Tuesday, March 29, 2016

ScarFace

Stunning sunrise this morning. Seeing this while I drink coffee in the morning almost makes running up the hill to this house worth it.

I knew today would be my last opportunity to train for a little while- I only had about an hour but I did the best I could with it. Short hill reps on my bike. I went up/down a hill near my house for 45min, alternating seated with standing climbing and the effort felt hard enough. As I was finishing up it started raining. I saw a gorgeous rainbow on my last trip up the hill and I wanted to snap a picture but rainbows can be fleeting. It disappeared before I got to the top.

Today was a scheduled surgery to remove a couple of skin cancer spots on my face. When the derm finds basal cells on my body he just scrapes (or freezes) them off. That process leaves little round scars but I don't particularly care. Last time I was in he found a couple spots on my cheek so he recommended the surgeon take over so the scarring would be minimal. One of the spots was actually a bigger brown spot that I've had for years but just recently started changing and exhibiting signs of turning into melanoma, so he wanted that cut out too. Basal cells don't scare me but melanoma gets my attention so I was like yep whatever you think doc let's get rid of that spot.

Anyway, the surgeon walked in today and we both thought the other looked familiar. It didn't take us long to figure out the we have about 100 friends in common- turns out, she is a runner and we've done some of the same fun runs and races over the years. That connection put me more at ease which was cool. A benefit I suppose of living on an island with a fairly small running community.

Long story short, my face is cut up and once the numbing agent wore off, the pain settled in and it hurts. Doc said no exercise for 2 weeks but the look on my face made it clear that wasn't going to happen... And she is a runner so she gets it... so she said ok well how about a week? I'll play that one by ear. Right now the pain is enough that my desire to exercise is zero. Kind of a bummer that as soon as my hip feels solid I get put back on the bench... 

Given that this is a blog about my training and that I'm apparently not going to be doing any training for a week few days, I might not update again until I'm back and doing something. My guess is that tomorrow is going to be a Netflix marathon from bed. If I don't write for another week you can assume I checked myself into a mental health facility.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Park Bench Routine

Nobody showed up to swim this morning so I was on my own. 1000 w/u easy/relaxed as every 4th 50 kick on my side. Throwing in some kicking like that prevents me from going too hard so that's why I sometimes throw in some kicking or sculling when I'm warming up. Then I cruised through 2x500's pull just sort of steady- not hard but stronger than warm up effort. Used my solo swim as an opportunity to swim with drag (in the form of band only). I don't do a ton of that when I'm swimming with others, mostly b/c bands don't even start to slow Mark down so we can't really swim together if I use bands. But, I think bands force me to really create power up front and I think it's good to practice, so today was a good opportunity. Anyway. 1500M main set. I did the longer swims as pads/bands (no buoy) off 1:45 base and the 50's as band only off 60". Pretty solid long strength set and was good to alternate pads with no pads. No extra rest between rounds.

400 @7:00 (6:48)
2x50's @1:00
300 @5:15 (5:00)
2x50's @1:00
200 @3:30 (3:17)
2x50's @1:00
100 @1:45 (1:36)
2x50's @1:00

My new thing when I walk Maia is to take her down to a little park at the end of our road. I can let her off leash there and she can run round (and poop!) and I use a bench there to do a bit of strength work. My current routine is as follows:

~Steps ups (2x12 ea leg)
~Hip Hikes (2x30 ea leg)
~Bench Pistol Squats (2x8 ea leg)

Pistols are good on a bench like that b/c I can start at the top and squat down with one leg and then use the other leg to touch the ground and give myself a bit of assistance in getting back up. I can really feel those though and it doesn't take a lot to feel the effort! I did attempt to do one without any assistance from the other leg... and I did it! Just one, and only on the right side, but still. I was pretty pumped. #GoMe! I'll keep working those b/c I like them and I think they are good/useful.

I would have LOVED to have ridden my bike today (it was gorgeous out, again) but Moana didn't have school today and I didn't have anyone to watch her. She did play at the neighbor's for a bit so I used that window to go for a short run. Got 4 aerobic miles in and felt ok. Avg HR 146, 9:48 pace which is an improvement over last week but still yikes quite a ways to go. Sometimes (like today for sure) I absolutely despise living at the top of a hill. It basically means I can never negative split an aerobic run b/c in order to stay aerobic running up that damn hill I have to go stupidly slow (often with walk breaks) and it's obnoxious and annoying and well, #triathleteproblems. I'll shut up now.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Super Double Good!

Easter morning was pretty stunning around here. No wind, blue skies... If I was single I would have headed out on my bike immediately, but instead I waited for Moana to wake up and open her Easter basket and go in search of eggs in the front yard. It was a fun morning for sure. :)

Once the chaos wore off I headed out for a run. I made the choice to take some ibuprofen before heading out, which is something I said before that I would not do, but I changed my mind and decided to try it and see if it helped prevent soreness in the first place (vs simply eliminating it after it has occurred). I made a little deal with myself that I need to 'earn' my ibuprofen by doing all the basic hip/core/glute strength stuff. My position on the ibuprofen has changed a bit (bc, um, it totally helps!) and now I'm thinking maybe ibuprofen will be the band-aid I need that will allow me to keep running while I continue the process of strengthening my hips (so eventually I can run without it). So as long as I don't get lazy and complacent about the hip strength stuff, I'm giving myself permission to take the anti-inflammatory. Anyway. It worked! I ran 5 miles, which was my longest run in months, and discomfort never escalated at all and even later in the day I had zero pain in that hip! Super double good! I got home and while I was still dripping with sweat I told Scott that even if I never raced again, to be able to go out and float through 5 miles like that is something that I just really want to always be able to do. I just enjoyed it. A lot. Running without pain beats running with pain.

We spent the rest of the day at the beach with some friends. We all agreed it was one of the  best beach days ever. Perfect weather, good friends, good moods all around. Super double good! Also, Maui Brewing Co has this limited edition Hopkine IPL for sale now and it's fantastic.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In Brief, Saturday Ride

This will be quick b/c I still have to go play Easter Bunny. Decent ride this morning with a few friends/training partners. 58 miles in just under 3 hours. Pretty easy first hour, then we did a few strong intervals like 6-7min long. Coming home it was moderate for a bit but sitting on and drafting really reduced the effort required. Eventually I went to the front and put out a 20min effort of my own- Mike knew what I was doing so he gave me some space and stayed behind me (but wasn't drafting). I avg 209w for that 20min piece which is right about current FTP (given last week was basically an FTP test). People tend to do 20min "FTP tests" but I'm not convinced 20min gives a true picture of FTP. It gives an estimate, yes, but what you can hold for 20min is not necessarily a concrete indicator of what you can hold for 60min, as evidenced by how rarely athletes actually go out and ride as hard as they can for 60min(!). It's hard(!). Anyway. Last 30min coming home was punchy and I think at times Mike was attempting to spit me off his wheel but it never happened.

I felt like I could have run off the bike but I want to run tomorrow and since I ran Thurs/Fri I didn't want to push it running 4 days in a row. Call it patience maybe?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Pools were closed today for Good Friday but no worries... The ocean was open! No wind again this morning so it was still all glassy and perfect. Same 3 Musketeers as Wednesday. It was pretty much the exact same swim, except on the way back today Mark took off sprinting (sneaky with no warning!) which forced Nalani and I to chase... Eventually we caught back on and then we continued that race pace effort all the way back. I could see Mark surging at times like he was trying to break us but we didn't let it happen! Turned into a 20min threshold effort which was great. I think people (us included) commonly tend to swim fairly easy/relaxed in the ocean, but sometimes pushing the pace for an extended period like that is super.

Afterward Nalani and I had our husbands drop off our kids and we dragged them along on a run around Kailua (dog too!). We were probably quite a sight... Me jogging with the dog on a leash and Nalani pushing the jogger and Moana following us on her bike. It was slow and easy but quite pleasant and enjoyable and my hip was only slightly irritated so all in all a good morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Managing Spring Break...

Spring break means I'm a full time mom and since Grammy isn't here anymore (boo!), I had to get pretty creative in order to get work and training done today. Well, I don't know how 'creative' setting an alarm actually is... But that's what I did. I was pedaling as the sun came up this morning and had time to get ~90min in before Scott had to go to work, so I used it riding mostly aerobically. It felt like it took a bit of effort to get my HR up above 140 today but I pushed hard enough to get it there and held that for the bulk of my ride along the coast. I didn't have any power numbers today b/c I was on my road bike... I've been too lazy to swap my Enve race wheels off my P3 and I didn't want to waste 5min doing that this morning so I just grabbed my road bike since it was ready to go. Power is nice to watch on an aerobic ride but what matters is HR and I had that. So. good enough.

Light south winds are bringing in a bunch of vog which makes our skies super hazy. I did pause for a minute to look at this and snap a picture today. It doesn't normally look like this.

I don't know how I managed to get any work done with all the neighborhood girls running in/out of our house today. I told them a bunch of times to go play outside and leave me alone so I could focus. They would remember those instructions for like 20 min and then want to come in and play with the dog (who is forever by my side) or whatever... They're good kids and aren't doing anything bad - just good natured playing which is exactly what they should be doing at this age (!) - but I'll still be pretty happy when school starts again next Tuesday so I can have some quiet time here at the house to focus.

I had an introductory chat today with a new gal who I am going to start working with via the Tri-Equal group. I volunteered 3 months of coaching to a newbie athlete via their program Equally Inspired which is attempting to get more women into the sport. The match up between coach and athlete was pretty random I think - I got a young gal from Montreal - but it's all good. She seemed great in chatting with her today and I hope she uses me to her advantage! She's a lot more green than most of the athletes I tend to work with but I think it'll be fun to really go back to basics with this one. I'm happy to work with athletes of all abilities and experience, as long as they are willing and excited to work consistently and communicate with me. I'll be challenged with this one when it comes to run paces because, um, I don't think in kilometers. But I'll adapt. :)

I did want to get out and jog a bit today... working that out logistically when it was raining and I was responsible for a 7yo and a dog took a bit of planning, but by late afternoon I packed everybody up in the car with a leash for the dog and a bike for the kid and we drove to Kailua where it was dry (and flat!) and made it happen. We went a bit over 3 miles. To be frank, I felt like crap, just slow and heavy and labored even at like 10:30 pace ugh BUT in good news my hip never escalated above maybe 1/10 level on the not-quite-right scale. I think the flat road really helped with that. And the targeted strength work is working as well. So, while my run fitness is pathetic at the moment, if I'm healthy at least I can start the process of going about fixing it! Here's hoping it's not worse tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Everybody showed up to swim this morning, except the lifeguard. We hung around and had a bit of a social hour waiting for someone with a key to come open up the pool, but eventually a few of us bailed on the waiting and went to the ocean. No wind meant perfect glassy conditions and Mark, Nalani and I knocked out a few miles side by side just cruising and it was probably the best way I could have imagined starting the day.
It's been way too long since Nalani and I have swam ocean together (seriously, like almost a year!?!). It was just like old times though today like we never even skipped a beat. At the end both Mark and Nalani tried out my new Roka R1 goggles- those things really do increase field of vision- it's almost trippy. They both agreed it was like seeing the ocean through a magnifying glass. I think Roka sold out of their first round of those goggles in like a week but I'm assuming they're making more as I type. When they become available again, do yourself a favor and pick up a pair. I will need a tinted pair. I wore clear this morning and while my vision underwater was great, I was blinded by the sun every time I took a breath. #oceanswimmingproblems #crymeariver

Managed to get out on my bike today but only had ~90min so figured I better make the most of it. Went to a hill not too far away and did some strength reps. It's an undulating hill where some sections are steeper than others, and it takes ~2.5 min to get to the top. I used a moderately heavy gear and stayed seated at all times, grunting it out when it was steep. No HR/power data today but I'd guess my cadence was <60 at times but then 70+ at times as well when the hill flattened out in certain short sections. Anyway, I did a total of 12 reps, broken up as 5/4/3 with an extra 3min spin around the block between sets. That was more of a mental break than anything. Funny as I was riding today I got to thinking about the concept of repetition... When Scott was coaching me in 2013 he always had me doing repeats for long sets... 30x400's on the track, 15x3 min running, 20x2min riding, 60x50's in the pool... Super repetitive stuff and to be honest at times I felt really bored with that (can't say I loved it, at all) but I have to admit, it did coax me into being quite mentally strong. Feeling like I needed a mental break after 5x up the hill today pointed out maybe a mental weakness I have now that I think I didn't used to have. Anyway. Just some of my thoughts as I was riding today. I still got some work done and felt adequately tired at the end so I'm not beating myself up about it. But I might go back to some of that more boring repetitive work b/c I do remember liking the feeling of being an unstoppable machine. #RepeatRepeatRepeat

Hip actually felt quite solid today like maybe I could have run but I opted to be conservative. Will run tomorrow as I've put myself on the Every-Other-Day plan for running.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday

Supposedly it was going to dump rain all day today, but it didn't really. Little rain here and there but mostly just humidity through the roof. No wind.

I've been pretty religious about doing all the glute med exercises... favorites are the ones with resistance bands and hip hikes (I have been doing those 2x/day), but also have done side laying leg lifts and clams and bridges and squats and lunges and SLRDL and step ups and pistol squats...

Doc rx'd some Voltaren gel for me which is an anti-inflammatory so I've used that the last 24 hours or so and jury is still out about whether or not that helps. Honestly I think standard ibuprofen makes it feel better than the gel but apparently I'm not supposed to take both at once so I haven't taken any ibuprofen recently. Anyway, I tested it this morning and jogged 4 miles and it felt pretty good for ~3 of those. The last mile I'd say pain level came back to ~3/10, which is not high, but I was hoping for better than that. Then the rest of the day even with the gel stuff it's felt not quite right. Just a little sore. I'm still on the fence about how much to run through this situation. I hadn't run in 5 days prior to today and it feels pretty much perfect when I don't run and hurts 3/10 when I do run. Gut says if I were to run faster or longer though it would come back in a legit way and that bugs me. I don't know. The fact that it hardly hurt at all for the first few miles today though seems like a good sign?

It's spring break and kids are home which makes training more logistically challenging. I let all that go today and hosted a 'Spa Day' for a couple of Moana's neighborhood friends. I have a few athletes who could have benefitted from this today as well. Learning to relax is a skill.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Trash Talk

On Friday night a few of us were out having pizza/beer at the beach. It's not uncommon for me to run my mouth a bit after I've had a few beers, and on Friday it came in the form of giving Mark some shit about how he was too hung over to swim properly that morning. That conversation escalated into a fun little Wait til monday morning I'm going to kick your ass kind of talk... to which I responded with something like Bring it! So that set the scene for this morning.

My problem, of course, was that I did that TT yesterday and consequently I woke up this morning feeling less than spunky. At 42 I just don't recover in a day like I did when I was 32! It worked out in my favor that Lectie showed up this morning, because she became a good target for Mark. I swallowed my pride and flopped through the warm up (Um, they lapped me! In a long course pool!) but I knew that since I didn't spin out that TT yesterday I needed to do something easy easy before starting to work hard again. After the warm up I talked myself into actually swimming. We did a warm up set of 8x50's @:55 25 fast/25 easy and during that set I made up our main set. 2200m main set where all the swims were off 1:35/100 base and the 2nd one of each round faster than the first. I used paddles while Mark and Lectie swam.

2x300's (4:22/4:15)
2x200's (2:53/2:48)
2x100's (1:24/1:23)
2x200's (2:53/2:49)
2x300's (4:21/4:15)

Mark apparently crushed himself trying to keep up with Lectie during the warm up and the first half of the set, which left him complaining that the water was running out of air(!), and I managed to give him a solid challenge in the back half of that main set. So I sort of redeemed myself, a little bit anyway. It hurt me to do that though! I swam myself straight into full on nausea on that last 300 and felt trashed for the rest of the morning.

I did manage to get out for an easy spin this afternoon. Avg HR 125, max 138 for ~80minutes. So, complete opposite from yesterday. Legs actually didn't feel as bad as I thought they would, but then I didn't make a single big effort today.

Then Moana and mom and I went hiking to Likeke falls.

Mom is visiting from Ohio and she doesn't get to do stuff like this very often. It was fun though and of course the dog was in heaven.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

40km TT

I put my helmet on this morning and glanced down at my garmin and saw my heart rate at 125. Um. Anxiety, anyone? Started warming up as easy as I could trying to calm myself down... watts <100 and HR mid 130s. Holy crap. Take a deep breath, Michelle. It's just a little local bike race!

A few weeks ago when I did that 20km TT I had *zero* expectations, but since then I've been riding more and numbers show fitness has gone up significantly, so today I had some expectations of myself. I think I'm better when expectations are low!

I spun easy warming up and saw the sun coming up over the ocean. It was a stunning sight and I wished I had my camera. Then I thought I bet somebody has a camera and will snap a picture of that. Sure enough, my friend Lou posted this on Facebook today. This is exactly what I saw. I love Hawaii.
With a TT course along the coast, you know it's going to be windy. Given my excessive nerves and corresponding heart rate, I changed my garmin settings to just show me avg lap power and avg 30" power. I didn't want/need the distraction of seeing HR numbers through the roof, but I was curious to see the data at the end.

Going into this race, I was hoping I could avg ~210w. Given the ~220 I held for 25 minutes 4 weeks ago at Makaha, I figured -10w for over an hour (2.5x the distance) would be a legit effort and to be honest, I wasn't sure I could do it. But why not try?

The first half we had a pretty strong cross/headwind. I remembered Marilyn's mantra- When the course is hard, buckle down and work! So when my avg power was closer to 220w vs 210 on the way out, I gave myself permission to push that. 210w with a 20mph tailwind is a huge ask so I knew power would fall on the way back... and it did... but coming home speed went (way!) up (weeee!) and effort was still there for sure, even if 30" power dropped <200w at times. I feel like I lost a bit of focus coming home, but let's face it, 66min is a LONG time to stay 100% focused. Overall I think I did a decent job of staying focused on the task at hand and keeping my foot on the gas. Data from my garmin proves it too- avg HR 170 with max of 174 shows that I really did have myself pegged for the whole distance. And I hit my goal of avg 210w!
I sort of thought 210w would be enough to put me top 3 OA, but it wasn't. I ended up 2nd AG and 5th OA. Damn those gals are fast!! I can't be disappointed in my effort though. I did exactly what I wanted to do this morning, and then paid for it the rest of the day. I think I'm too old to push that hard for that long. Yikes! #trashed

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Decoupling Check

Cruisy aerobic miles on the bike this morning. For the first time in 2+ years (!) I rode with Nalani. Welcome back Nalani!

I did a main set 2x45min at HR 140-145. I like doing a ride like that as a bit of a decoupling check... so I ride by HR and watch avg lap power for the 45min... then repeat the effort and see if (at the same HR) power stays about the same or if it goes down? Pretty happy to see today that it stayed the same (actually went slightly up on the 2nd one b/c it was windy). The route we rode allows for a very steady effort so it wasn't hard to peg HR in a very narrow zone and just hold it there.

Tomorrow I'll be riding the same road again but am going to attempt to do it at +25beats and ideally +50watts. 40K TT in the morning... Should be pretty uncomfortable.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Aloha Friday

Another super solid swim this morning. 1K "w/u"- not easy- felt strong 15:11. I took it out in a 3:01 which is stupid fast for a warm up, but I decided from the first stroke that I was going to stay with Mark today... Mark didn't tell me that he had stayed up all night drinking whiskey and playing poker... consequently he was not a player this morning. He fell off the pace after 200m and never really factored in for the rest of the session. Cheap whiskey is a killer.

Main set 5x400's pull @6:20, descend 1-5. I told Nalani- we start strong don't fuck around- then get stronger as we go. I kind of figured I'd start at 6:00 then see if I could get down to 5:45 by the last one. 5:56, 5:50, 5:47 then I changed my plans bc it was going better than I'd anticipated... ok try to get down to 5:40 by the last one... knocked out 5:42 then 5:35. Shocked myself there at the end. Was super cool though and I got home and wrote in my log that it is fun to swim fast and feel totally in control. This kind of swimming only comes about when I'm swimming regularly and a lot, so it's not magic (or luck!) and I know that. To be fair, the effort on the last one made me feel nauseous, but as long as I was willing to put up with the discomfort, I didn't need to slow down. That might have been the fastest 400 I've ever pulled off in this pool? I don't know for sure but I've always thought of 5:45 as about my limit.

I had a bunch of work to do today- finishing program writing for next week and getting started with a new athlete (who I am excited about!). Its fun to start up with new athletes, especially when they come to you as known hard workers and you can see their potential. This new gal is going to fit brilliantly in my group.

This was the weekend I was supposed to fly to Maui/Hilo and run two marathons. I was in denial I think about not going... only yesterday cancelled my flight. My friend Kendra is still going and running both and I'm trying hard to not be jealous. But I'm jealous. It's a cool goal to run all the Hawaii marathons in a calendar year. Maybe one of these years I'll do it, but won't be this year.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

3 Opinions

In the last 2 days I've had 3 medical professionals give me their opinion about what is going on with my hip. Chiro yesterday said possibly bursitis. He said I could probably manage it and continue to run but don't push too much volume or intensity until it's better. He is a triathlete so he truly understands my desire to RUN. Said ibuprofen ok as long as I'm not using it to mask pain so I can run. Ibuprofen 400-800mg after run, which is how I've been doing it and that pretty much works except it bugs me to have pain when I run. Focus on PT type strength exercises.

Acupuncture this morning said not likely bursitis but more likely trigger points in the TFL. He used some needles to get the trigger points to release, which I think he actually managed to achieve, but my pain remained and I limped a little as I walked out of his office. He suggested no running, but said yes on ibuprofen and suggested a protocol of taking 1 tab 3x/day with meals for 3 days in a row then take a day off from taking it.

Sports Med doc this afternoon agreed not likely bursitis. She listened to my whole story (as did the other two), ordered an x-ray, and finally after a physical exam said it's likely just a really pissed off glute med/TFL. X-ray showed no signs of a stress fx which didn't surprise me at all (I would have been seriously shocked if there was a stress fx anywhere). She didn't seem to think cortisone would help because there's no bursa in the specific area where I feel pain, though she did also agree yes on the ibuprofen (but didn't tell me specifically how to take it- just 'as needed'). She said my best bet was more rest and heavy focus on PT type strengthening exercises. If it's not healed in the next few months we can talk about an MRI and maybe a round of PRP.

So. I walked out of that last appointment thinking that I really just need to be my own best advocate.  I came home, took some ibuprofen- which almost immediately relieved the pain- then spent some time doing the PT/strength stuff I know for hips and core. My plan will be to not run the next few days, continue the ibuprofen as needed and do the PT stuff like its my job. I feel like I've been doing all that stuff, though maybe not as frequently and consistently as I could be. It's one of those things where I think about doing it, and I plan to do it, but sometimes I don't actually DO IT. So that's the part I'm going to try to change and see if it makes a difference. #workworks My biggest challenge will be resisting attempts to run when my hips feels 100% fine due to the ibuprofen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hip Bursitis?

Great swim this morning. Mark and Nalani were there and that always helps. Felt strong right from the first stroke, ripped through a 1000w/u in 15:09 and it didn't even feel hard. Crazy how different that was from Monday.

Main set was 18x100's done Matrix style, which is a pretty easy way to get through 18x100's b/c you're thinking the whole time and doing math to figure out send-offs, changing pace, etc. It goes like this:
1/1/1
2/2/2
3/3/3
We went off send-off that gave us some room to breathe... 1:45/1:40/1:35. I held 1:30-1:31 for the easy ones, 1:27-1:28 for the moderate ones, and 1:23-1:25 for the fast ones. I felt strong and in control the whole time and it was great.

Finished with 1000 easy pull, just to add some relaxed aerobic volume, b/c I believe that shit works.

Mark brought my a papaya from his tree. I ran home with it like it was a football. It was delicious!

I saw my chiro today (Dr Zen!) and vented my frustration about how my hip feels. It's like it's not that bad but it's not ok to truly train on. I was able to really pinpoint where it hurts and he suggested it was likely bursitis. Not sure how I feel about that, but it makes sense b/c when I take ibuprofen it feels 100x better, so clearly it's an issue of inflammation. I called my doc right away and got an appt for tomorrow(!) with a sports med doc and am going to talk to him about getting a cortisone shot. I've never had one but from what I have read about them, in a situation like bursitis, it can be a good call without much downside. So. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

8x4'

I think I might be onto something with this fascia thing around my hip. Last night I spent 5-10min using this little ivory tool I have that somehow is supposed to break up (or smooth out?) fascia. If I wasn't so lazy I'd take a picture of the tool and the "atomic oil" I used along with it (like a wintergreen oil that brings heat/blood to the area). After a few minutes doing that last night my hip felt as good as it's felt in 2 months, and good enough to run a few easy miles with Maia this morning. So that was a nice start to my day! I'm cautiously optimistic.

Later I headed out for my staple strength ride, 8x4min heavy gear uphill in aero bars. I did this session (almost) weekly in 2013 and got to the point where I was avg 250+w for all 8. Today my goal was to see if I could keep them 220-240. I started at 222 then built 224, 225, 240, 242, 253... That 253 required some digging and it just felt like a harder effort than I wanted to be giving. I don't always think that harder is better(!), but I have this problem where I feel the need to descend (or in this case I guess ascend) every session I do... So I had a decision to make after that 6th one. I could:

a) Keep digging and see if I could get the power up above 253 for the last 2.
b) Bail on the session and say 6 reps was enough.
c) Do the last 2 but control my effort to be mod/strong instead of max.

Lucho taught me a long time ago to not compromise volume for intensity (and vice versa), so bailing on the last 2 reps didn't feel like a good choice. And I've done the digging thing before where I have ripped my legs off to achieve power numbers in training that ultimately hurt my performance down the road b/c the effort was just too much. So given that, I opted to do the last 2 reps but backed off the effort a bit. I finished with 225, 228 and felt good about that.

I work with a few athletes who are always pushing power numbers up a bit higher than prescribed... Like if I write 180-200w, they read the session as "minimum 200w" and end up pushing 205. I have a special place in my heart for these athletes because my brain tends to work the same way. On the surface this seems like a good thing, but you can get yourself in trouble with power when you're always going for numbers as high as you can make them. I think given the demands of our sport, quite possibly it would be better to do an extra rep or two at the prescribed power vs going above the goal. In triathlon, being highly durable and resistant to fatigue is preferable to having the highest max power numbers. And finishing a session knowing that you could do it again tomorrow is good for consistency... and consequently, fitness.

My mom flew in this afternoon. She brought fresh sourdough bread from San Francisco. I'm pretty sure I could have single handedly eaten this whole loaf! I haven't had good sourdough in years.

Should be a fun week with Grammy here. She only comes to visit maybe once/year so I suspect I'll train a bit less over the next week but I'll figure out a way to fit in a bit here and there without disrupting the family time.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rain Day

I try to stay away from writing about politics, but WTF is up with this country? I can't watch the news with my mouth closed any more. It's just nuts that seemingly so many people have so much hate.

Anyway. I'll stop about that. Swimming. I didn't feel great this morning and didn't have much motivation... I warmed up super easy then since I felt like crap opted to just do a long steady aerobic set. I'm pretty convinced you can't ever really go wrong with steady aerobic work, so it's always a good fall back on days like today. 3k main set done straight through, all off 1:40 base send-offs and all descend 1-3.

3x300's
3x250's
3x200's
3x150's
3x100's

The descending part was just to keep my brain occupied and have little mini goals throughout the set. I didn't descend to fast, only to steady, and got out when I was done feeling like I did a decent job getting some work done on a day when I didn't really want to.

It rained all day, which was fine by me. Mondays are trash days in our neighborhood and I took the opportunity to spend some time purging some un-needed stuff from our house (mostly kitchen and bathroom). Throwing stuff out feels good, but I filled our trash can (and topped off our neighbor's!) but didn't really feel like I made a dent. Might need to make that a weekly habit and see where it leads me (maybe to a less cluttered house?)

Anyway, no ride today but I did go running(!). It sort of felt like a real run too b/c I went without the dog, strapped on my HR monitor and went a full 4 miles. I figured I'd go easy and just see how it felt. To my pleasant surprise, HR was totally controlled and it was not hard to keep it <150, even running uphill back to my house (normally I'm not capable of running up those hills with HR <150 but today I could). I mean, it was slow (avg 10:05 pace, avg HR 142) but not as slow as I anticipated it would be given that I haven't really run in ~6 weeks now. I'd say it was a good run except that my hip hurt with every step so 'good' isn't the right description. It didn't hurt badly- I'd call it a 2 or a 3 on a scale of 1-10- and it wasn't really worse at the end than it was in the beginning. Given the way it felt I'd say it's not likely a tendon b/c tendon issues often loosen up and feel better as you go. My hip issue is constant and feels same every step. I'm starting to wonder if its a fascia thing. I might be reaching here but I'm desperate at this point and from what I read about fascia it appears that it's quite possible I've got some sort of weird adhesion in there that pulls when I run? I'm undecided about how to progress from here. I guess I will continue to manage it best I can and do what feels right.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday

I think pretty much everyone I knew was off climbing some epic mountain today... Pangs of jealousy over here for sure as I look through all the pictures on Facebook tonight!

After 3 days in a row of riding that included some hard efforts, today was 3+ hours aerobic cruise by myself on my road bike. It was windy again but today it just felt standard to me. Avg HR was 133 (max 147) so it was not a hard ride. I did however show some solidarity with my friends who were climbing today, and I did most of the climbs in my last hour big chain ring. Grrrrrrr. Legs felt better today than I expected them to and HR seemed normal/controlled. All good which tells me the last 3 days maybe weren't as hard as I thought they were?

I thought about running off the bike again b/c my hip feels pretty solid, but opted to wait another day and (hopefully) run a little longer tomorrow. I'd call it 90% better. I still feel it at times though and it scares me that I might do a run and injure it again and then have to take another 6 weeks waiting for the damn thing to heal.... I'm being way more cautious with this one then I have been with some other issues I've dealt with (calves, knees, achilles) but this one seems to have the most potential to be truly debilitating and not something I can run through when it's bad. I did do some hip/core strength stuff which I think helps.

I spent a bunch of time this afternoon cleaning my bikes. They were a mess. Yikes. Like tons of black gunk covering the chains... It's funny, the more I work with my bikes the better I feel like I understand bike maintenance stuff. Recently I've gotten pretty good at adjusting brakes. I have been swapping wheels a bit (for a variety of reasons) and have learned how to adjust the brakes to accommodate different rim widths as well as how to swap brake pads and position those so they are level and in the right spot. It's really not that hard, thanks to You Tube videos! Part of me wonders how much other bike maintenance stuff I could learn if I tried? A lot, I bet. If I tried.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Work Works

I got to ride with a couple of friends/training partners today. Last time I rode with them was ~6 weeks ago and I got dropped repeatedly through the ride. Today was much better! We cruised easy on the way out, until we got to a point where they pretty much always do an interval that's ~7min long. 6 weeks ago I was impressed with myself b/c I could avg 200w for that 7min. Today my goal was to shoot for 215w. So I started off at what felt pretty hard and after maybe a minute glanced down at my garmin... saw 210 and thought UGH I'm in trouble b/c this feels WAY harder than what 210 should feel like... I glanced again... oh not 210... it's 270. Whoops! Ok that makes more sense but yikes back that shit off! I ended w avg 243 which was obviously well above what I thought I could do today. How's that for improvement? I'll take 40watts in 6 weeks!

Coming home we were cruising again and then somehow (after getting stopped at a light) I found myself in front so I just started pedaling and well look at that... 200 watts... so I just kept doing that because it felt good... 10min later still avg 200 so I decided to see if I could hold it for 20min... based on the effort it was requiring I figured I could... upped it even and finished that 20min avg 205w and thought YES these are the legs I remember having a few years back.

It's rides like these that confirm to me that yes, work works. I've had conversations with several athletes over the years and they were convinced that training doesn't work for them... saying that they train but don't get faster. My question is always how much are you actually training? Thinking about training doesn't count as training. It's often the case that those athletes think about training a lot, which leads them to believe they are training a lot. But let's look at log books and actually see? Ride 200+ miles/week for a few months in a row and let's see if improvement happens? My money says it will.

Anyway, my motivation to keep up the riding consistency and volume is high. It was still pretty windy today but after several days in a row of that it didn't bother me today, which is again a sign that we adapt to whatever stress we routinely put ourselves under.

I got home and took Maia out for a jog. I told Scott I'd either be back in 10 min or 20 min, depending on how my hip felt. I'm cautiously optimistic at this point that my hip is finally healing from whatever strain I must have had. Can't say it feels perfect, but I've run that college loop 3x this week and hip feels 90% fine. Maybe next week I'll try a 3 mile run and see. :)

And because blogs are more fun with pictures, here's one of 5 (wild) baby pigs Moana and I saw in the park this afternoon! Dogs aren't allowed in this park, which is probably a good thing for those pigs. Maia would have been a dog possessed had she smelled these babies.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Little Lie Detectors

The wind persists. And once again I had a bit of a mental battle with myself. Funny how my motivation wanes when the weather isn't perfect. I'd be a mess if I lived on the mainland.

I sat on the pool deck and chatted with Nalani for a full 40 minutes before finally getting wet this morning. That was quite nice to do, and I really enjoyed it, even though it was not good for swimming motivation. By the time we finally started swimming I was mentally just over it. I managed to get through a pretty slow/relaxed 2600M before calling it enough and got out heading for the hot shower. I knew while I was swimming that I wasn't having a physical problem... I'm pretty sure I could have swam fast this morning had I had any desire or motivation to do so. But I didn't. Brains are powerful, and can act to help or hinder us on any given day.

Later I headed out on my bike. PowerTap recently put out a cute ad on FB for their new P1 pedals... something about how the pedals are "little lie detectors". Anyone who has ever ridden with power knows this to be true. I have those pedals now on my P3 and really like them. They give me reliable info about how I'm actually riding. Anyway, I used the data today and heading out decided that I wanted to accumulate 30 minutes of riding >200 watts. Wasn't exactly sure how that would come about... but figured I'd figure it out as I went. 15min into the ride though I scrapped that whole plan b/c it just felt too windy to ride hard. All my energy was being used just to stay upright! But then I gave myself the same pep talk I gave myself yesterday (ahem!) and got to work. I settled on 10x3min and once I got going, 200w was too low of a target. I did them all 215-230w and felt good/strong. Turns out I can ride in the wind when I set my mind to it.

Was fun to get home from riding and find updates about how TeamBSC camp went today in Scottsdale. Krista has a great group of athletes there this weekend and they are doing work. I saw a whole bunch of pictures and got text/email updates from several who I coach who are there training... Of course I felt quite jealous and wish I was there with them... But I'm happy that they get the chance to work together this weekend and I will live vicariously through their pictures and posts. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quit Being A Pussy

The high wind advisory remained in effect all day today. I sat inside working all morning and just listened to the wind ripping around my house, and knocking stuff down outside, and really didn't have much of a desire to go out and ride my bike.
It's a fallacy to think that motivation for training comes easy every day. It doesn't. I was this.close to bailing on riding again today. But then I had a little pep talk with myself. It went something like this: Michelle. Quit being a pussy. I reminded myself that becoming a strong rider isn't rocket science. Cycling is really quite a blue collar sport. Ride your bike, a lot, and you're going to get stronger. You know how you don't get stronger? By sitting on your ass and skipping rides because it's windy.

Given the flying tree branches, I opted again for hill reps vs being out on the main road. Instead of short and very hard though, I went for the longest hill within a 30min ride of my house (its maybe ~7 min long). Once again I went without any data (no HR, no power) just my own subjective feeling. Goal was to put in a solid strength effort. I stayed seated, climbed Auloa bottom to top 5x, and each time geared down one gear. So first time up I was using 39/23, last time up 39/16, which had me at times pushing cadence <50rpm. Felt like weight lifting on a bike. Good stuff. As always, when I was done, I felt really glad that I bucked up and went.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Better Together

I got to the pool this morning and saw Lectie there (yay someone to swim with!) and then Mark showed up and right away I was like Uh oh. It's been a while since those two have swam together but when they finally do it's like every set becomes and olympic trials final (in a good fun way of course). Nalani showed up too which made it even better- just like old times(!), though I would guess that maybe some of the old ladies didn't appreciate the tidal wave we create when 4 of us are swimming hard.

Anyway, 2400M main set today was a good one.

3x300's steady @4:50; 1x100 FAST
2x300's steady @4:50; 2x100's FAST @1:30
1x300 steady @4:50; 3x100's FAST @1:30

I pretty much got my ass handed to me by Mark and Lectie, who were swimming in another zip code. For a second I was frustrated to be so far behind, but then I would look at my watch and see that I was swimming quite fast by my own standards. I mean there's just no way any of us would have swam that hard or that fast on our own. Together we are better. And because it's friendly, it's also quite fun, and well, A+ all around on the swim this morning.

Unfortunately I came to to more work stress. Seems like my job really shouldn't be that stressful. Honestly most of the time it isn't, but the crap I dealt with today was the kind of stuff that drives me batty. I'm pretty much an open book on this blog but today I'll just leave it at that.

Maybe what frustrates me most is that I spent so much time dealing with crap that I ran out of time to do the ride I wanted to do. I ended up with about an hour to work with though so I made the most of that by doing all my core/glute strength stuff pretty much just like Sunday and then jogged with Maia ~2.2 miles around the college. I wish I could say hip handled that just fine but it's a bit tender/sore again right on that iliac crest. 1 mile doesn't make it as tender as 2 miles, which isn't exactly a good sign for a real return to running any time soon. I caved and started taking ibuprofen (after the run not before) which I'm not a fan of but I'm getting desperate starting to lose patience with this stupid hip of mine. Ibuprofen does make it feel better which leads me to believe that inflammation is part of the pain (it always is).

Winds are supposed to remain at 25-35mph through tomorrow so hopefully I'll get my chance to ride in them maƱana.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

GTWD

This winter has definitely softened us (as if we, in Hawaii, are not already soft enough when it comes to weather conditions). Pretty much every day recently has been picture perfect blue skies and light/moderate winds. Today tested me a bit b/c we had some gusty winds and on/off rain. Was I really going to ride in that? I used to. All the time. But I'm so soft now!

I did get myself out the door, but I changed my ride plan to allow me to stay in neighborhoods vs being out on the main road and I justified that decision in the name of safety. So, short hill reps it was. I figured I would do 6x2' hard uphill, then 6x1' hard uphill. That's one I haven't done in a while, and just like 50's in the pool, not (at all) my favorite kind of session to do. So much that I had to change it up and sort of trick myself just to GTWD. Seriously, I got done with 2 of those 2' hills and felt so uncomfortable (I am not a huge fan of describing training as suffering, even if that term feels somewhat accurate at times. It's not truly suffering. I mean, come on.) that I started talking myself out of doing the rest of them. Just one more, I told myself... This is the hard part about not having a coach to report to... If a coach wrote a session for me I would go do it without thinking about modifying it. But when it's me making myself "suffer" and I know no one else cares at all, it's harder to force the discomfort b/c at any time I can just stop and no one even needs to know...

Anyway, I did end up getting it all done but I broke up the sets so it was more palatable to my rebellious brain. I split it up into 3 rounds:

3x2min; 1x1min
2x2min; 2x1min
1x2min; 3x1min

That worked for my brain and I got the work done. I was on my road bike and didn't have any objective data... Just the subjective feeling of shit this is hard.

Tomorrow we'll see if I can find my big girl pants.

Maia gets the shaft when its cold and wet and windy. She did convince me to take her out for a few short walks but overall today was pretty boring for her.

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Trail Monday

Swim was pretty standard this morning. Felt like one of those check the box type sessions. 1000 w/u as usual felt heavy to start then better after ~500m. Mark was there which for sure made me swim the main set faster/harder than I would have on my own. We did 3x500's pull @7:50. Went 7:29, 7:25, 7:21, because descending is a habit. Then we did another set as 2 rounds of 200, 150, 100, 50 where round 1 the last 1/2 of each swim was fast and round 2 the first 1/2 of each swim was fast. That's a quick way to knock out 1000m because the swims are short and you constantly have to think and change pace/effort. Anyway, 3600m again this morning. Check.

Opted to not ride today in favor of hopefully riding stronger tomorrow. My hip felt pretty good though, and it seemed like it had been a while since Maia and I went hiking, so I took the opportunity to drive her out to a trail I'd been meaning to check out. Its mostly a mountain biking trail and for that reason I figured I should stay away on the weekends, but figured on a Monday morning we wouldn't likely be in anyone's way out there.

Anyway, it was a cool trail and I really enjoyed exploring it. Obviously Maia did as well. It occurred to me that I never used to do stuff like that but now that I have her I feel like I want/need to figure out cool things to do with her. It ends up being a win-win for sure b/c I'm exploring a whole new world out there on the trails, and loving it. She might make a trail runner out of me yet.

We spent about an hour on that trail, mostly walking but included a little jogging here and there on parts that were a bit flatter. It seems sacrilegious to take a garmin on an outing like that so I really don't know how far we went, but I'd guess maybe 4 miles and would guess in total we jogged about a mile of it (maybe a little more?). It felt like a good 'bridge' into running b/c it was time on my feet, low aerobic effort but enough to break into a sweat, and quite enjoyable. I can still feel my hip isn't perfect but once again it is not worse and I think that's a good sign. Although with 3 days in a row of light jogging I think I'll not jog at all tomorrow just to remain on the cautious side.
It apparently takes Maia 23 hours of sleeping to recover from an hour long hike/run. She spent the rest of the day in complete Zombie mode.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

EMOM

This morning I spent a good chunk of time working mobility, stability, and a bit of strength. Mostly thinking that if I have full range of motion, stable hips, and strong core/glutes, that maybe this hip pain of mine will resolve itself. So with that in mind:

~"Happy Hips" Roll Routine focused on extension and internal rotation
~Couch stretch
~Psoas smash (MWOD style with kettle bell)
~Star Lunges
~Bridges (double and single leg)
~Monster walks with resistance bands (4 directions)
~V-ups
~Knees to bar
~Hip hikes
~Stork hold>airplane

Then I went outside to my side yard and did a little session reminiscent of when I used to dabble in Crossfit. Nothing crazy, and I know Crossfit isn't exactly gold standard when it comes to strength training, but my personal experience with it was positive and fun, so I employ some of their methods at times b/c I like them. Today I did 2x 8min "wod" as EMOM style (Every Minute on the Minute).

WOD #1: 4 rounds of
10 squats (45lbs)
10 box jumps

WOD #2: 4 rounds of
7 dead lifts (95lbs)
40" hollow hold

That was a fun way to GTWD (get the work done). Basically I was 'working' for 25-40 seconds then resting until the minute was up then would start the next set/round. It's been a while since I've lifted anything heavy and I didn't want to go overboard and end up unable to walk tomorrow... so I kept the weights on the moderate side and it was good.

Finished up with 5x50 jumps of jumprope and was pretty stoked that jumping rope didn't seem to irritate my hip (a week ago it did). Even threw in a bit of single leg jumps (2x10 each leg) and had no problem. Goal with that really is to keep my calves and achilles strong and in the game so that when I do start really running again, I won't end up with some dumb lower leg injury or something like that.

Later I went out riding. My original plan was to do a hill rep session but saw pretty early on that my HR seemed a bit on the low side and I don't know, my gut just said not today. Instead I just cruised as I felt, which ended up being pretty easy. HR was def a good bit lower than it's been the last few weeks (say maybe avg 8 beats low?), which could be a sign of increasing fitness but more likely simply increasing fatigue. Could be tired from yesterdays ride or maybe that little morning strength session since I'm not really adapted to that kind of work at the moment? Or could just be that I've ridden ~450 miles in the last 2 weeks and the cumulative fatigue is catching up. Either way, I kept intensity on the lower side for 43 miles and stopped a couple times to take pictures. Wouldn't call it a bad day to be on the bike.

This is Waimanalo and every time I ride past this section I think I should stop and take a picture. Today I finally did.
Got home and right away took Maia out for our little mile jog. It went better today vs yesterday. Hip still isn't perfect but once again the short jog didn't make it worse (and it isn't worse now) so I don't think it was a bad idea to try it again. In fact, I finished that "run" all sweaty and almost felt like a whole triathlete again.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fartlek Friday; Steady Saturday.

Solid swim again yesterday morning. Felt like confirmation that Wednesday was not a fluke. :) Once again right from the first stroke I felt "on" so the warm up was strong. Then Nalani (she's back!!) and I did 4x400's pull @6:20. 5:56, 5:52, 5:49, 5:46. To be honest I didn't set out to descend on purpose but that's how the set kind of played out and I went with it. Descending is a habit. Finished the session with an old favorite we used to do weekly back in the day (seriously like 2007-2009!)... Fartlek Friday we called it and it was a straight 1000 as 2x through 250mod into 50 fast, 50 steady, 50 fast, 50 steady, 50 fast... repeat. I think the ability to change pace and recover while still swimming is key to solid swim fitness and this long set focuses on that. I knocked out the 1000 in 15:13 which was satisfying given that I really did feel like I was changing pace. 100 c/d gave us 3700M and that was enough.

I didn't ride yesterday afternoon. I finished working in time to ride but when it came down to it I just didn't want to. Instead I spent a few hours gutting Moana's room... cleaned it top to bottom (including the closet) threw tons of stuff out and have a big box to donate. That was a long overdue project and I felt relived to have finally taken care of it. I'd like to go through the same process with our garage but that would easily be a two day project and would require buy-in from my husband. He doesn't like to admit his hoarder tendencies(!)... but he is NOT a fan of getting rid of things. So you can imagine the state of our garage. Let's just say a car wouldn't fit in there. Maybe one day I'll convince him but after 8 years of marriage I'm not holding my breath!

No ride yesterday left me pretty motivated to ride today. Got on my TT bike by myself and headed north along my flat route where I can ride uninterrupted. Was another perfect day to ride (dry and hardly any wind). I warmed up for maybe 15min then pegged my HR in a very narrow range 148-152 (avg 150) for the next 70minutes and just rode steady eddie all the way out to Turtle Bay. Avg power for that 70min was 169w and it didn't feel hard, which was shocking. I am genuinely surprised at how quickly my cycling legs have returned. Maybe it's b/c they are not carrying any fatigue from running? That's likely a part of it. And also further confirmation that I respond quite well to aerobic volume. Truth is though, I can't remember the last time that 170w didn't feel at least moderately hard... It's been a few years. Anyway, coming home I did a set of 4x8min heavy gear strength work, power 200, 205, 207, 210. Those efforts felt strong but not max (HR low 160's) then just rode the rest of the way steady HR 140's and called it good. Definitely felt WAY stronger at the end today vs on Wednesday when I rode this same route. 58 miles for the morning in 3 hours even.

As soon as I got home I grabbed Maia and her leash and headed back out down the road. We only jogged ~a mile and as my first run off the bike since IM Louisville(?) let's just say it left a little something to be desired... but I'd say my hip didn't feel worse when I finished and it doesn't feel worse now either. I'm on the fence about whether or not I should keep attempting these short little 1-2 mile runs... Mostly questioning are they setting me back and delaying the full healing? Or are they bridging my fitness and a good idea to keep doing? I am not sure. I *suspect* that I am dealing with some sort of tendonitis(osis?) around my iliac crest, and from what I read it says full rest is required to let it heal... so 1 mile here and there could potentially be delaying healing and not at all worth doing. OR it could be just fine as long as I'm not pushing it too far (or changing my run gait) and hip will still heal when it heals and then at least I won't be starting back from complete zero? Tough call. I'll likely continue to go with my gut on this run, jogging when it feels like its ok to do so.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

On Training With Data

Thursdays and Fridays tend to be longer work days b/c that's when I write schedules for the following week for the athletes I work with. I spent much of the day today sitting in front of my computer but after every schedule I wrote I got up and did some type of core exercise (v-ups, monster walks, TRX crunches, plank, bridges, etc). That was a fun way to sort of reset my brain throughout the day and reduced that stiff feeling you get after sitting for too long.

I jogged with Maia this morning. I was only planning on doing the same 1/2 mile out/back that we did yesterday but when I got to the end of the road I thought my hip felt solid enough to go the whole college loop (adding another mile or so). I felt like as long as I was keeping my core engaged and landing with my foot right under my body (a run form change I've needed to make for years but never had such incentive- or direct/immediate feedback- about it before). Anyway, seemed like the 2+ miles was mostly ok but the rest of the day my iliac crest has been a bit sore (feels bruised) which is a bummer. I don't think I did any real damage to it but I won't jog again tomorrow. My understanding at this point is that iliopsoas attaches at the point where it's sore so could be some sort of muscle strain or maybe a tendonitis of sorts in that area. Regardless, Maia was quite happy to run and spent the rest of the day knocked out on the couch.
Later in the afternoon I shut down the work and went riding. Road bike, no garmin. I know the distance of the route I rode today (32 miles) and after watching HR/power the last 2 days I just felt like I wanted to ride as I felt with no data feedback. My legs felt fatigued/heavy for the first maybe 30min then after that felt pretty good. I didn't push any of it today- just rode and let my brain wander a bit and it was great. I got to thinking about how I don't mind riding easy... and about how when I ride without data I tend to ride easier than when I ride with data. But when I run (when I'm not injured anyway) I tend to need to have HR as a leash to make myself hold back b/c otherwise I go too hard without the data. So, same athlete but opposite problem between bike vs run. Like when I want to bike easy I need to go no garmin, but when I want to run easy I need to use the garmin as a leash. I think it comes down to confidence. Some of the strongest/fastest athletes I've coached over the years are really good about running super easy. I think it's that they don't mind going slow b/c they KNOW that at any point if they decided they wanted to run faster, they could. I think I feel that way about swim and bike, so I don't mind going easy when it's time. But with running I have less confidence, so I'm constantly 'testing' myself and wanting to prove to myself that I'm not a shitty runner... so I kid myself on 'easy' days... always going faster/harder than what is actually 'easy'. I don't like running slow b/c somehow it confirms that I'm a shitty runner. I'd venture a guess that if I had more confidence that I could knock out running at 7min pace whenever I wanted that I'd have less 'fear' of running 10min pace. That's a trait I see in some of the faster athletes I coach. Anyway. These are the things I was considering while riding today.

I guess the moral of the story would be that if you KNOW yourself as an athlete, you can use data to your advantage... Depending on your tendencies and your confidence level and the goal of the session, maybe you use the data or maybe you don't. For me, I need data on key bike sessions to make sure I'm not sand-bagging. No data on easy rides b/c I'm likely to decide mid-session to push too hard trying to get speed or HR or power up higher. (Same with swim> easy swim = don't time anything and I'm good going easy!) When running, I need a HR leash in order to keep it truly easy. Without that leash all my 'easy' runs actually end up being moderate or hard. But I'm completely capable of running hard without data- just making it feel HARD I don't need to see numbers for that. Some athletes do! Which are you?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Filling The Holes

As soon as I got in the water this morning I knew I felt great. It's actually uncommon for me to feel that good right from the first 100, but I did, so I went with it. I always time my 1000 w/u just to see what it is. When I'm swimming well it tends to be in the 15:45 range and when I'm tired it can be as slow as 16:30. Today I checked my watch at the 500 and saw 7:42 (what?) so that was confirmation that I wasn't imagining that I indeed felt fast today. 7:30 on the nose next 500 put me in at 15:12 and I don't think I've done a 1000 like that in years. Like at least 3 years. So that was fun!

Lectie was there this morning which was awesome b/c it gave me someone to chase on some fast 50's off :50 (my favorite, ha!). We went 6x50's all fast off 50" followed by an easy 100 recovery. Originally I thought maybe we'd do 5 rounds of that but after the first round I was like how about we just do 4? I swear, swimming fast on short rest is just so much harder for me than swimming steady. It's that hole in my swim fitness I was talking about yesterday. I mean, you figure I was warming up at 45-46"/50 continuously and feeling fine/good... but bring that down just a few seconds to 39-41" and I feel like I'm just gonna blow (or throw?) up! After the 3rd round between the huffing and puffing I told Lectie I felt like a rag doll, and that was true. It's just a different energy system that got worked today. To be honest, this kind of work isn't something (in my opinion) that needs to be done that often... do mostly long steady base type work then sometimes blast yourself with hard as you can go fast short intervals and it gives your swim a bit of a pop. Prob better reserved for closer to a big race day than some random day in early March... but then again I thought maybe a bit of a boost to swim speed would help with the longer/steady stuff when I go back to it, so we'll see if I'm right about that.

I cooled down with a straight 1000 w/ pads super relaxed and called it good. 3600M.

Maia was stoked when I got home and put her harness on her instead of the collar. She knows what that means... we are running! She was pretty bummed/confused I think though when we turned around 1/2 mile in at the end of the street vs heading up for our normal loop... So we only went ~1 mile today but I did jog the bulk of it (super easy/light). We stopped a few times for cat sniffing and peeing (her not me) and while my hip didn't feel perfect, I wouldn't say it was painful. I came home and did my hip openers and core work (prob should have done that first), spent a bunch of time answering emails, then got ready to ride.

I'm so wimpy but yikes it felt chilly to me today! Because of that I chose a real bike kit to ride in vs my standard Coeur Sports try kit that I tend to train in most often. That was a mistake! I tell you I am so spoiled by my Coeur tri shorts because they don't have seams. The Squadra shorts I wore today were simply not ok! I spent much of the ride shifting around in my saddle and wishing I was wearing one of my better pairs of shorts.

Goal today was to not use the same energy system I used in the pool... instead just steady aerobic riding for an extended period of time was what I was looking for. I rode by HR while watching power... just tried to keep HR 140's for the most part and I did that. Max HR was 152 today so no big efforts at all. Avg HR143, avg power 153w for 3+ hours, so pretty standard aerobic ride. One of my goals was to find a few CO2 cartridges that Kelly left here when she was here for camp (since she was not allowed to fly home with them). She left them ~30 miles from my house... Her directions were good and I did indeed locate them behind a bush at a bus stop on the north shore. :)
I haven't been riding long very much recently and I felt like I ran out of fitness somewhere around 50 miles. I'm sure a few Girl Scout cookies would have helped by I didn't have any of those with me (grrrr). Power was falling for sure there in the last 30min or so but whatever. I think I got the benefit that I wanted out of the session and it highlighted another hole in my fitness that I need to fill (long ride endurance/strength). Finishing this ride today I had the thought that I wanted to ride 60 miles or so 2x/week. I bet if I manage to do that my long ride fitness will come right back. It's really just about making myself do it.

Should I admit that I took a hot bath after that ride b/c I was so cold? It's true. I think it was "only" ~75 degrees today, no sun, north wind. Brrrrrr! It's insane how wimpy I am. I mean seriously.

Anyway. I'm tired now! That was a long training day. Feet up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Ups And Downs

Yesterday I ended up swimming alone b/c Mark threw a rib out and couldn't effectively take a swim stroke. Getting old sucks. Main set was:

300 steady @5:00; 2x50's fast @:50
300 steady @5:00; 4x50's fast @:50
300 steady @5:00; 6x50's fast @:50
300 steady @5:00; 8x50's fast @:50

50's @:50 represent a big hole in my swim fitness. I suck at those. And yet, I can do strong 100's off 1:40 no issues at all. I wonder how much of that is psychological? Maybe a lot b/c I hate 50's off :50. Which means I should probably do them more.

I had a fairly stressful day yesterday. Big fight with the husband in the morning then some work related stress stuff the rest of the day. I procrastinated riding until the last possible moment and just as I was about to go it started raining and to be honest I was just at my limit for the day. So I bailed on the streak ride and cleaned the house instead. Weird choice on most days but yesterday I just felt the need to declutter my life and cleaning helped me feel slightly better.

There was a bright spot in my day and that was when I got an email from one of my athletes who told me that after 2 years of "being a gem" and patiently dealing with all of her training and racing related stuff, I deserved a raise. What? I mean, Wow! The timing of her email was simply perfect too (she wouldn't have known that) but it was like a beacon of hope for me on day when I really needed that. It was really nice to feel appreciated.

Anyway today was a new day and I got back in the saddle (literally). Was planning a longish ride b/c I had the time but after ~40min I could see that up ahead it was pissing rain and apparently I'm a fair weather rider these days (we have been so spoiled with perfect days I've gotten quite soft in this department!) so I turned around and head back to a hill I know (where it was dry!) and opted to do some big gear hill reps instead of the long steady ride. I was quite pleased with my power throughout the ride- 5x Mile long hill efforts were solid but not digging at 210-230w and my HR/power ratio continues to improve- on flat sections I was moving along at 165-175w and it felt not a bit harder than steady (HR 148-152). Those Girl Scout cookies I ate yesterday must have been magic. I got ~40 miles in for the day and I felt stronger than I have since October so quite happy with that. If it's not raining tomorrow maybe I'll go for the longer ride I was going to do today. I still believe those steady aerobic rides are the bread and butter (which, regardless of what some athletes might think, is not the devil) of a solid endurance training plan.

I'll finish this post with another bright spot- and this one is BIG. This afternoon while walking Maia I attempted a few jogging steps, just to see... and it didn't hurt!! First time in at least a month I didn't feel pain. I wouldn't say my hip feels perfect so I didn't want to push it, but I did 6x30 very gentle jogging steps (how's that for a conservative start back?!?) throughout the walk but left it at that. I've been doing this Happy Hip Sequence routine that focuses on hip extension and internal rotation and I think that has really helped. I've successfully managed to loosen up all the surrounding muscles in quads and glutes, and I've started back with some targeted core work. Combine all that with about a month off running and it seems that might have been the recipe for healing. Not sure what I'll do tomorrow but maybe a walk/jog of sorts with Maia. Fingers crossed!