball has to knitting. Or something like that.

Anyway, it was a challenging morning on a lot of fronts. But I came home and got to play with this little fairy which made it all better. Looks like we're both trying to figure out how to fly.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Durable? Or Fit? Maybe Both.

Last year when I was coaching myself, my goal was to make myself durable. I reasoned, maybe rightfully so, that being durable was a pre-requisit to being a successful triathlete. I went about achieving my durability goal by beating the crap out of myself nearly every weekend. And sometimes during the week too. Good fun. I loved it.

To some degree, I think it worked. At Honu last year, near the end of the bike (before my flat) I was feeling super and telling myself (out loud!) that I was going to be able to run... I had confidence because I'd put my body through similar scenarios in training all spring.

I never really thought of it in terms of being fit though. My coach now talks to me about being fit. And that when my heart rate does crazy things (like going up but then not wanting to come down) he says its a sign of fitness (or lack thereof). Like seriously? I'm not fit? Come on. Give me a break. I am freaking FIT. Right? Right?

My heart rate tells me otherwise. Nope. Not fit. Not enough anyway. Why won't my heart rate just lie sometimes? A little white lie to boost Mama's ego? That wouldn't kill you now would it?

Why am I even thinking about all this anyway? Well, this morning I had another 4 hour ride on the schedule and since I've been doing so much solo biking in the last few weeks I thought I'd go start the ride with my team and get in a little socializing/training combo. I *knew* I would not be able to simultaneously adhere to my HR guidelines for this ride and ride with the team, but I figured I could chat with them for a few minutes at least in the beginning. Maybe more?

Nope. Not more. In fact, it wasn't 5 minutes into the ride before we hit a little incline and I backed off just a hair to keep my HR from hitting my cap for the day and then it was just bye bye as I watched the group ride away.

I will not lie. That sucked. Especially when the guy on the back of the train kept looking back like he felt sorry for the poor girl who got dropped in the first 5 minutes of the ride. GRRRR. I told some of my friends early on that I was riding by heart rate so if/when I dropped off not to worry- I was fine. But even when you make an informed rational decision to drop off, it still feels a little like being dropped.

So you see, I had 4 more solo hours to contemplate this concept of fitness. Really I was trying to stay relentlessly positive and talk myself into the fact that I was doing the right thing for me... that I was working on fitness today, not durability. (I'm guessing the durability part will come later?) The good news is that even in just 3 short weeks, I have seen some nice gains in fitness. I am riding and running at faster paces than I did 3 weeks ago at the same HR. (Note I did not say 'fast' paces, just 'faster'. There is a difference!) So those little gains I saw this past week gave me the confidence to check my ego at the door this morning, let myself get dropped by my friends/teammates, and do my own thing for the day.

It still kinda sucked getting dropped though. I need to just not even go try to ride with the group again for a while. Maybe not 'til we get to the durability part?

In good news, I executed the workout exactly as coach wrote it today. Pegged a very steady HR the whole way, felt super at the end. Then comes the interesting part. He told me to run 20 min off the bike. No problem. Can do that. Then I read the HR cap he wrote and thought he was smoking crack. I guessed it would be more of a walk off the bike. No way was I going to be able to run at that HR after 4 hours of riding. No way.

I started off running and was seriously just afraid to look down at my HR monitor because I figured I was going to have to stop and walk when I saw it... like living in denial... if I just don't look at it then I can just say oh I didn't know it was that high! Lol... But eventually I gained the courage to glance down. And I had to do a double take. Well look at that?!? Mama was running right where she needed to be. What a nice pleasant surprise. I think it may have even been faster than 10 minute pace. I can run a marathon at this pace, coach! Ta da!

Anyway, possibly the best part about all of this was how I felt walking in the door at the end. I didn't have to fall on the couch and watch the ceiling spin. When Moana tapped me with her magic wand and tried to turn me into a horse, I had the energy to play along! I felt bright eyed and bushy tailed and honestly, if I had to do the exact workout again tomorrow, I could.  Except that tomorrow the schedule actually uses the word 'agony' in the description. I don't know if I even know how to do agony anymore? Oh boy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tie That Band Around Your Ankles And GO!

This morning, while busting my ass to get to the other side of the pool as fast as I could while my feet were bound together with bands and basically dragging along the bottom, I was thinking about how different my swim workouts have been since I've hired someone else to write them for me now. Yeah. I never would have put myself through that last year.

So while I think I write pretty damn hard swim workouts, and while they have been quite effective in getting my athletes and me to the finish line of swim races faster, I am open to the idea of change and how it will positively affect my ability to swim. See, the workouts I wrote usually involved a long w/u, maybe some drills and or sprint work, a long tempo/threshold main set of like 2000M (usually in a format I found easy to remember, like 4 x 500's or something boring simple like that) and then a c/d. Sometimes I'd get all wacky and switch it up a bit so the main set involved different lengths of swims, but only maybe like two variations. Otherwise how in the world would we remember the set when we were all oxygen deprived from swimming so hard with such little rest?

I've been paying attention to the way my new swim workouts are written (because I have to, what with so many different components to the main sets all with their own individual detailed instructions) and I have to say, almost begrudgingly, (because, um, how is it possible that someone would write better swim workouts than me??), they are brilliant. Without worrying specifically about all the little details, I see that I now get to wear myself out with lots of pulling with paddles, interspersed with very fast all out efforts, plenty of kicking, more short all out efforts, more rest than I used to give myself at the walls, and power building efforts involving tying my feet together. Finally, let's end that workout with a few more power building fast efforts with your feet tied together again. Ouch.

This morning, after like 2500M, we were all completely thrashed. I was actually joined by 3 other swimmers for the workout and they were like, who the hell is this guy writing these workouts and can we hit him?? Ha ha. Just kidding, Tim. And poor Nalani. While she is a fantastic swimmer and has crazy endurance, her power in the water is lacking and she definitely could benefit from building some strength. So these workouts are killing her even more than me. At one point when she was just totally falling off the pace, she said, "I'm here in spirit!" It was a classic Nalani statement. I think that's all she said for the whole workout. In her defense, she was super sore from the TRX workout she did yesterday... Nalani's New Year's Resolution get STRONG. Or maybe that is my resolution for her. Yeah. I think that's it.

Unfortunately we were not done even though we totally could have been and called it a great workout... No, we still had 4 more 100's max effort (ok, the set didn't say max effort but it said <1:25 which for me, in this long course pool, is the same thing). So Brett was all curious about our bands and put one on around his ankles even though the set didn't actually call for that. And if you've been reading this blog for a while you know how I like to challenge Brett even when I know I can't actually beat him... but in this case I really thought maybe I could... Brett with bands vs me without... hmmm... maybe I could get him! I said, "I'm going to beat you Brett." Out loud. Of course Brett took the challenge. GO! We freaking raced like there was no tomorrow and you know what? I swam 1:22 (!!) and Brett beat me. Bastard. Jennifer came up to the wall laughing because she could not believe Brett beat me with bands tied around his ankles. Yeah. That guy is amazing. But I tell you what- Brett yanked those bands off immediately and when I challenged him to a rematch on #3, he declined.

Anyway, I'm back in a place where I am thoroughly enjoying my swim workouts again. I mean, I liked my own workouts, but there is something really different and motivating about doing workouts someone else writes for you... and knowing that you have to report in whether or not you hit all those intervals under 1:25 (Yes! I did!). Good stuff.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's only January 4th and I'm already resorting to blog posts full of random nothingness. Lol. But if you wish to waste your time (and really, why else do we read blogs?), continue reading...

~Turns out, I really like my routine. I mean, anyone who knows me could have guessed this, but I was quite happy to get up Monday morning, go swim, send Moana to daycare then come home and catch up on work. I have been quite effective the last few days with work and that feels good.

~Not shockingly, my little apple didn't fall far from her tree. Moana was *very* happy to go back to day care. In fact, several times over the two week break she asked if she could 'go to Auntie's house'... This morning I dropped her off and she didn't even look at me to say goodbye. Just ran into the house squealing with joy. Ok then.

~Maybe she didn't say goodbye to me because I was all sweaty? I ran her down to day care with the jogger this morning. She loves that. She was actually quite upset that she no longer has running shoes to wear in the jogger. (She outgrew hers and Santa did not bring her a new pair. Bad Santa). I tried to convince her that some people actually run in Crocs, but she didn't buy it.

~Coach gave me an extra 7 heart beats to play with this morning on my run (after I dropped M off). I was *super* excited about this. Maybe I could actually run faster than 10 minute pace today?? Woohoo! But then I completely screwed it up because it's just too damn hilly around my house. Even with those 7 extra beats I couldn't run up those steep hills like I used to. Though I tell you what, I couldn't run fast enough down them to keep my HR in the right zone either. I need some flatter routes. OK, wait. Let me be relentlessly positive about this. I'll rephrase it. Ready? I'm learning so much while trying to figure out pacing efforts on steep hills! :)

~Grammy goes home tomorrow. :( I know she is ready to go (she likes her routine too!), but Moana is going to miss her. Every morning Moana has woken up and said, "Where's Grammy?" She just adores Grammy. It's very cute. And very reciprocal.

~Potty training was a total no-go over the break. I was hoping to get it knocked out while I had her home more but it was like she knew that all of a sudden it was more important to me and she totally regressed and just started saying NO, she didn't want to sit on the potty. Ok. Whatever. I didn't push it. Looks like that last box of diapers I bought at Costco will not be my last box to buy after all. I'm not stressed about it. Moana is super smart and she *knows* how to go on the potty. It's just going to have to be a decision she makes all on her own. And when she does, I think it'll be quick and easy.

~I still have not taken down our Christmas tree. The only reason is that I am too lazy.

Ok, that's enough random nothingness for tonight. Night night.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Relentlessly Positive

I'm not huge on New Year's resolutions... I don't think its necessary to wait until a certain day of the year to make necessary changes in our lives. If something needs to change, why wait? Start immediately. Or maybe that just shows a lack of patience on my part. Lol. ;)

So my 'resolution' to stay relentlessly positive no matter the situation is not something that is brand new in 2011... I think I actually saw this as advice that someone posted on Facebook several months ago and I just adopted it for myself right then and there. Yep. There's that sense of urgency again. Regardless, the first day of 2011 presented a nice opportunity for me to continue practicing my mantra. (Isn't that a very positive way to look at the fact that I rode through a shitty rainstorm for several hours this morning?)

On the schedule today- long aerobic ride 3:30-4:00 depending on how I felt. It wasn't raining when I started but the roads were pretty wet. Typical for an early morning this time of year. I actually didn't think much of it. But it didn't take long for the water to start falling from the sky. It fell hard. In big drops. And it wasn't stopping. In fact, I was just riding right into a dark cloud up ahead and the puddles in the road grew deeper with each mile. Lovely.

I started to get pissed for sure. I mean, really? It's been f'ing raining for like 2 straight weeks now and my bike is a mess and I can't see a thing through these sunglasses but I can't take them off b/c rain would then be pelting me in the eyes and I can't see the potholes through the puddles and I'm not even an hour in and am I really going to survive 3 more hours of this???

Didn't I do a nice job of staying positive? Ha! I caught myself falling into this pattern of thinking and actively reversed it. Here are some of the thoughts that went through my mind when I sought out the positives:

~I am riding my bike. Outside. On January 1. In a sleeveless jersey.

~I'm not cold.

~My skin is waterproof. Isn't that cool!?!

~I live in Hawaii.

~It's not that windy.

~There is air in both my tires.

~I haven't been hit by a car today!

~I'm not on a trainer.

~I am making a nice deposit in my fitness bank.

~My heart rate is right where I want it to be.

~My heart rate monitor has not zeroed out on me today.

~I'm going to have a really good reason to clean my bike this afternoon.

~I feel rather strong.

That's pretty much all I came up with but it lasted me through several more hours until the sun came out. That's the nice thing about living in Hawaii. Don't like the weather? Wait an hour. It will change! Sure enough, as I neared home the roads started to dry out and the sky went blue and I felt like I was rewarded for my positive thinking. :)

I took this picture toward the end of my ride. Nice, huh? Makes you think I was just imagining all those dark clouds and rain.
So in the end it wasn't so bad. Now I just have good memories of an aerobic ride that made me stronger.

I also had a very dirty bike. (See? I wasn't actually imagining the dark clouds and rain.)
But now she is sparkling clean! I spent some time hosing her down this afternoon so now she's cleaner than she was when we started. Perfect!

So there you go. Relentlessly positive. That is what I will be in 2011. Even while riding through a nasty rainstorm. :)