Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday Tempo

I had a look back at my race week training from 2011 which was the year I had the best race at Honu... For the most part I'm copying that week again this year, though with a few tweaks here and there. It won't work the same of course because my training the last few months has not been the same (even if it was the same it wouldn't all come together the same- it never does!), but what I noticed about that week was that it was overall both shorter and easier than I would normally train in a race week. That year I did a 50min run that included a 20min tempo on the Tuesday. I was going to do that today but then last minute decided instead to do a session I often give to my athletes that goes 10' tempo; 6x1' strong on 1' easy; 10' tempo again. I got that one from Lauren Fleshman when she was publishing her WOW (workout of the week) last year (or the year before?). It's similar enough to the 20 min tempo and I felt comfortable with it. My thought was that if I did the 20min tempo I'd likely run the same route as I did that 5 mile neg split last week and inevitably end up racing myself and prob working too hard... so this session- done by time- splits it up in a way that allowed me to get the work done without judgement b/c I went by time and effort not by pace or miles. Just a little tweak that I think made it work better for me given how my brain currently functions. I could have done that with the straight 20' tempo I know, but I wouldn't have. I would have raced myself. Anyway, long story short, it was a decent run. I wrote it up in my log and described it as 'good enough'.

Monday, May 30, 2016


It seems like it's been forever since it's been RACE WEEK for me... I'm excited, but I do feel like there are 100 things I need to take care of in the next few days before we hop islands.

Honu is always the Saturday after Memorial Day so race week Monday morning swim is always in the ocean (pools are closed for the holiday). In years past we typically have done a really big group Mokes swim but recently they've banned parking out in Lanikai which makes the Mokes swim a logistical PITA (can still do it but just have to make it a run>swim>run or something so you're not leaving a car at the start...) Anyway, Nalani and I opted to avoid the chaos this morning and just did our standard Kalama>Buoy chain swim, which might have felt rather ho-hum had it not been for the all-time conditions out there... There really was NO wind this morning so it was glassy water... warm and clear and just so so so nice and pleasant. And swimming right next to Nalani the whole way out/back was just perfect. It's amazing too how much quicker one can swim when there's not much chop or current. ~21:30 each way today (vs 27min the last two weeks in that chop/current!) and it just felt like swimming vs fighting some sort of war. I think swimming most often in big chop makes me really appreciate it when it's nice and calm and easy like it was today!

Holiday usually means beach day but it was pissing rain off/on all day so we stayed close to home and got caught up on stuff. I finally made all my lists and started packing for Honu. I'm mostly done with that already which might be an early bird record for me. Just need to ride my bike one more time before I break it down and pack it. I also wrote out my race plan in full detail, which functioned to make me a bit nervous but now that it's done I feel like I've got my shit together which is a good feeling. Plus, I got to have this fun text conversation with Nalani while I was writing it... :)
 I considered for a minute posting my whole detailed plan here but then thought no I'll keep that one closer to my heart. Essentially this is it though...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Run

Summer seems to really be upon us now (ahem, it's hot!)... I probably should have gone running as soon as I got up but instead I procrastinated and didn't get out the door until ~9AM. I knew it was going to be a hot one so I actually drove 3/4 mile down the hill and started my run from the pool. My goal for the run was just to get some aerobic volume in and I knew from past experience that running up that last hill to my house at the end of a longish run when it's super hot is simply not going to be an aerobic effort...

Anyway, I ran 10 miles and for the most part I'd call it easy. I was never pushing the pace but the last 2 miles were still a bit uphill (2 miles uphill is not as hard as 3 miles uphill!) and it was quite hot by then so just being out there running in that was an effort. I feel pretty good about the discipline I showed though while running this weekend. I felt like I ran pretty hard mid-week and I really wanted to balance those efforts with aerobic volume so even though there was a part of me that wanted to run faster this weekend, it seemed more prudent to keep the effort relaxed. I did that which I think is good. I admit though that at times my mind would wander and I would think about racing next weekend and automatically start to go faster and I had to reign myself in...

I stole this picture from my friend Heidi. She was out enjoying the water this morning, but this is the coastline I ran this morning. Windward Oahu is stunning! I live at the base of one of those mountains, about 2 miles inland. #LuckyWeLiveHawaii

Saturday, May 28, 2016

On Burping & Being Bloated

I feel like I learned an interesting lesson today...

20+ years in triathlon and for at least 17 of those I really didn't pay a ton of attention to what I was eating/drinking during training racing. It was just like well as long as I was eating and drinking enough, it didn't really matter what the actual product was... I felt like I could eat/drink just about anything #ironstomach and get away with it. I don't often have any GI issues. My hypothesis on that is that I grew up as a swimmer and we ate and ate and ate because we swam so much and we were hungry all the time so I don't know it's like my gut is trained to eat whatever and be fine with it.

Anyway, a few years ago I started to learn more about actual hydration and I switched over to Osmo... partly b/c the Coeur team was sponsored by them so I could get it for free/cheap... but then I realized like no shit this stuff actually works better and I feel better when I drink it... Stacy Sims taught me a lot about hydration and what our bodies need and how we absorb fluids and Osmo just makes sense so I have used it pretty much exclusively for the last 2 years. Unfortunately Osmo has gone out of business. Gah! I got a huge shipment of it before they did so I still have some that I am guarding with my life but I'm also aware that at some point my stash is going to run out and when it does I'm going to need a suitable alternative.

I received some samples of a product that was new to me and today I decided to try it with an open mind and see how it went. This drink is more of your standard energy drink I guess... I was slightly nervous about the fact that it had a fairly significant amount of sugar, but then remembered that I used to drink all my calories when training/racing so maybe I could go back to that method and be ok? The sugars in this drink were maltodextrin, dextrose and fructose, which worried me a bit just b/c of what Stacy taught us about how maltodextrin and fructose are absorbed (or not) but again #ironstomach I figured I'd be fine. I mixed up 2x bottles with 2x scoops each as the directions suggested. They tasted sticky sweet and salty to me but maybe I could get used to that again...

Anyway, long story short, I did a brick today as 2.5 hour ride with some race efforts (3x10min; 5x7min) followed by 4 mile relaxed/aerobic run. After drinking that first bottle at full strength, I stopped and drank a bottle of plain water (it was so salty it made me thirsty!) and then split the other bottle in 2 by watering it down b/c it was just too much for me, and I thought if it was less concentrated maybe it would be absorbed better? The good part was that I didn't feel like I needed to eat very much at all b/c I was drinking my calories, but the bad part was that throughout my whole run off the bike I was burping up that product and I was getting more and more bloated. My fingers were like fat sausages by the time I finished! Anyway, fair to say my body did NOT absorb the fluids in the way I want it to (or the way it does when I drink Osmo). Turns out, the products we use when training/racing actually do matter and make a difference. Now I look back and wonder how the hell I functioned racing for like 17 years drinking whatever random drink mix I had? I did spend a lot of time being bloated I guess, and thinking that was just part of the sport.

So, back to the drawing board for me! I'll be looking to replace my beloved Osmo with a product more along the same lines (focused on actual hydration)... Not with one that tries to cram everything we might need into one "simple" bottle... Today was a good reminder though... Don't try anything new on race day! I'm SO glad I tried that stuff today vs next Saturday!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Down Day

Pretty easy day today. My legs are actually sort of tight/sore! I def felt like after yesterday I needed a lighter day, plus Moana is out of school now and her summer program thing at the Y doesn't start for a few more days so I didn't have the flexible schedule I normally have.

Swam in the pool this morning. Super relaxed 1000 w/u. I keep setting new records for how slowly I can warm up these days (an even split 17' this morning!!). We did 8x100's @1:45 where 1x25 of each was fast and that 25 changed through the set (#1 first 25 fast, #2 second 25 fast, #3 third 25 fast, etc). Solid pace change there without requiring too much effort/energy. Then I finished up with 4x300's pull @5:00 where I again worked a bit of pace change... basically increasing the amount of strong effort swimming by 75m each time so it went 75 fast/225 easy; 150 fast/150 easy; 225 fast/75 easy; 300 all fast. It wasn't really all that fast today though even at the end... Last one was 4:24 so only 1:28 pace. Roomy intervals all morning too so there was always tons of rest, which I think I needed today. I was just missing a bit of GRRRRR which I'm not really concerned about. It happens. Early to bed tonight.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Double Run Thursday

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tantalus Tuesday

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Back On The Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Educating The Ignorant

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

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

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Turning It Around

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 16, 2016


Last night while putting Moana to bed, I told her, "I'm super proud of you!" Her reply, "I'm super proud of me too!" Yes! Triathlon as a vehicle to improved self-confidence. Gotta love that.

Can't say this mornings swim was a confidence builder though. Ha! It was as ugly as I anticipated it would be. My shoulders just felt like bricks. 1000 w/u was as slow as it's been in a long time, but at least it felt slow which I think is better than feeling strong but actually being slow. I seriously considered bailing on the swim 500m into it (true story) but I continued on. Nalani and Mark took pity on me I think and didn't make fun too much, and they even swam sort of slow with me for the whole main set. Ok well truth be told, Mark used bands while Nalani and I used paddles. (He still beat us to every wall.) I decided I wanted to do something where I wouldn't really know my splits too well, so opted for a main set that went 2 rounds:

3x250's steady @4:20
5x50's stronger @1:00

Mark got bored with so much rest so he requested the last 5x50's to go off 50" and I obliged and it was fine. I do think today was one of those days where I would have gotten out early had I not had training partners, so thankful for them!

Later in the afternoon I went for one of my "Just Ride" rides. Road bike, no garmin. Felt like garbage to start but then that went away and I felt fine. Didn't push any big efforts but all just as I felt. Actually rather enjoyed it, as it should be, I think.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Honolulu Triathlon 2016

Well I finally raced this year! I forgot how uncomfortable triathlons are... Texting with Nalani though after the race, I told her that as cliche as it sounds, I really was just genuinely happy to be out there today. Maybe that's a benefit of not racing a lot... It felt like a treat to have the opportunity to do it today and I felt grateful to be healthy, that I live in a gorgeous place, and just that I am capable of doing this... Regardless of the results I was just happy to be racing again. :) #oksappypartover

Like last year, women 40+ went off in wave 6, behind about 1500 athletes who had started in 3min intervals ahead of us. I was mentally prepared this year to encounter a ton of people and play Frogger dodging everyone. Horn went off and I ran to the water and swam hard to start and no one came with me so I just swam alone the whole time and for the most part managed to avoid getting kicked in the head by people doing breast-stroke ahead of me. While I was swimming I felt happy, strong, and in control. I glanced at my watch as I crossed the timing mat and was pleasantly satisfied to see 22-something.

T1 was super simple... speed suit off, helmet on and I was running with my bike to the mount line. I put my feet in my shoes while I was riding and it all went so smoothly... no one would have guessed  hadn't done that in 7 months!

This was actually the first time I'd ever raced a triathlon while watching power. I can't say I had any particular goal in mind other than really just to see what felt right and then see if I could hold it. Last year I remember thinking that I was riding well because I was passing a ton of people, but passing people doesn't necessarily mean you're riding FAST... just means you're riding faster than they are... but not necessarily a good benchmark. This year I would guess I passed as many people as last year (maybe more?) but I wasn't focused on them at all... just kept glancing at my 30" avg power which really helped to keep me honest. For the most part I was pushing 200-210w... rarely would spike above that but did a few times trying to pass a guy here or there. I think the highest I saw it was 250 but that was brief. Toward the end power was dropping some down into the 180s but overall it was a solid ride. They changed the course b/c of some road construction so we did 4x180 degree turns. It was fine though. Roads were smooth and flat and there was no wind... really no obstacles at all on this course other than the other riders and those 180 degree turns. I didn't know how long it would be but for sure it was shorter than 40k because I did it in ~57min. Someone said it was 2 miles short? Anyway, I do like racing with power and will definitely use it at Honu this year.

During the ride I felt focused. And there were several moments where I found myself feeling grateful to be out there. And grateful that everything was going so smoothly!

T2 was about as eventful as T1. In and out. Onto the run though yikes right away I was like who's legs are these?? Maybe this is where not racing much comes into play? My legs felt like bricks and like I was wasn't moving very efficiently. I've had some glimpses of what I would consider to be decent running in training recently but what I did out there on that 10k today was not that. It was weird like I was working about as hard as I could, breathing was labored and had I been wearing a HR monitor it would have said 170+ I'm sure... but it felt like a regression back to my old running form I think where I just sink into the ground with every step and moving forward was so labored. I felt frustrated by that like this is not what good running feels like but in the moment I felt unable to fix it. What was interesting though was that I didn't get all down on myself and mentally berate myself for the shitty run. This is a huge breakthrough I think because typically in the past when I've been running like an elephant I get super pissy and throw in the towel just giving up on myself and decide that I suck. Today I didn't do that though... It was like I know in my heart that I do not suck! Ok so I was having a bad run but that was not equivalent to me being a bad person. I think they call this athletic maturity. :) I did start to feel slightly better in the 2nd half of the run and even though I wasn't exactly loving life in that moment, I smiled. It was a genuine smile!

Anyway, I ran ~53min and finished in 2:17 which put me 6th OA and 1st 40-44. Honolulu Tri doesn't give age group awards though so as soon as I finished the focus became getting Moana ready for her race!

I posted a ton of pics on Facebook (and I can only assume that most people who read my blog are FB friends??) so you've prob seen them all... but wow it was really fun for me to get her ready for that and I loved it that she smiled the whole time. Kids races like this that are very achievable are quite confidence boosting for kids. It was a perfect intro to triathlon for her today...
Maybe I should take running lessons from her? Look at that hamstring engagement!! I don't think my hamstrings do that...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Practicing Triathlon

My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning and BLAH I did NOT feel like getting out of bed. But then I opened my eyes and glanced out the window and saw this stunning sunrise and that got me moving.
Off to the ocean I went... Swam with Mark and Nalani. Winds were down today so the ocean was calm and glassy. We swam ~45min steady effort and it was just really nice. Nothing else really to report about that. It was just a nice swim in the morning with my friends and I didn't micromanage anything just enjoyed being in the ocean. There isn't really a nicer way to start a Friday morning.

Late afternoon Moana and I drove to town to pick up my race packet for this weekend. Honolulu Triathlon is Sunday and I'm doing it, again, as is the norm pretty much every year. It's not my favorite race ever but it's the only opportunity we have at a real Olympic distance race (every other local race its the swim short) and since I haven't raced a triathlon since last October, I think it'll be good to get out there in a low pressure situation and make myself suffer a bit. This year I think it will be extra special though because after I'm done, Moana is going to do the keiki race! her very first triathlon!

I wasn't sure if she would want to do it, so I took her with me this afternoon and we brought her swim/bike stuff and figured we would practice a bit and then she could decide if she wanted to do it. I promised her that I loved her regardless of whether or not she decided to race, but I encouraged her and told her that I thought she would have fun if she decided to give it a go! She is nervous about the swim, and maybe rightfully so as she is not a strong swimmer at this point. It's only 50M though and most of it is shallow enough where she can touch.
We practiced swimming swimming face down in the open water, running beach starts, and dolphin diving. Her confidence definitely grew as she was out there!

Then we transitioned to the bike. This took at least 10 minutes. We will practice this again tomorrow!!

Once she was on the bike though she was having a blast! Zipping around the beach park path zoom zoom zoom happy as a clam! She was like THIS is my favorite part!! I was thinking just wait until we put more air in those tires! She'll be flying! Right away she was like YES I'm in! Enter me in the race, mom.
We didn't practice the run today. She did the "IronKids" run at IMLouisville last year... It was less than a mile but she enjoyed it a lot. The run on Sunday is 1K so she will be fine.

I'm genuinely excited for her! More than for myself. Funny how that works. #parenting

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Fatigue I Like

Fatigue showed up during yesterday morning's swim. Turns out, Monday's 46x100's bands only took a toll on my triceps and lats. Which meant the Wednesday swim wasn't so pretty. W/u was way slower than it felt- 16:40 felt like 16 flat. Main set we did some fast 50's... "fast" is relative, as always. 1800M main set as: 3 rounds of 8x50's all fast @:50 followed by a 200 easy. What I found interesting is that usually the reason I hate 50's is because my HR goes so high and I end up panting breathing, but yesterday my fatigue level was so high that I couldn't go hard enough to get my HR up or breathe hard. Interestingly though, I didn't really slow down through the set- always sort of stayed pretty close to Mark's feet and while I didn't micro-manage every split, for the most part I was 40-42" which isn't my fastest but isn't as bad as I expected. And I never felt miserable. Finished with another 1K pull so slow and tired though yikes like 16:06. Enough of that.

I added it up in my head and turns out I'd put in ~23 hours of training in the 7 days since entering Vineman (Thurs>Wed), so, no wonder I was tired! Doh! I didn't try to train anymore after that swim yesterday. Just stayed home and worked instead.

To be honest, I rather like this state of fatigue I am in. I like it better than being unfit anyway when I can't even go out and jog easy while keeping my HR low. I feel like when my HR is low and controlled that I have the freedom to do just about any training session I want... vs when HR is not controlled, hard sessions tend to really hurt me. I coach athletes who have heart rates that vary across the board- some always just naturally quite low (these athletes tend to excel at Ironman!), some who can have it under control with 10-15 hours/week of consistent training, and a few who never really seem to get it under control. In *most* cases I think in that last case, they just don't train enough to do so (not all cases though! Sometimes there are underlying factors with life stress or whatever...). For me I think it takes ~20 hours/week of consistent (mostly aerobic) training to get to the place I am now. And while I don't have much pep in this state, I do end up feeling like a machine and that's a preferable place to be I think. At least if your goals involve long distance racing.

I finally got a new HR monitor that works so I used that this morning on my run. Not surprisingly HR was 5-8 beats lower than 'normal' through most of that run. I finally felt like I'd earned the right to do some interval type work so I jogged a couple miles over to a good hill and did a standard set of 8x1min hard up with 90" walk/jog recovery on the way down. HR maxed out at 161 which is def lower than I would have expected given the effort, but I felt good enough on those so no issue. Several hours later I went out and ran 5 more miles, progression run this time. 2.5 miles down at ~9:15 pace then 2.5 miles back up at ~8:45 pace. The effort was both easier and harder than those splits would indicate because of the nature of the route. HR was low 140's all the way out and upper 150's coming back, until the last steep hill where I pushed and got it up to 168.

Anyway, that double run day with hill reps in the morning followed by progression run in the afternoon was one my old coach used to give me often in 2013. I rather like it because I think the hard morning effort actually helps me feel better later in the day when I run again. And, I got 11 miles in for the day with a bit of quality so I'll take that!

Found another random flower growing in my yard today. This one is out near the mailbox. Nature is amazing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bricks For Legs

Blogging less doesn't mean I've been training less! In fact it's the opposite... As I started my ride today my legs felt like BRICKS and I was like well duh I've ridden 5 of the last 6 days... and the day I didn't ride I ran 15 miles... so... That's why it was ugly today. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I meant to write about a fun day training with Heidi yesterday. It was her birthday and she took the day off work and wanted to train all day... so ok I'm a good coach like that I'll join her! We started with a 46 mile ride to Laie Point.
Then Heidi had never run in the Botanical Gardens (what??) so we drove over to the gate so we could run 4.6 miles in the gardens. Tons of pigs out- seriously we saw at least 12 pigs... This one was with a group of ~9 including 5 keiki and he came right toward us while the others walked away... Clearly the man of the family doing his job protecting his clan. You can see a few of his family members in the background...
We ran an extra tenth of a mile bc Heidi wanted to get the famous shot... so I ran ahead and we pretended she was an Athleta model for a minute. It was a fun run!
Then we went to the pool where we finished up with 46x100's. I did them all bands only because #birthdayswim and then later was plastered to the couch like OMG I'M TIRED. I have to say though, it's easier to do those when I'm not drunk.

I figured I'd be too tired to do a quality Tantalus Tuesday session but there wasn't really another place to put that key brick this week... and I missed it last week b/c of the car fiasco and next week doesn't work for it either... so I sucked it up and decided to go give it a shot today. First pedal stroke (yikes!) I knew it was not going to be a PR up the hill kind of day... I debated with myself for a bit on the worth of slogging through a longish brick on that mountain given the state of my legs but in the end decided that I'm training for an Ironman so pushing through sessions when I don't feel like riding anymore is kind of a key part of that... So my mindset became this... You've done a lot of work to get to this fatigued state so this session is a durability session just get it done and you can rest tomorrow...

So that's what I did. I still climbed the mountain 3x but didn't time any of them and if I had to guess I'd say my HR never went above 150 (it's likely suppressed right now anyway). I don't think it was a waste of time because sub-max training, if I do enough of it, has really helped me get strong in the past... Or maybe that's just how I justified my half ass effort today. I did "try" when I started the third trip up but that lasted about 30 seconds before I was like nope this is stupid and I went right back to my sub-max effort.

I got off the bike and ran my standard 2 miles up/down and I did time that b/c I was just curious. Running I felt 100x better than I did riding (go figure?). I jogged up easy 22:36 (about the same as the last 2x) and then turned around and damn all of a sudden I felt awesome?? 2 miles down in 13:45 weeeeeeee! I didn't even feel like I was pushing- just floating. It's interesting to me that I've been doing this run consistently (4 of the last 5 weeks now) and my uphill running isn't getting much faster but it's getting easier. Downhill running has gotten a ton faster though. I do think that is closely related to hip function and an increased ability to extend my hips. Plus I think it's making my quads bombproof.

Anyway, check out this orchid. I think the previous owners of this house must have planted some because they randomly pop up every once in a while in our front yard.  Stunning flowers.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Computrainer Virgin

I don't own a bike trainer. I have rollers and have used those off/on over the last few years but mostly just for skill/balance/cadence work, not real 'training'. I'd been thinking though that I wanted to experience a Computrainer, mostly b/c many of my athletes have them and use them regularly, so I felt like if I had my own experience with it I'd have a better grasp as to how they might manage when using them. It was another wet/soggy day today so I thought it would be a good day to try it out in my friend Nalani's garage.

It took a while to get set up and Nalani helped me do it... warming up and calibrating it. We didn't get it exactly at 2 but got 2.1 a few times and called it close enough. To be honest I don't even know what that means but just throwing that out there in case some of you do?

Nalani worked her way through the settings and eventually the Honu course came up, which was pretty cool. I think the main reason I liked that was because I have ridden the actual course a bunch of times so could envision the different spots based on the inclines/declines.

I was mostly curious about how the wattage would read on the CT vs what I know about power from the road. I pay really close attention to power most of the time (when I'm riding with it) and I feel like I have a decent grasp on what different wattage levels feel like. What I felt from today was that on the flats and descents the power was pretty much what I would have expected for effort (maybe a hair low?), but on the hills it was way low. Like 40-50watts low? I mean there was no way I was climbing out of Kawaihai at 130watts... That's a steep climb! And I didn't have a way to hit lap and see lap avg for different sections of the course. I think on the road, lap avg keeps me mentally engaged in a way that overall avg does not, so after like 2 hours today I was over it and wanting off. But either I was riding slow or the calibration of 2.1 vs 2.0 made the ride longer than it should have been but gah in that last hour all I wanted was to stop dripping with sweat. I'm not exaggerating when I say I kept saturating my towel and every 20min had to sit up and wring it out. It was flat out disgusting.
My thought today was that I'm not sure I'd be a triathlete if I was forced (for whatever reason) to do the bulk of my riding on a trainer. I can see the allure of it for sure (can watch Netflix, is safer, can get a good solid efficient workout in, etc) BUT it removes the joy I feel when riding my bike outside. There wasn't a lot of joy today. It was just a training session. I'm not in a mode this year where I'm sacrificing joy for training purposes. So while I appreciate the experience, tomorrow I'll go back out on the road. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Answering Some Questions...

For the last few months my Training Peaks calendar has included this...
I really didn't know if it was a good idea. My questions/concerns were Did I really want to do another Ironman? Would my hip allow me to train for one? Would Scott be okay with it? Would it still be open to enter by the time I could answer these questions?

Anyway, the answer to all the questions turned out to be YES... So I entered the race today. It seriously pumped me up to do so! I texted a few of my athletes (and my mom!) and told them then headed out on a longish bike ride. Nice sunny day... 73 miles later I got home still feeling good... and I had time before I needed to go get Moana so I tacked on a 3+ mile run and again felt super! Woot! Let the Ironman training begin...

I feel genuinely excited to train for Vineman right now. I've only got less than 12 weeks so it won't be a super long build but I think I can get my fitness to where I want it to be in that time frame. I don't have it all mapped out yet, and I suspect even if I do map it all out it'll still end up being quite fluid (as much of my training has gone the last few months)... but I have enough motivation that even just winging it I think will end up being ok. What I know for sure is that I liked being out there riding my bike and running today. That's an essential first start. I always wonder why athletes sign up for an Ironman if they don't really love riding their bikes? I mean, there's a lot of bike riding involved in training for an Ironman. I mean, a lot!

Anyway, I'll leave you with this fun shot. Maia was super interested in Moana's swim team practice today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Prime Movers (Comparing Swimming to Running)

I drank 3 shots of espresso this morning... because Wednesday. Jogging down to the pool I was trying to decide on the main set I wanted to do today... something long and strong, I thought. After a super easy warm up I told my friends, "5x500 @8:00, descend 1-5." Boom. Let's do it.

Nalani and I used paddles while Mark and Lectie swam. Lectie only had time for 3 which I thought was perfect b/c Mark would kill himself trying to keep up with Lectie then she would get out and he would be trashed and by then I would be swimming faster and I would try to make Mark suffer on the last 2! #gameplan

#1 was 7:29 which was faster than it felt. That's typically a good sign. Lectie and Mark were way ahead.
#2 was 7:23, again faster than it felt and I kind of thought crap I still have 3 to go I hope I didn't just screw myself!! Lectie and Mark didn't get any closer.
#3 was 7:14 OMG how am I going to do 2 more faster than that?? I decided #4 would have to just feel fast and #5 was going to be a nausea inducing effort. Lectie got out after racing Mark on this one.
#4 was 7:11 and the nausea was already setting in (uh-oh). Mark swam mostly beside me the whole time and he noted that we were getting faster.
#5 was 7:05 and I honestly thought I was going to be sick. I beat Mark to the wall by maybe a body length and it took a minute before I could speak.

So. Solid set! I was trying to think of something of value I could write on this blog other than just blabbing about the main set and how it went down. I was thinking about that blog post yesterday and how I mentioned those runner girls and how I felt when I find myself working so hard and they just float right by me with seemingly so little effort... I guess my situation in the pool is pretty much the opposite of that... where I'm often the one gliding by. Why is that? Here's my thinking... Just like efficient runners, efficient swimmers are powered by the prime movers. Except instead of it being glutes, it's lats.

How's this for some bulging lats??

When I teach swim lessons in person I find myself constantly trying to figure out how to cue athletes to use their lats. It's not an easy thing to learn, but it's the difference between how efficient swimmers power themselves through the water vs how 'normal' people try to do it. I suppose just like the example I used about trying to fire up my glutes in the kitchen, athletes should try to fire up their lats on land before they're going to be able to do it in the water. Stretch cords are likely the best option for this because you can play with them pretty easily and cue yourself in different positions figuring out which is the best way for you to get those lats working. This guy does a decent job of explaining what I'm trying to say!

Of course there are other pieces to it but when thinking about what I changed today from my first 500 to the last, it wasn't really turn-over (well maybe a little turn-over increase) but the difference was mostly about the amount of tension I was holding via my lats. This is likely where the concept of distance per stroke comes from, because if my cadence stayed about the same but I was swimming 5"/100 faster, then the distance I was moving with every stroke must have been getting further. The confusion with DPS comes when swimmers sacrifice cadence to achieve it. Again the parallel with running here is between cadence and stride length. Ideally you're always running with a high cadence, but when you're running fast you're increasing your stride length. How to do that? Use your glutes to extend your leg out further behind you. Maybe every once in a while you see runners bounding as a drill but you never see runners actually trying to run fast by slowing their cadence way down and extending their stride length. It's not effective. And it requires a ton of energy! Same with swimming... to swim fast you need to keep your cadence up but at the same time use your lats to extend your reach and the amount of tension you're holding on the water.

Not sure if that makes sense, but there's absolutely a parallel there if you think in terms of prime movers (glutes for running and lats for swimming). When efficient runners run, the way their glutes work allows them to just spring right off their rear foot from one step to the next... vs quad dominant runners who have their butts in buckets have to work exceptionally hard to overcome gravity to get to that next step. So it's actually exponentially 'easier' to run when you're efficiently using your glutes! Same with swimming. If you're not using your lats as prime movers, you're likely not moving quickly enough through the water to overcome drag and then you lose momentum between strokes... It's WAY harder to swim because you're restarting your forward movement with every stroke vs continually gliding the way an efficient swimmer does. You still need an enormous amount of swim specific fitness, but when you combine that fitness with effective use of prime movers, you're really on your way to moving fast, regardless of the sport!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On How I'm Attempting To Fix My Running Form

I packed up all my crap for my Tantalus brick today (including lunch- no easy task!) then got in my car, backed out of my driveway, attempted to shift into drive and... nothing. Did you know the shifter cable on your car can break? I didn't. But it can! So off my car went to the Nissan dealership... and my whole morning went with it. Blah.
So. No Tantalus brick today, which sort of bummed me out. I was trying to figure out how to salvage my day. Might have been a blessing in disguise to stay off the mountain today because it was raining... and my favorite thing to do in the rain is to run in the botanical gardens. So that's what I opted to do. I felt good enough to give myself a solid thrashing today so I went out with the intention of running strong. And I did! I hadn't actually run back there since early January- that was a good solid run, but today was even better! Which got me thinking...

Back in the fall I was running 50-60 miles/week. Now I'm running ~1/2 of that. So how is it possible that I'm running faster? I have my theories! Let's see if I can type them out in a coherent way...

I've often thought that my lack of run speed can't be a fitness thing. I mean, shoot, I've been running consistently for years and I run a ton more than lots of gals who can run faster than me. So the obvious answer there would seem to be to do more 'speed work'... but when I do speed work inevitably I end up injured (as do many athletes!). And I just haven't often seen great success in long distance racing when (most) athletes focus on speed work on the run. So there had to be something else.

I figured it had to do with efficiency of movement. So many times in races I've found myself working HARD and getting passed by gals who just floated by... GAH! So there's all sorts of information out there about run form and efficiency... often focusing on heel striking or whatever. I think heel striking probably isn't ideal but I don't think that's the root of the problem. More like its a symptom. I started really paying attention to the way it looks when real runners run vs when non-runners run (I put myself in the non-runner category). Runners have this beautiful hip extension that non-runners do not have. Bobby McGee has done a lot of explaining about run form and he talks about how some runners look like they are "running with their butt in a bucket". I was definitely doing that. And I also just felt like every time I landed on the ground I would just sink into it... while real runners would land on the ground and spring right up into their next step with seemingly no effort at all. From the sunken position I was in after every step I had to work really hard to push off every time. Something just wasn't right about that.

So you hear all sorts of stuff about how important hip function is in running and how the glutes are the prime movers (or should be). So Glutes play a roll in hip extension because they are the muscle that theoretically should be driving your leg back. So I would stand in my kitchen and drive my leg back but my glute was never doing any of that work. My hamstring was doing it. How was I supposed to get my glute to do it? I really wasn't sure. But I kept experimenting with different things trying to get it to do what it was supposed to do and I figured some things out along the way. Fwiw, I don't have any degrees in this stuff- in fact I learn just about everything I know by following smart people on social media and reading the things they post and I think I'm pretty good (at this point) at filtering out what is spot on vs what is bullshit. Anyway, here's what has been working for me:

~First off, have to get flat hips (Lawrence van Lingen is the PT guy who I follow on Twitter and he harps on this). If pelvis is tilted front or back, glutes just aren't going to be able to do their job. I think mine, like many people's, were tilted forward... which is caused by tight hip flexors and quads which we get from sitting a lot and that can be in a chair or on a bike seat... So ok, to fix that have to first go after the hip flexors and quads. Read that as: Couch Stretch Daily. It took some time and I did some other stretches along the way, but I think I have resolved my pelvis tilt issue. I think until this is resolved nothing else really matters (like the strength stuff you do won't work like it could so don't even bother with the strength stuff until pelvis is flat and neutral). Lawrence constantly says that we should not be applying load to hips that are dysfunctional. I'll go out on a limb and say that my hips were dysfunctional throughout the fall and I was applying load every day in the form of running and eventually they just said Nope! Not gonna take it anymore. So if I wanted to start running again I really was being forced to figure this stuff out.

~I've been writing about all the hip/glute exercises I'm doing so won't go over all of the again here, but really, I've been consistently spending 10-20min/day doing targeted glute and hip strength stuff. I was trying to think if there's one exercise I think is the magic bullet... not sure there is just one? I think a combination of exercises is important, and if you do any research you know there are a TON of them out there, so really, pick like 3-5 that you like (and that you can do properly) and feel like are effective... and do those all the time. I would say that for me the single leg squat might be my #1. That one is tough though b/c to do it correctly you have to have enough flexion in your hips and ankles and many people don't have that... If you don't you'd have to go back to basics and get the flexion in your ankles before really being able to nail single leg squats. Anyway.

Now I can stand in my kitchen and drive my leg back and glutes turn on immediately to make that happen. Woot! Seems like this turns on a whole cascade of events that allows for way more efficient running form. So this is what I was thinking about as I was running today- it wasn't like a conscious effort to change run form, it was just about having functioning glutes, which required flat hips/neutral pelvis. But today I just felt like I was floating and like everything was stable and I wasn't sinking into the ground wth every step but rather springing forward more like the way a real runner would. It was super cool! So I don't expect this to overnight change me into a fast runner but I do have hope that maybe I'll get a bit more bang for my buck in being able to use my run fitness if I'm moving more effectively when I'm running. We'll see I guess. It worked today! This was the fastest I've done my gardens run in ~4 years.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Pretty mellow day today. This morning I walked Moana to the bus stop (with the dog!) then headed over to the park and went through a full glute/hip strength routine. I sort of have 2 different routines I tend to go through but today I did them both. My hip continues to remain the same... Something is still not right in there but the pain is manageable and doesn't seem to escalate so I'm just planning to continue doing what I'm doing and hope it continues to stay the same. For sure I feel like I have better glute activation and function than I did a few months ago, so that feels good.

Maia jogged a few miles with me super easy then we went to our hill for our short hill repeats. She knew the routine of it today and went back and forth with me like the loyal companion she is. Then she came home and passed out.
I didn't really swim today. I did teach a swim lesson which had me in the pool going back and forth but I'll call it a recovery effort at best. We stopped to talk swim technique after every 50. I think the easy recovery day was in order.

My husband and daughter are back home so it's back to life as normal at our house. I told them that I really enjoyed my alone time this weekend, but one weekend was enough of that. I don't think I'd want to be alone like that every weekend, for multiple reasons. If I was single and childless I might be a faster triathlete but I wouldn't be a happier person.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Risk We Take

This morning I got an email update from a new athlete I am working with- she's new to the point where riding outdoors on the roads is a super scary challenge because of hills and cars... I remember those days! I encouraged her to keep at it b/c the more we get out there the more comfortable/confident we get, and if you're going to be racing long course triathlon, confidence riding your bike outside is an essential skill.

That said, it did get me to thinking. I mean, riding on the roads is not without risk. There is legitimate risk involved. I had a long solo ride home today after my training partner went to the ER to consider this.

Story of the morning... Kevin and I were ~30 miles into our planned long ride. I was leading and he was behind me but not right on my wheel... like maybe a few bike lengths back. I tend to ride quite defensively and always heads up paying attention to cars and stuff around me, so when I saw a car coming at me I sat up and eased off the gas a bit... That car was passing a moped so he was in my lane... no worries there was space but then the moped driver also then started to cross the lane and was coming right at me... His head was down- not looking at me- so I started screaming at him. He still wasn't looking and I wasn't sure what to do? I slammed on my brakes and swerved into the middle of the lane to avoid a head on with the moped, but in the process I heard Kevin yelp out from behind me then I heard that horrible sound of bike hitting the pavement. ARGH.

So I stopped and went back to assess the situation... blood dripping everywhere from Kevin's face... several witnesses stopped to help but the moped driver was long gone. Long story short: ambulance came but Kevin declined and instead we waited for his wife to come get him and take him to his preferred ER so a plastic surgeon could do what needed to be done. I considered (for ~1/2 second) taking a picture of Kevin's gashes but really it was so bad no one needs to see that kind of stuff. The cut on his chin was so big and so deep it almost looked fake.

Turns out, when Kevin got the the ER he saw another cyclist friend of ours who was out riding the same route as us and went down on some crappy pavement and ended up with a broken collarbone and 5x broken ribs and a bruised lung... Obviously not a good day for Oahu cyclists. :(

After all this my mojo (not surprisingly) went away and I didn't have much desire to finish the ride as planned. I didn't have much choice though other than to ride back home. Definitely more cautious than normal and the whole time thought about risk. Cycling outside is risky. What was I going to do about it? Seems like there are a few options:

~Quit riding/triathlon
~Do all my riding inside
~Accept the risk and just do the best I can riding defensively

I've been riding for 20+ years and I've had maybe 4 bike wrecks? All in all, those are pretty good odds I guess. The idea of quitting riding/triathlon because of the risk doesn't sit well with me... On most days I really like riding my bike. So I can't see myself quitting the sport because of the potential of crashing. And if I did all my riding indoors a couple things would likely happen... #1) I wouldn't enjoy riding and #2) I'd lose my confidence and skills on the road. So really, as paradoxical as it sounds, I think the best defense against crashing on the road is to ride on the road a lot. Get really good and confident and never forget to pay attention at all times. This doesn't guarantee you always keep the rubber side down but I think it does increase your odds of managing yourself through potential sketchy situations.

To each his own I guess. It is up to each of us to figure out how we are going to manage the risk... The way I see it, there is risk in just about everything we do. So as long as I continue to enjoy riding, I will ride outside. I'll be smart about it and wear my helmet and keep my antenna up at all times, but I accept the risk. If at some point I change my mind on this, that would be ok too.