Thursday, June 30, 2016

Over/Unders

Jogged 2 miles this morning just to sort of test out my hip. It's not perfect, but it's back to about the pain level I have had the last few months (i.e. it's always there but generally like 1-2 on a scale of 10).  So ok whatever. Not thrilled but it's def better than it's been since Saturday.

Then I rode again at HTC on the Computrainer. I've ridden 6x in the last 5 days and 5 of those rides have been on the trainer. Besides the focused efforts, I'm really liking the air conditioning. I feel like I can ride harder for longer without it taking as much out of me because I'm not dying from heat exhaustion or dehydration. Don't get me wrong- I still drip with sweat, but it's nothing like the dehydration I experience when riding or running hard outside here in the summers.
Today was just a shorter ride- only 60min which went by in a flash. Main set 2x10min "over/unders" which is a sweet workout- one of my favorites. Impossible to really do if you don't have power, and also pretty tough to execute properly on the road (unless you have access to a long flat section with no interruptions). The Computrainer is perfect for this if you just tell it to load you up with the right % of FTP you're going for it gives you that resistance then you must do it. You can tell when you're starting to fade b/c your cadence drops, which honestly just makes it feel harder b/c it give you more resistance to hit the same watts on lower cadence... Anyway, the 10min was done as 3min @95% then 2min @105%. For me that was like alternating 190w with 215w. Challenging but nowhere near impossible. The hardest part really is the 2nd 3min piece because you want to 'recover' from the above FTP effort, but you're "recovering" still at 95%... After actually recovering we finished with a 5min piece at 90% using low cadence 55rpm. That felt heavy.

Afterward I went out running again holy crap it was noon with humidity through the roof and I was melting... I got through 4 miles, which felt like 14... Not very confidence building. Hip wasn't happy through any of it but then again it also didn't seem to progress and get worse. I came home though and iced and took ibuprofen b/c I feel like a lot of the pain now is because its inflamed. I've heard all the theories about why ice and ibuprofen are bad and how because of their MOA they actually delay healing so I hesitate to use them BUT they make the pain go away and with an ironman in 4 weeks I'm feeling a bit desperate so I might just live on ibuprofen for the next few weeks as a band-aid, with the understanding that it's not a true 'fix'. I don't know if that's the right decision but it's the one I'm making for now.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday

Swam this morning with Mark and Nalani. It was the kind of swim where I was swimming slower than I felt like I was swimming. 1000 w/u was 8:12/8:06 but really felt like it should have been a good bit faster than that based on effort. We did a pretty solid main set 2800M that was really like 4 rounds of 700's broken as follows:

600/100 fast
500/2x100's fast
400/3x100's fast
300/4x100's fast

We did the long swims off an interval that gave us ~20" rest and did the 100's off 1:30 so not much rest on those, but took an extra 30" or so between rounds so it was manageable. I pulled the whole main set and managed a slight descend on the long swims (starting at ~1:31 pace and down to 1:29 on the 300) and a slight ascend on the 100's (starting at 1:21 and slipping to 1:24s there toward the end). But to be fair, the pace you can hold for 1x100 fast is not going to be the same as the pace you can hold for 4x100's fast off a tight interval, so it was fine. 200 c/d gave us 4k and that was enough for today.

Led another group Computrainer session tonight. We did a main set of 2x16min that went:
4min @85%
4min @2% grade strong effort as you feel
4min @4% grade (the hill got steeper!)
4min at 85% again
4min recovery at 50% then repeat set.

Caption this? I have no idea what Ed and I were talking about.

We finished with 5x1min MAX EFFORT on 2min spin recoveries. On the road I used to be able to get those above 300w (repeatedly like for 10x!) but tonight inside I maxed out at 299 and just couldn't make that thing say 300. So I'm not sure if I'm weaker now or if I was just tired or if there's a legit difference between what you push outside vs inside? I'd have to give it a go outside again and see. I also feel like after all this focused riding inside I want to go test myself up Tantalus and see if I can get to the top faster than I was doing a few months ago? That would be a fun little experiment I think. Maybe I'll try it next week.

I saw Dr Zen today and he worked on my hip and straightened me all out. It feels much better so I'm hoping maybe to try running again tomorrow. I should know that when I'm seeing him regularly, I manage to stay injury free, but when I skip seeing him for 4-5 weeks something always tends to pop up and start hurting. It's just me being lazy about not wanting to drive all the way into town- that's the only reason I skip appointments with him. I need to stop being lazy about that and prioritize those appointments.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Two For Tuesday

Another double ride day in the books. Seems my bike has a semi-permanent home now at HTC. Both rides were done there this morning. First ride was Ben's idea. Main set 30x1min heavy gear which didn't sound that hard until he said goal was 120%FTP and recovery was only 45seconds after each. I made maybe 8-9 of them at 120-123% but the rest were 115-119%. The program he uses is cool b/c it beeps at you when it's time to GO(!) then beeps again when it's time to recover and it tells you your avg power for that segment as well as %FTP. It's really like playing a video game, but a really really really hard video game. This was genuinely one of the hardest efforts I've put out on the bike in a long time.

I had maybe 4 hours between sessions to 'recover'... Then back at it with a 20/20/20 progression. I went 155/175/205w avg for those. I'm skeptical that the power was correct tonight. Either it was off or I've gained a solid amount of fitness in the last few weeks b/c that was for sure the easiest 205w has felt in a long time. But check this out- no one can say I'm not capable of riding steady!

My hip felt pretty solid so I attempted a run off that 2nd ride. Physically I felt great but before I even got 1 mile in I could feel my hip tightening up... Felt like a spasm was forming in the TFL? It wasn't terrible but typically it doesn't loosen up and get better once it starts hurting like that, so when my garmin beeped 1 mile I turned around and ran back. Pretty bummed about that because it kind of feels like I'm on this really good roll with training and if my hip was solid everything would be perfect! In good news I don't think I did any new damage to it tonight by running those 2 miles. And if the pain stayed where it was (i.e. didn't escalate) I think I could run with it as it is. I'm not confident though that I could run on it without it getting (much) worse so I will need to get it sorted ASAP.

In other news unrelated to triathlon, we found another kitten. How cute is he?? We named him Luke. He's been at our house for a few hours and seems to be settling in. Exploring everything and starting to play. The other animals seem to be taking the new addition ok. Interestingly, its Shakira who seems the most upset, which is surprising. I assumed she would be the one happiest to have a new friend? Clearly, Moana is the happiest.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Zoned Out

None of my friends showed up to swim this morning. All the older ladies who are regulars were like Are you going to be lonely today? Lol. Indeed. It wasn't as much lonely as it was simply zoned out. I warmed up 1000 easy then decided on a main set 10x300's pull @4:50 just steady all the way through, maybe slight descend but the goal wasn't to rip myself apart today. I didn't have enough energy to do that anyway.

I started at 4:35 and held that for the first few, then since apparently I can't count to 3 when I'm swimming alone I ended up doing a 400 instead of a 300, so I tried to make it right by just doing a 200 on the next rep trying to get myself back on track... Then I was holding 4:33ish for the middle few before I screwed it up again just doing a 200... so I fixed it again on the next one doing a 400 and finished up with the last 2x300's slight descend 4:31/4:27. I can't remember the last time I have miscounted on a swim set? I mean, I totally get how you could miscount when swimming in a short course pool, but long course it's harder to do! I mean, how hard is it to count to 3? In good news since I was watching my splits I figured it out each time when I screwed it up but still. Yikes. Turn your brain on, Michelle.

I'll share a little secret too- when I'm doing a long set like that I figure out beforehand how long it's going to take (usually a 3k set takes ~48-50min depending on send-offs) so when I start I just start the timer on my watch then I keep repeating until my watch says the final time... so I knew my set today was ~48min which allowed me to just do those swims without having to know if I was on #6 or #7... I almost always lose count that way but I know when I start the one off 43:xx that it's the last one... File that under #SwimmerTips. I don't fuss with a Garmin in the pool. Not ever. I just do math in my head and remember my splits and write them down in my Training Peaks account when I get home. Normally (when my brain is functioning) I quite like calculating splits in my head while I'm swimming.

Later I went riding and it was a similar kind of zoned out experience. I rode my road bike outside and it was nice to feel the wind in my face. My indoor rides have been very focused and quality so today I tried to balance that by just riding aerobic as I felt, no data, no structure, no pressure. Just saddle time. I felt terrible to start but then felt better and actually felt quite strong by the time I finished 3.5 hours later. Honestly when I was done I was surprised at how good I felt, but 1/2 hour later I was flat out on my bed thinking OMG how am I going to go be a parent right now?? As always though I bucked up and found a way.

Mark gave me a bunch of mangos off his tree. They were pretty ripe so they needed to be used ASAP. I made Moana happy by making a bunch of mango coconut ice cream! All I did was cut up a bunch of mango and put it in the blender with ~1/4 can of coconut milk. Blended that up then stuck it in the ice cream maker for ~20minutes. So good!



Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lessons In Sport

I'm watching the Olympic Trials as I type this... I might get distracted. I love the Trials! Maybe more than the Olympics?? NBC does a great job telling some of the stories of the athletes and I just think its so cool to watch the competitions. One thing I pay attention to is what the athletes say when they get interviewed... Across the board the successful athletes talk about how they try to tune everything out and not think about the results, but instead just focus on the process and what they need to do in each moment to bring out their own very best. Good lessons there!

Today I did another bike session in the HTC Computrainer studio. I rode 5x this week and 4 of those were in there! I do ride pretty hard in there and can get in some quality watts so I guess we'll call this an experiment to see if those transfer over to the road/races.

Today, 8 of us who are going to Vineman all rode part of the course, which was pretty cool. We spent 3.5 hours in there and after a fairly long w/u, did a main set of 5x25min at or slightly above race effort on 5min easy, then 4x2min alternating heavy gear 55rpm w/ 2min spin 95+rpm. I feel like I rode pretty strong today. Figured out how to get my indoor ride files to automatically upload to my Training Peaks account so it was fun to come home and see/analyze my file.
My hip didn't feel terrible so it's possible I could have run but I chose not to. It just seemed like a smarter decision to not push it today. I've spent a bunch of time in the last 24 hours rolling on my Supernova ball (best tool ever for releasing glute spasms) and based on how that has felt, clearly I've got some solid spasms in my glute. I'm just guessing, but it makes sense that a giant spasm in one of those muscles would effectively disable it, which would force another muscle to do more work and eventually that secondary muscle would get pretty pissed off. In my case I *think* it's glute medius that is spasming so TFL compensates and currently TFL is pissed. So the fix is allowing that TFL to rest while getting the glute med spasm to release. That's the route I'm taking anyway trying to fix it. I'm not sure it's really a lack of 'strength' thing. James Dunne (running coach) writes a lot about running form and function and he often posts about lack of strength being caused by "a weakness or an inhibition?" If you're doing all your basic functional strength type exercises but you're still not strong enough to perform your sport without pain, then you have to start looking toward the inhibition side of things trying to uncover/allow the functional strength you want/need. In my case I think I'm strong enough but all those muscles need to be in a state that will allow them to do their jobs effectively.

So far the Olympic Trials swim races I've watched have all been won in the back half of the race. #EnduranceFTW. #DontGoOutTooFast #LessonsInSport

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Two For Two

Guess what? Easy recovery days are the bomb. :) Yesterday I did exactly as I planned... 2k flop/choice swim that included some kicking and some sculling and even a bit of IM... all very relaxed effort and that was just what I needed.

Today I got up early and drove out to Waimea Bay for the 2nd swim of the North Shore Swim Series.
Just like I did before the first race, I jogged a super easy 5 miles, keeping HR <140 for the first mile then <145 after that. Felt fine but wasn't judging it at all. #JustTrot

Usually Waimea Bay is full of really nice clear blue perfect water, but today it was all brown. There's a river that flows into the bay (from the mountain) and it must have poured rain overnight or something bc that river was just dumping brown water into the bay and it was gross. The race director did the best he could changing the course trying to keep us away from the mouth of the river, but it was so brown all over... Tough to avoid completely. This is the course, according to Heidi's Garmin. The only place it was clear water was at the far corner where we rounded a couple of big rocks.
I found this picture on Instagram. This is the women's start, as seen from the top of a big rock in the bay! I was somewhere out in the middle of this group, near the front but not at the front. (These are real swimmers, not triathletes.)
So the challenge with the brown water was that we couldn't see each other as well as we normally can. Given that, it felt more aggressive at the start. I don't think women were pulling and pushing at each other on purpose, but since we couldn't see each other as well it was harder to intentionally avoid hitting others who were around you. Whatever. It was fine. I swam hard, sometimes near other swimmers but not directly drafting off anyone like I normally try to do. I kept checking in with myself like is this as hard as you can go right now? And every time the answer was yep I'm happy with this effort. I felt strong and in control but like I was really working. No lazy strokes at all.

As is my policy, I swam until my hand hit the bottom (don't stand up early!!), and then a really little wave came and beached me on the sand (like a whale!) and it cracked me up b/c I knew my suit would be full of sand (it was!)... I stood up laughing and ran up the little hill to the timing mat. I couldn't find Nalani, which was weird, but then I turned around and saw her come across the line behind me (What?? That never happens!) with Kathryn right on her tail. Last time the 3 of us finished within like 15" of each other and this swim today was similar spread even though we never saw each other. That confirmed to me that yep the effort was as strong as I felt like it was. I ended up winning my AG again (I'm two for two in the series now!) but was 34th Female OA (vs 19th like last time) b/c a young swim team showed up and crushed us all. Seriously. The winner was 13 years old!

Afterward we hung out for a bit, then I went running again. 8 more miles and I started to do it as a progression until mile 6 when my hip started yelling at me (it was whispering earlier but I ignored that). That was a bummer b/c for once I actually felt really strong and solid, like a machine! I had been nailing the descend each mile and I'm pretty sure I had 2 more faster miles in me but I did what I think was the smart thing and shut it down and just jogged the last 2 miles trying to not further piss off my hip. I'm stretching and rolling it now and will have to see how it responds overnight. Kind of a lot of running- 33 miles in the last 3 days (between the 20 miler Thursday and the double run today)- so if my hip said that was enough for now, I'll listen. It's the exact same pain that took me out for a few months in Feb/March so I don't want to push it. Getting greedy is always how I end up hurt.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

20 Miles

I know there are a lot of athletes who can knock out successful Ironman marathons without doing any 20 mile training runs, but I'm not one of them. I will say though, in my experience as an athlete and as a coach, many runners and triathletes do actually benefit from them (mentally and physically). 4-5 years ago I ran 20 milers fairly often, and I got to the point where they were no big deal and I could knock them out without really blinking. In the last 3 years though I don't think I've run a 20 miler in training? I've also not run a decent marathon in that time frame. So. I know I can get better at 20 milers, but the only way to get better at 20 milers is to run 20 milers.

I ran 17 miles a few weeks ago and it went just fine so I think I didn't give the 20 miler today the respect it apparently warranted. Somewhere around mile 12 today, the riding I've done the last 3 days showed up not only in my legs but in my brain. I think I was fueling and hydrating plenty so that wasn't the issue. It was just straight up fatigue. I was hot, and tired, and bored. I'd arranged my run so I was basically doing out/back segments and using my car as an aid station so I'd have ice and cold fluids every few miles, which I guess is a decent way to arrange things when you're running in the middle of the day in Hawaii in June, but it's not exactly an interesting way to get the miles done!
I had thoughts of bailing at mile 12, but then I decided that was completely unacceptable because 12 isn't even remotely close to 20 when it comes to running. So I went out/back for another 4 miles and got back to my car at 16 and tried to decide if that was close enough... I mean, really, it was probably long enough, but it still would have felt like a fail to me, and I'm running out of time to get these 20 milers in prior to Vineman, so I forced another out/back on myself and managed to make my stupid garmin beep to 20. Overall I guess the run was a good mental task (make yourself keep going when you're really tired and want to stop) but physically it took a toll.

I felt like my legs were on the verge of seizing up for much of the last 4 miles (hamstrings, quads, adductors) and had to really focus on staying calm and relaxed and not get pissy with myself. Managed to do that (yay me) and finished running without doubling over... Later though in my car driving home I was feeling irritated about that run b/c it just felt crappy to me- not only b/c it was pretty slow but mostly because of how hard I had to work to get my brain to shut up and stop whining about it all. I have suspected for a few years now that when I'm on the verge of cramping, negative thoughts are the thing that throw me right over the edge, and sure enough as I was driving my diaphragm just knotted up in the most painful spasm. ARGH. And I couldn't get it to release, which made me more mad, which caused it to grip even harder. There was no place along the road where I could safely pull over so I kept driving, one hand on the wheel while the other was jammed under my rib cage and my hips were lifted up off the seat trying to straighten out my midsection while swearing out loud, taking deep breaths, and trying to not crashing my car... Finally I pulled into my neighborhood where it was safe to pull over and I got out of my car to stand and stretch and that's when that spasm finally released.

So. Apparently I don't have the cramping problem solved. :( I drank 6x bottles of Osmo, SOS, and that new NBS hydration drink, so its hard to believe dehydration was the issue (though even with that I did lose 2lbs during the run, but that seems within the normal range of what you'd expect to lose during a 20 mile run). Extreme muscular fatigue was likely an issue given the riding I did the last few days. I'm sure I was depleted going into the run today, which was by design. Apparently it was too much though.

Today was not a confidence building run. I would like to fit in another 20 miler prior to Vineman and I think I have time to do that if I knock it out in the next 10-15 days... Next time though I'll time it so it's not done on legs that are already thrashed. And I'll continue to experiment with products that might help my muscles work more effectively! I will say, I do think 20 milers get easier the more you do them, and I'm glad I didn't save this shitty experience for race day. That's what I did at Louisville last year and it sucked!

Anyway, I spent an hour or so like this before I had to go pick up Moana and be a functioning human being again.
I'll save you a trip back to this blog tomorrow by writing tomorrow's blog tonight (I can do this because I'm psychic):

Friday Recovery Day
Swam 2k super easy flop didn't time anything. Included some light kicking. Felt like shit to start but better by the end.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Swim + Double Ride

My swim notes copy/pasted directly from Training Peaks. Swam with Mark and Nalani this morning, both of whom kicked my ass. I don't think I was swimming poorly. They were just swimming fast!

1000 w/u neg split 8:04/7:43 (15:47)
500 pull @8:00 (7:25)
8x50's fast swim @:50
500 pull @8:00 (7:24)
6x50's fast swim @:50
500 pull @8:00 (7:18)
4x50's fast swim @:50
100 c/d
felt ok. tired at the end! 50s @:50 kill me!

Not too long after that swim I found myself back on my bike that was hooked up to a Computrainer again at HTC. I did an 80min session that included a 40minute main set of 10x3min "hills" (on 1 minute recoveries) at 3% grade pushing ~60rpm and shooting for ~95%FTP. It was hard but not impossible. My thought in doing that session was really to test it out and see if it was an appropriate one for my first group Computrainer session (which I was leading at 6:00PM tonight). I decided that it was indeed appropriate.

So... Bike session #2 today was a repeat of Bike session #1. In case you were wondering, it was 100x harder the second time around! My legs feel completely zapped at the moment. Good fun though with the group...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quality Brick

It was a nice day today and I could have ridden outside, but I rode inside. Who am I?? Well, really I rode inside because Ben was teaching me how to set up the bike on the Computrainers at HTC and set up the programming and hook up the audiovisual, etc. Tomorrow night I'm actually going to be leading my first Computrainer session (!) so I needed to know how to get it all set up and functioning. The program is cool how you type it all in and tell the computer what intervals you want to do and what watts you want to hit and it basically just makes you hit the watts for as long as you said you were going to. I think this is good for me because commonly when I'm riding on the road I just make up what I do along the way based on how I'm feeling and it happens sometimes where I bail out or whatever. No bailing out once the program is set in the studio though! Anyway, I rode for 2:15 and that included a main set of 5x3min @230w, a 30min piece building from 160-170w just steady, then a 30min piece at 190w which didn't feel as hard as I thought it was going to feel.

My plan was to run afterward, but when I was done riding I had a ton of reasons why I shouldn't run. I forgot my iPod (is that a reason to not run?? #no). It was sunny and HOT (this was legit). It was 1PM and I hadn't had lunch. BUT, I have an Ironman next month. And physically I felt fine after that ride. And I was in a place where I could run flat. So I sucked down a gel, drank some ice cold SOS Rehydrate and turned on my Garmin. I ran 4x1 mile repeats on a flat stretch of road. I didn't have a pace goal in mind but more an effort goal... I wanted it to feel strong and solid but also controlled (not forced). I was shocked when my garmin buzzed and I saw 7:50?! It didn't feel as hard as I would have thought a 7:50 mile would/should feel... I recovered until my HR came down to 130 (which was only about a minute) then went again. 7:47. So it wasn't a fluke! Then 7:46... I made a mental note to NOT drill myself into a hole trying to continue the descend, but I tried to focus on staying relaxed and keeping my hips stable and just floating through that last one... 7:39! What a difference stable hips make. Also confirms my belief that you can do a lot of slow/easy running and yet still run faster when it's time to do so.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday

Swim this morning was simple, not easy. I swam alone and this is a good one to do when you're alone... 4x1k w/ 30" rest, descend 1-4. One of my favorites leading up to an Ironman... I managed to negative split each one as well which made me feel like I had a masters degree in swim pacing so that was kind of fun!

16:33 (8:18/8:15)
16:08 (8:05/8:03)
15:52 (7:58/7:54)
15:39 (7:52/7:47)

Afterward my plan was to ride 4 hours unstructured/aerobic. I have some key rides planned for the next few days so today I really just wanted to shut my brain off and ride as I felt, no data, no big efforts. My preference is to take my road bike for these types of rides. I got maybe 30 minutes into it today and I felt like my foot unclipped itself, except I couldn't clip back in! Gah! My shoe just ripped itself off the sole!
To be fair, those shoes were prob 20 years old. I only use(d) them when I ride my road bike b/c I have different pedals on my road bike vs my TT bike. A few years ago I noticed the heel was ripping itself off the carbon sole but I glued it back on and called it good. And it was! At least for a few years. :) Anyway, I wasn't sure what to do but turns out riding with that dysfunctional shoe wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. I got myself home, ate some food, swapped my pedals off my TT bike, then headed back out. Didn't have quite as much time as I wanted given that mechanical, but still got prob close to 3.5 hours of total riding in today and given everything else that was just the best I could do, so it's good enough!

Fun little story to end this post... After my ride I was doing my favorite set of 30" strides and I realized after the first one that I hadn't emptied out my pockets after my ride. I had a baggie with a couple of homemade oatmeal banana peanut butter bites (yum!) and they were bouncing around a bit. I didn't want to run with them, so at the end of that 30" I dropped the baggie in the grass in my neighbor's yard. I just run back and forth when I do these strides so 2min later I was back and a couple of birds had already found that baggie and were trying to peck it open. No birdies No! I shooed them away but then 2min later I was back again and they were still going after my baggie. I think it might be a federal crime, but I stored my oatmeal peanut butter banana bites in my neighbor's mailbox for safe keeping until I was done with my strides and I could eat them. File that under #triathleteproblems... In good news, the mailbox preserved my homemade bites and ate them as soon as I finished the strides, and they were DELICIOUS!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekend

Yesterday I got up early and was rolling by 6:20. That's the way to do it! It's cooler, less traffic, and I got completely done with my training before 10AM. On weekends this is good b/c I don't like being away from my family all day Sat/Sun.

I rode north along the coast on my TT bike for the first time in what felt like a while. Had a decent ride. Easy for ~10min then just settled into steady effort. No interruptions all the way out to Turtle Bay (~27 miles) avg 162w with no spikes and no soft pedaling. This is pretty much the only route on this island where I can ride so steady for such a long time. Coming back I did 2x 25min pieces at a 'sweet spot' power effort (180/184w) and that felt good. Strong but doable.

Melanie took this photo when she was out running yesterday, but this is part of the route I rode...

Total 57 miles which doesn't really count as a 'long' ride when you're training for Ironman, but stacked after the double ride day on Friday it was a decent amount of total riding and pretty high quality. I'm happy with it. Topped it off with 10x30" strides (bc I love those) and then spent the next hour being trapped under my dog. She misses me when I'm away training a lot.

Today was Father's Day so we spent most of the day as a family out at a beach I'd never been to. Was really nice and not crowded, which we loved.

I thought about taking the day completely off from training, but only because I didn't want to impose my training on my family on a day like today. But it worked out that Scott dropped me off ~10 miles from home and I ran the rest of the way (while they drove). That felt like a good way to get something in without being that selfish triathlete. I feel like I'm struggling with that more now than I have in years past... Just not wanting to inconvenience my family with my training. They're supportive, but I just don't like taking advantage of that because with me it's year after year after year... Anyway, as I was running I was thinking that since that's all I was doing today, and since the effort was low aerobic, it sort of felt like a rest day, which is funny. Since when did a 10 mile run day become a rest day in my head?? I guess that's a good (mental) place to be 6 weeks out from an Ironman.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Swim + Double Ride

Big day today.

Swam 3k first thing. Didn't feel great to start but warmed up easy 1000 then did main set 2 rounds:

6x100 @1:50 as 25 fly/75 free straight into:
6x50's as odds FAST @:50; evens 25 fast/25 easy @1:00
100 easy then repeat

I liked that main set. Just made it up as I went, but it turned out to be a decent one. Mark and Nalani seemed to like it too. (Mark said he loves swimming when he feels like he can't breathe.)

It was pissing rain all over the island this morning and I was trying to figure out my best option to ride. I've become quite a priss about getting my bike super dirty riding on wet roads... I ended up in the Computrainer Studio at Hawaii Triathlon Center and did a main set there of 8x4min hard at 220-240w on 3min spin recoveries. All in all I rode ~1:45 and would say I felt pretty good. Air conditioning and 2x fans makes a huge difference in my sweat rate. I didn't even soak through a single towel! Brilliant!
The training day could have ended there and I'd have called it a good one, but I left my bike hooked up to the trainer there at HTC and returned ~6 hours later for another session. That evening session was really about introducing power to athletes who are new to it... Several local athletes who are all racing Vineman got together tonight to learn their FTP numbers. I know mine so I didn't feel the need to attempt a real test, but figured I'd give it what I had regardless. So another hour or so of riding including a 20min max effort (OMG) and while I left without knowing the exact avg I pushed for the 20min, the program calculated my FTP at 206 based on the 20min I did tonight, which I am happy enough with given my last 7 days of training! It's been a while since I'd done a double ride day but this day is similar to the double ride day I used to do almost every week in 2103 (hill reps in the morning then progression to TT effort in the afternoon).

I'd like to say I didn't like riding inside on the CT, but the fact is, I see the draw. Really good to be able to give super hard efforts like that on a machine the runs perfectly and is safer than the road. Of course I still totally believe in having really good skills on the road (and the only way you get those are from lots of time riding on the road!), but if skills on the road are in place, then ripping your legs off inside sometimes is a reasonable way to train.

Now if I can figure out how to go to sleep... Night time training is not the norm for me. Giving a max effort at 7PM poses a problem when you want to get to sleep at a reasonable hour! I'm still shaking.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Progression By Heart Rate

I woke up feeling good enough to train today (what a difference a day makes!) so went forward with my plan to run twice today. Pretty standard double run day with hill reps in the morning and then progression run in the afternoon.

I didn't use my garmin on the morning run. I guess seeing HR on that run can be valuable but on a session like that just going by feel works as well. I've used my garmin on this exact run before so I know it comes out to be right about 6 miles when including the jog to/from the hill. And I worked hard enough that I felt a desire to sit down at the top of the last repeat (8x1min) before jogging home. And jogging home I felt tired enough that I decided that driving to a place where I could do a flat afternoon run would be preferable than running from my house and having to run that stupid hill again!

I don't have the option of waiting until the sun goes down to do my afternoon runs- I need to be done in time to pick up Moana from her summer fun camp thing, which means that run #2 was either going to be in 90 degrees or on a treadmill. I went with 90 degrees. I did drive to Kailua though where I could run flat, which I rarely get to do. I started off really easy, trying to keep my HR in the 130's, which is no easy feat for me when its warm and sunny. I managed to jog slow enough though to keep it <140 for the whole first mile. Next 2 miles I bumped it up only to 145, which put me trotting along at ~10min pace, which seems slow until I remember that last week HR145 had me at 10:30 pace, and that was early morning when it was cooler. So 10' pace was actually an improvement. :) Mile 4 I allowed myself 150, then kept increasing by 5 beats each mile until I was at 165 for mile 7. Seemed like my HR was as easily controlled as its ever been... Like when I was running at 160 if it hit 161, all I had to do was back off the gas a hair and I was back at 159. Good stuff.

My new hydration product must have worked pretty well! #SOSRehydrate


Sometimes I give a 'test' to athletes I work with where I ask them to do a progression similar to this. It starts really easy then each mile they bump up the effort by +10 beats and note pace for that mile... Keep going (continuously) until they don't think they can run another mile at +10 beats from what they just did. It tells me a lot about their current state of fitness... If they're capable of running with a very low HR, if there are any gaps along the way, how high they're comfortable running, etc. In a healthy/fit athlete I typically expect to see ~40"/mile difference for each +10 beats, though this can vary for a lot of reasons. But it's a decent benchmark. What was cool today was that each +5 beats today required me speeding up by ~20"/mile (I finished the run at 8:33 pace, HR 165) which given the heat I felt pretty good about. I kind of thought that maybe the heat would cause HR to go up faster than pace, but the ratio seemed about what I would have expected even had the conditions been cooler (though pace from the beginning likely would have been faster for HR had it been 60 degrees!!)

Anyway, 13 miles for the day and I feel pretty good tonight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday

It wasn't hard to go to the pool this morning and chat with my friends while sitting on the deck with my feet in the water. I did sort of dread getting in to swim though. I figured it would be ugly. I suggested a 1500M warm up, mostly so I could have the whole first 500 to use go really easy then start to build and see what was there. It wasn't as bad as I expected. 8:18, 7:57, 7:44.

Then we went 2 rounds:
200, 150, 100, 50 all off 1:40 base and done as first half of each swim fast. So really just like a 1000 fartlek with a few breaks built in. I didn't micromanage paces there just gave the appropriate effort each time and called it good.

Mark thought we were done after that, but we weren't. 3x500's with pads @8:00 descend 1-3. I managed the descend (7:38, 7:30, 7:24) but finished feeling empty. Spent the rest of the day wanting to curl up in a ball, but got some work done and felt relieved I had no more training on the plan for today!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Brain Training

It was another wet day today. I had considered going to Tantalus today but descending Tantalus in the rain didn't seem like a smart choice of activities, so instead I stayed on this side and rode repeats of my 7min hill and while it was wet, the descent wasn't scary. Just like yesterday my legs felt like bricks for the first ~20min and then felt better/stronger. I used HR today and it was depressed for sure. Prob ~10 beats lower than it would be on a day when I'm fresher. I wasn't surprised by that given my last few days of training, but it was weird how HARD I had to work to get HR >150. I had to stand and really stomp up a steep section of a climb to get it to go up. Seated climbing was in the 140's and the rest of the ride was 120-135 range. Def on the very low side for me. Funny though I'd say if I wasn't wearing HR, while I would have guessed it was on the low side, I didn't feel miserable or pissy or like I shouldn't be out there.  My brain was good and in the game. In total I rode for ~2 hours and went up the hill 5x.

I got home and my plan was to run. Originally I was thinking 10 miles, then I was thinking maybe 7 would be enough. I didn't eat enough on that ride to support a 10 mile run off though so I felt like I should eat, so I ate a bit, then I checked email, and then I really didn't feel like running at all. Like I just got really tired and was having thoughts like maybe that was enough for today and I should just shower and nap. Isn't it smart to recover when you're fatigued? Obviously I am fatigued bc HR was so low. Maybe I'd just run 4 miles. Or 2?

I finally convinced myself to just get out there and start and see how it felt... I actually didn't feel terrible physically, but my brain was caught in a battle for sure. Like I just didn't want to be running, so I was going over all the reasons why I should stop and not run anymore... I went back and forth with myself and finally decided to just get to the church where there is water (1.8 miles from my house) then maybe I'd turn around and go home... I felt shaky when I got there like I needed some sugar for sure. I ate 1/2 pack of chews and then just sat down on the bench outside the church, head in my hands, dripping sweat like a leaky faucet. I don't know how long I sat there? Maybe 5 minutes? Possibly more. Just letting my brain argue with itself about whether or not I should be out there running. In the end I decided that THIS was the mental state I'd been looking for on the bike (but hadn't found)... I wanted this opportunity to work through an intense desire to STOP, but to make myself keep going. Inevitably in any Ironman every athlete out there is going to face these thoughts... It's hard and you don't want to do it anymore- but there's no quitting- so I think learning to keep going when your brain is trying to convince you to throw in the towel is an important part of the training process. So that's why I kept running today.

I wasn't actually running poorly. When my HR is depressed I can run quicker than when it's not (and it doesn't feel as hard). Anyway, I got myself to my 3.5 mile mark and considered turning around, but by that point I was sort of enjoying the process of telling my brain to shut up (over and over and over). I was trying hard to focus on my physical action- stable hips, braced core, quick turnover, hands up, that kind of thing. I got myself to the 5 mile point and turned around with a sense of satisfaction knowing that I was going to get my 10 miles today and I was getting the brain training I wanted. To be honest, I hardly even remember those last 5 miles... it was just one foot in front of the other don't think just do, much like the back half of an Ironman marathon.

I'm quite tired now. It's an interesting feeling though- one I like- I feel calm and relaxed and unconcerned about little things. Tomorrow will be a lighter swim only day. I wanted to find the edge of my cliff, not hurl myself off of it, and I think another big day might throw me over the edge. 16 hours of swim/bike/run in the last 4 days was enough.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mega Monday

Tonight at dinner Scott asked me, "So what did you get up to today?" I laughed a bit and then replied, "Ironman training".

I'm trying to do my longest stuff early in the week when Scott is at work and Moana is at her summer fun camp thing... My work tends to be lighter earlier in the week so it makes sense for me to use these days for bigger training vs the weekend when my training imposes more on my family. So. Mega Mondays begin.

Jogged down to the pool and swam with Mark this morning. I was bit surprised at how relaxed and smooth my stroke felt today, but it felt quite good so I'll go with it. Cruisy warm up 16:02 as a slight negative split 8:04/7:58. Effort was low but like I said I felt smooth.

Main set 4 rounds:
400 steady @6:20
3x100's fast @1:30

I used paddles for the whole main set b/c I know that pads allow me to swim strong while keeping my HR lower, which helps me later when I know I have more training to do that day. Plus 2800M with pads is a legit strength set! We took an extra 10seconds rest between rounds just because I was being lazy with my swimmers math and it was easier to start each round again on the top. 400's were 6:05, 6:04, 5:59, 6:01 and the 100's fast were all 1:22-1:24. I was pretty happy to be able to hold a strong pace throughout the set today, felt like a machine and finished feeling like if we had another round I could keep going. Plus, 3800M in 61min works for an Ironman training day! :)

Jogged home, ate again, walked the dog, then off for a ride. Pretty much rode the same ~4 hour route as yesterday, but today was different in that 1) the roads were dry, 2) it was super windy(!), and 3) I was on my road bike. I was going to ride my TT bike again but the battery was dead in my garmin and I can't get it to take a charge?? Ugh. I guess I could still ride my TT bike even if I didn't have power but whatever I just opted to switch it up and ride the road bike since I was just going to go by feel anyway. Legs felt like bricks for the first 20min or so but then after that felt pretty good. There were times today when the wind was ripping so hard (in gusts) that I actually started laughing... like this is simply ridiculous... but there were also sections where I had a nice tailwind so it was fine. I also had an opportunity to practice changing a flat tire. Can be a PITA to have to do at the end of a long ride but you gain confidence in skills you practice so that's how I looked at that flat tire today. The best part I think is that I finished feeling mentally rock solid- not like I was dying to get off my bike. Then I ran my favorite 10x30" strides OTB and those felt about as good as they've ever felt.

~5.5 hours of swim bike run today. Not bad for a Monday! :) It's funny... The more I train, the better I feel. I had the thought today that I'm really enjoying Ironman training this round. I kind of want to get myself to the point though where I'm just dying to get off my bike. Not sure how much riding that will take? I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Ride

My plan was to ride north today, but I headed out this morning and it looked wet that direction, so last minute call I went south. It's usually drier in that direction, though ~30min into my ride I could see I was heading straight into an ugly dark grey cloud... For whatever reason that really irritated me today... I was just frustrated like is it too much to ask to want to ride on a dry road with a nice paved shoulder and light traffic? That sounds like a dream to me. Can't find too many stretches of road that meet that criteria here on Oahu.

Anyway, I rode ~4 hours and finished feeling happier than I was that first hour (it dried up! and legs felt ok!). My bike was a complete mess though and as I was cleaning it I was thinking that the biggest reason I hate riding in the rain is that its so hard on my bike. But then I checked Facebook and saw that 2 of my local friends went down on the wet roads today (separately), one requiring stitches, and I changed my mind and decided that cleaning my bike wasn't the worst thing that could have happened today. At least I finished my ride without getting bloody! Hopefully I'll be able to say the same when I try it again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fitting It All In

I had a look at the calendar and, um, it lit a little fire under me. Essentially I have all of about 5 weeks to train for Vineman. It's not like I'm out of shape or anything but I have NOT done the long rides/runs I want/need to be doing if I want to have a decent day there. Cue (slight) panic mode. And of course today started the summer swim series races up on the North Shore, and while it could be argued that I'd be better off skipping these swims in favor of using the time to train long bike/run, well, I have so much fun at these swims that I just don't have much desire to skip them! So, I'm doing my best to work in a bunch of training around them. :)

It's funny- real swimmers approach these races like a World Series of sorts... while triathletes just look at them as opportunities to practice hard ocean swimming while also riding/running before/after the swims. I drove up the race this morning but while I was driving I saw 3 of my triGEEK friends riding up. :) I arrived early enough to get in a 5 mile jog/trot before the race started. Capped HR at 145 so it was really slow/easy.

Today doubled as Nalani's birthday swim!! Prior to the race Kathryn and I joked with her that she should be drunk and have her feet tied together (because, hello! #birthdayswim) but we didn't have a bottle of whiskey for her to chug at the start line, so she raced sober.

Part of our Kaneohe morning swim crew (me, Nalani, Kendra, Lectie). Spoiler alert! Lectie won 30-34, Nalani won 35-39, and I won 40-44. Not pictured, Mark, won 55-59. Kaneohe Crew #FTW!

So I spoiled it already but whatever. I'm pretty stoked with this swim because after 10 years of getting my ass kicked in this (short) one, I feel like I finally did it right today! These races are tactical and last year I thought I was swimming REALLY strong but got beat by minutes b/c I opted for that outside line. Today I started at the inside buoy, and after a few minutes of swimming alone I look over and Tah-Da! There's Nalani. Beautiful! So I got on her feet and we swam like 10ft from shore most of the way, getting pummeled by white water waves at times but it was so fun I was just loving it!! I touched her feet a few times by accident, then after we made it through a fairly big set I touched her feet again, this time on purpose just to let her know I was there and that hello its her BIRTHDAY and we are doing this together and isn't it awesome?? What's funny is that she told me afterward that she received my telepathic message... There was a lifeguard at one point waving at us to GO OUT b/c we were in too shallow with the waves but I was like hell no! I'm staying with my friend and if she stays inside, I'm staying inside! And when I touched her feet after that set of waves she said she knew for sure it had to be me on her feet because I was the only person crazy enough to stay with her that far in. Ha!
There was a fair bit of surf at the finish. I rounded those last buoys and headed straight for shore and a wave just picked me up and placed me right on the sand! It was a huge rush so fun and I ran up the beach (6" behind Nalani) smiling ear to ear. Mostly I was stoked because last week at Honu was a bit of a blow to my confidence. Nalani beat me by almost 2 minutes last week... In my head/heart I didn't think I should be 2min behind her, and today I showed myself yep it's all good I wasn't imagining that... So I still don't know what the deal was last week but it wasn't representative of how I've been swimming. So. Phew!

Afterward I checked results, chatted with a few friends/athletes, then hopped back in the water to swim back. It was pretty nutso swimming back and I would have preferred to have someone with me for sure... I lasted ~20min swimming back then navigated my way through some decent sized surf and made it to shore (alive!) then walked the rest of the way to my car.

Run #2 coming up... It was almost 11AM by the time I started and it was HOT. Heart rate was easily 5 beats above what it was on my morning run which is not surprising. I kept it super slow/easy (10:30 pace!) for the first 5.5 miles. To be fair, I was running against a stiff headwind and the sun was blazing full force and even that 10:30 pace put my HR at ~150... So I heeded HR and kept it slow so it would actually be easy (and I wouldn't just be fooling myself pretending it was easy)... Turned around though and now I had the tailwind (which made it feel hotter!) but I felt good/solid so opted to do the progression as planned... 9:30 down to 8:46 pace at the end. So 5 miles in the early morning plus 11 miles in the late morning plus 4 easy miles last night gave me 20 miles in ~20 hours so that's about as good as I could do trying to fit in running around the swim race.

This evening we continued our celebration with Nalani... Party at the beach, because that's how we do birthdays in Hawaii! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday

I screwed up today by not double checking the pool hours prior to heading down there. Summer programs mean lap swim hours are different (more limited), which is fine, I just need to be cognizant and work around them at times. Today I neglected to do that and worked all morning then showed up and realized that I only had ~40min left to swim. Well, ok! A short swim is always better than no swim, so I hopped in, did an 800 easy warm up, then onto a short 1200M main set that was quite polarized.

4x50's MAX @1:00
100 easy @2:00
200 MAX @3:00
100 easy @2:00
4x50's MAX @1:00
100 easy @2:00
200 MAX shooting to hit same as first round.
100 c/d

I gave that set to several of my athletes this week and it looked like a good one which is why I chose to do it today. Actually the set I gave included another round of the 4x50's fast but pool was closing and I ran out of time to do that part. On the 200's I hit 2:54, which was slower than it felt, then 2:53, which was faster than it felt. Go figure.

My hip has been fine (no pain) so I decided it was time to bring back my jog commute to/from the pool. I used to jog down there every time I swam (it's only like 3/4 mile), but then when my hip started hurting I started driving, then really just got pretty lazy about it and found myself driving every time. Well, back to jogging it is! And my goal with those is really going to be about focusing on actively keeping my hips stable and strong (no collapsing!)... light feet quick cadence core engaged... Seemed to work today so am going to try to make it a habit. (And yes I promise Monika- every step of every run I will focus! #stronghips)

Later I went out for a ride. Included main set: 5x7min hill reps. Why 7min? Because that's the longest hill I can easily ride to that doesn't involve driving to Tantalus. I wore my HR monitor today but didn't use power. HR was pretty low across the board, but my legs felt strong enough. I did most of the climbing at HR155-159, up to 162 max. Pretty fun session actually- I alternated and did #1/3/5 as a combo of sitting/standing strong effort, and #2/4 I stayed seated and used a gear that had me at times pushing ~50rpm. It rained off and on throughout the whole day so I knew I'd get wet out there but somehow today I didn't mind. My mojo is back! Woot!

In other news, Maia discovered the joy of chasing a tennis ball today! I kind of feel like a bad dog mom for not giving her one before, but I tried several other dog toys and she clearly had a giant fear of them(?) but it never occurred to me to try a tennis ball. But today (while Moana was at swim team) we found one in the field and I threw it for her... Took her a few minutes to figure it out but eventually she got it and then she ran herself silly all over that field with her ball. Pretty impossible to not smile while watching that! A dog and her ball. #purejoy

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Back To Work Wednesday

I showed up at the pool at ~6:50 this morning and thought it was pretty cool to see a bunch of Honu finishers there waiting to swim. Lectie and Marcy both had super races on Saturday, Nalani had a good day relative to her training going in, and Kendra and I finished feeling like we didn't have the race we expected. But regardless of how the race went, we were all there this morning ready to get back to training and that just struck me as pretty damn cool. Mark was there too, and he was giddy as a kid on Christmas because he missed us all this last week I had a new pair of Roka R1 goggles for him. He was all smiles like I can see! I can see! To be fair, Mark tends to use crappy goggles he finds on the ocean floor and then he whines and moans all the time b/c his goggle suck. I fixed it for him so we won't have to wait around for him during swims while he fusses with his goggles!

Only got in an 800 w/u, mostly bc a couple of us sat on the deck chit chatting while Mark and Lectie started racing the warm up... so I was a bit late getting in and just cut it at 800 b/c Mark and Lectie were done and waiting. As is typical for a Wednesday, I decided before I went that I was going to swim well today, and sure enough... Main set was 15x200's @3:15, all strong/even pacing. That's a monster set and I feel like while we've done some good ones the last few months, we hadn't really done one like this. My goal wasn't just to get in 3k main set of strong swimming, but to start training my brain to operate my body like a machine. No descending, no pacing games, just strong swimming holding the fastest pace I could throughout the set. First 7 I was holding 2:58-3:00. I slowed through the middle to 3:00-3:01 then the last few I could feel myself starting to fall apart but managed to hang on to 3:03s. Not bad though given that was my first (recent) crack at a set like that. Mostly I was happy about how my brain operated - I managed to maintain really good focus for the nearly 49min that took.

Later I headed out on my bike for a short one... just ~75min mostly relaxed riding. No data so I don't know any hard facts about the ride, but I felt better than I expected and felt like HR was likely pretty low throughout, even when I was climbing. 10x30" quick strides off the bike, because I am in love with doing those these days. I saw pictures of myself running at Honu and clearly all those hip/glute exercises I did so diligently the last few months didn't make a difference in my run form at all... Just about every photo shows me sinking/collapsing into the ground, knees deeply bent so my quads clearly had to do a ton of extra work... like I was running through quicksand. Doesn't this just look hard? (sorry for stealing the pic but let's be honest, I'm not going to frame this one! Just trying to make a point.)

I'll still do some of those glute exercises b/c I think they help keep me running without pain (and they make for a great warm up prior to a key run), but I feel like I want to work on economy and efficiency as well b/c that's probably the thing that will make the biggest difference in my running. Short repeats of strides and hill reps are supposed to help with improving economy and efficiency so I'm going to put an emphasis on that the next 6 weeks or so and see if I can make a change.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Get Over It

I wrote a post yesterday but then I hesitated to actually publish it. I like being open and honest on this blog but I don't think I need to air all of my whines and moans. I think writing is cathartic for me, so really just typing out everything I was thinking and feeling was enough to help me get over it. "Recovering" from a race that felt like a bit of a disappointment is different than coming off a race where everything went great (I think the recovery becomes more mental vs physical). Maybe it signals a time to revamp what you're doing... but maybe you just chalk it up and say whatever and let it go and continue to move forward on your path.

I kind of think that my race performance on Saturday is something I'm not really going to be able to figure out. So maybe the best thing is to stop trying to figure it out? The real question might be How am I going to proceed forward? Every once in a while I get an inkling to hire another coach, but to be perfectly honest, I can't really see myself trusting another coach more than I trust myself. There's one coach who I could see myself hiring (and trusting) but I have already asked him (twice) to coach me and both times he turned me down. Maybe I am a lost cause? I might be uncoachable at this point. So the question remains... How will I move forward? Honestly the answer to the question might just be that I'll move forward the same way I've been moving forward. At the end of the day, I love this sport and I can't see myself quitting. Even if I'm never as fast as I was before (likely scenario, I'm starting to accept this), I can see myself continuing to train and race simply because I enjoy it. To be honest, even if I could have seen into the future and I knew that this year at Honu was going to be my slowest race there, I'd still go back and do it the same way. It was a really fun weekend! It remains my favorite race, even if I can't even look at my watch while I'm out there.

I haven't wanted to resume 'training' quite yet. I did swim 2k today all pretty cruisy. Thought about riding my bike but just felt ridiculously tired so I took a nap instead. I'm not sure how much of my perceived fatigue is real vs maybe just in my head (my mojo has been low the last few days!) but tomorrow I'm going to try to pry my head out of my ass and get back in my groove!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Honu 2016... The Trend Continues

I'm a bit at a loss of words here thinking about writing this race story. To be honest I'd like to just sort of gloss it over with a little blurb about how it wasn't the day I was hoping for/expecting, but it could have been worse, and that overall the weekend was really fun. #TheEnd

But there's no lessons to be learned in a recap like that, so I'll try to dig through the details a bit looking for something to learn...

If you've been following along for the last few months, you know how my training has gone. I felt quite good about it to be honest and I don't think (?) I was fooling myself. But then I go and race what was, across the board, one of my slowest half ironmans (ever!) so I have to scratch my head and start wondering.

The cannon went off signaling the start of my wave (last of the day) and I took off swimming strong and looked around and saw 3 other women who were off the front with me. My initial reaction was WTF? NO! This swim is MINE! But then I was like no wait- this is excellent! Women to swim with! I have respect for women who are good strong swimmers so I tucked in behind one gal in a blue speed suit and stayed on her feet until we got caught up in a cluster*ck of a mess at the final turn buoy. There was a lot of weaving and trying to avoid swimmers in waves ahead of us but I never got mad about it... just tried to manage best I could. I might have gone a bit wide on the last leg to shore (after I got separated from blue suit gal) but overall I felt happy enough with that swim while I was doing it. It's never going to be as fast now as it used to be when they let us all start together and I could just get in a pack and swim without worrying about dodging so many others from earlier waves, but 30+ min swim here is the longest its ever taken me in the 9 years I've done this race.

I really hope the race director will consider making a change to T1. It's a long run up a hill to the bikes (which is fine) but it's a narrow corral where athletes basically have to go single file for a bit... which is FINE for the men in the first wave but for women in the last wave who have caught a lot of non-competitive men in waves ahead, it's less than ideal. All it takes is for one tired guy to opt to walk up the hill and it becomes a complete bottleneck for everyone behind him. So basically I walked most of the way up the hill to my bike, with no other option due to the congestion.

Onto the bike there were some scary moments but again having done this for several years now I was mentally prepared for the mayhem that is the first 10 miles of this race. I rode with my powermeter for the first time and I think it's main function was to keep me from overcooking my effort on the early hills. This course is a lot of rollers... nothing really too steep but it's the kind of climbing where if you're working you can really (accidentally) put out a lot of watts. I got passed by a friend of mine (she started in the women's wave ahead of me but we got to T1 together) and I thought about going with her when she went by, but we were climbing and I looked at my power and was pushing 200+w while she was riding away and I was just like nope don't do it... My hope was that holding back in the beginning would allow me to be stronger in the end. And who knows, maybe I would have died off even worse had I gone by feel to start, but I don't feel like I finished very strong. I'll have to go back and look at the data, but I don't think my power avg was as high as I thought it would be. NP would be higher than the AVG I was looking at, but I hit lap a few times and basically just used the power to confirm how I was feeling. Overall I can't say I felt strong while riding. Instead it felt forced. And I sort of had an idea that I wasn't killing it (time-wise) on the bike but I really tried to just let that go and not judge it. One of my rules for myself while racing is that I don't judge anything until after I've crossed the finish line, because sometimes you think you're doing terrible but then after you see all the results you're like hey I wasn't doing as poorly as I felt like I was! So that's what I was trying to pretend was happening while I was out there. I felt like I was working as hard as I should have been working but I don't think I worked too hard. I ate and drank everything I planned (2x bottles Osmo, 2-3x waters, 2x bonk breaker bars spread out just a bite at a time, 3x gels, 4x e21 tabs) and that all felt right.

For the most part I was able to ignore the men around me and just do my thing (I think having my power meter helps with this bc I focus more on myself than the people around me) but at one point I was trying to pass a guy on a climb and he turned it into a drag race... I looked down at my garmin and my 30" avg was 261w (ugh) and I can't believe how calm I was when I said "You need to let me pass. I've initiated the pass. You need to fall back. If you want to repass me, you can, but you need to let me pass now." No yelling! No being pissy. Just explaining the rules. Go me. :)

I didn't see a lot of cheating/drafting going on. Coming down from Hawi I did get swallowed up by a pack of ~10 riders, including one woman. I sat up and stopped pedaling and let them go. It wasn't hard to avoid cheating if you wanted to avoid it. I feel really good about my own clean riding- there was never a time when a draft official would have called me out for anything, which is the same as every other race I do. I pride myself on riding fairly, even if my bike split might be a few minutes slower because of it.

T2 was a similar narrow chute where you were stuck behind whoever was going slowest in front of you. It is what it is, though again it would be nice if the race directors would take this into consideration when designing the width of the area where were are running in to the bike racks.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got off my bike and started running. Interestingly, it seemed like my legs actually felt better running than they did riding? That like never happens... I knew I hadn't had a stellar swim or ride but I thought it's fine maybe I'll salvage this with a decent run? (HA!) So I started jogging, really quite easy at first because I knew it was going to get hard... over cushy golf course grass at first then onto a concrete path where the series of short steep hills began. It hadn't felt that hot on the bike but at this point it felt HOT and with no wind it was really steamy, especially over the grassy parts. You could feel the humidity rise over the grassy sections and for me (likely for most!) it turned into a heat management situation... Stay as cool as you can... Ice in my bra, ice down the back of my top, ice in my hands, ice in my mouth...

I could go on and on about how hard this new run course is but unless you were out there, there's no truly explaining it. I was genuinely surprised that they managed to make it harder than the old course, but it really was, and everyone had the same story at the end... OMG That run!?! It was a lot on golf cart paths with these stupidly steep (but short) ups and downs. After the race I described it to someone as 2 hours of 30" hill reps done in a steam room with a heat lamp and no fan (training session idea for next year?? Lol). So while I wouldn't say I gave up on myself, I did sort of just let go of any competitive thought other than just put one foot in front of the other... It felt more like survival vs racing... Trying to avoid cramping because I was feeling little twinges pretty much the whole time. I walked up most of the steep inclines and through all the aid stations... I attribute the lack of complete seizing up of my legs to 2 things> I took Recovery e21 every few miles and I actively spoke nicely to my muscles. I know it sounds super hokey but I swear my legs cramp so hard when I start allowing negative thoughts into my brain. As soon as I start thinking 'I suck at this'... BOOM! Massive cramps. And when that happens I end up being stopped on the side of the road and unable to even walk and even more pissed and that's just a bad cycle. I managed to avoid that scene yesterday by not looking at my watch (at all!) and continually thanking my legs for doing such a great job (true or not!). I smiled as much as I could, giving the illusion that I was super happy, because that's the fastest way to get to the beer when everything feels like crap.
There were fleeting moments when I felt ok, and like I was running. Usually those came in the first few minutes after an aid station where I was able to dump cold water all over myself and refill my bra with ice. But most of that run was just survival. As is typical, I didn't feel like taking my gels, but I had a vision in my head of Nalani's son Caleb happily squealing GU! GU! GU! as he did the day prior to the race when we were all hanging out. So that memory sort of made me smile and I sucked down those gels. :)

I crossed the finish line (smiling with my hands up because YAY I was done and I was going to have a beer in hand soon!) and I didn't see a clock, but I heard Guy Hagi say my name and then he said 5:28... In my head I was thinking SHUT.UP. Could that possibly be right? I mean NO WAY 5:28?!... But I looked at my watch for the first time all day and indeed it was 12:28PM (we started at 7). I couldn't believe I was even slower (by a lot) than last year, which had been so much slower than the year before, etc etc etc.

To be completely honest, my coping mechanism was just block all of it out because I had no desire to ruin the after party by being disappointed about having just trained like I did and then coming away with one of my slowest 70.3 times ever. I mean, I used to be a complete hack about my training just doing whatever the heck I felt like all the time and even back then I was knocking out this course in 5:16-5:22 range... How the heck I'm slower now than I was back then is simply beyond my comprehension and I couldn't even really fathom it, so I just grabbed a beer and started drinking with my friends.
One of the best parts about this whole weekend is the after party of this race and I was bound and determined to not ruin it for myself or my family or my friends by sulking and being pissy. So I drank and I danced and I talked story and watched Moana limbo... It truly was a blast!
To be honest, I was shocked that 5:28 landed me on the podium, but getting up there for the 6th year in a row took a bit of the sting out of the personal worst time.
On my best day I don't think I had the fitness to win it this year, but I do think 2nd would have been well within my grasp had I just had a normal day. Would have could have should have... didn't.

The party continued into the evening. I did take about 15min to go for a walk with Nalani where I had a minor meltdown. She's such a good friend- all I said was that I needed a minute to be sad and she was on it like lets go for a walk! So we walked and I blabbed on and on for a bit... Then I put it away again and started drinking Guiness floats. :) Vanilla ice cream in Guiness! If you have not tried this you really should!! It's been a post race celebration tradition of ours since 2009.

Anyway, obviously I'm not done processing this all. But for now, that's my race story. I'm' sure there will be more to come as I continue to process it all and figure out what to do next.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Honu Pre-Race ~ Stop The Bleeding!*

So far so good! Travel yesterday was super smooth. Traveling with a 7yo is a lot easier than traveling with a younger kid... no diapers, no stroller... she even packed her own suitcase! Then when we checked into the condo we found out they upgraded us to a 2 bedroom vs the 1 bedroom I'd reserved and paid for so Moana was extra excited about having her own bedroom vs being on the couch. And the high pitched yelping when she opened her closet door and found a TV!!! It was almost like Christmas morning. :)

Anyway, it's nice up here in Waikoloa at Paniolo Greens. We are ~20min away from the race start but we are up the hill a bit and it's cooler and there aren't many triathletes around. Often I love being at races and being super social, but having some quiet time away from the action is good for me too. Bonus tip if you ever come race at Honu- it's WAY cheaper up here! Plus, there'a group of wild turkeys that roam the grounds so they are fun to watch.

I got up early this morning and went for a super short/easy jog. It was nice and cool out first thing... 20min of light trotting followed by 4x20" floating strides... finished feeling good.

Then was on to our favorite swim of the year this morning at Hapuna! I swear it was more like social hour because so many folks were there all around the same time so talk talk talk then a bit of swim then more talk talk talk! It was fun though I swam with Nalani and Lectie and Hailey. Didn't look at my watch so I don't know how long we swam but prob about 1/2 hour. I felt smooth and controlled and the water was perfect temperature and really there was just nothing to complain about at all. Mornings like this are really the reason I'll probably never be able to quit triathlon. #SoFun
Most everyone took off and left but Scott and Moana and I stayed for a while and floated around in the water. Moana made "sand-balls" and she and Scott had a sand-ball fight. Fun family time for sure!
I dropped my run stuff off, came home and ate, then rode my bike down to drop it off at T1. Was only ~20min bike ride and most of it was easy, though I did give a few little efforts up to race power on the incline sections and was quite happy with how easy 190w felt. Legs functioning... check!

So everything was taken care of by 1PM then it's just been hang out, socialize, eat, socialize, eat some more, etc.

I'm assuming most of you know how to follow along with the race online tomorrow if you are so inclined to do so... If you're wondering what my goals are, here they are: Beat myself from the last 3 years. My results here have steadily gotten worse over the last 5 years... slower every year! 4:53, 5:07, 5:15, 5:15, 5:20... GAH! So I've been training the last few months with one goal in mind... Stop The Bleeding! I don't think I'm in shape to get under 5 hours again but I do think 5:10* might be reasonable... but really, anything that indicates that I'm stopping that trend of getting slower every year is what I'm after. The only thing about that goal is that the run course is different this year... so there's no saying if it's going to be faster or slower or about the same? So that goal of course should have an asterisk* because the run course is sort of an unknown. I have a hard time believing the course could be slower than the old course (the old course was a really freaking slow course!) but who knows...

I doubt I'll blog tomorrow because I will be drunk starting immediately after the race. :) But maybe Sunday or Monday I'll tell the race story how it all went down.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ok, Don't Panic!

I think our swim session this morning was the shortest one I've done in, well, I can't remember how long? 2400m and boom. Done! I decided before I went that I was going to swim strong today. On my 1000 w/u this morning I would have actually lapped myself (long course pool) on the 1000 w/u I did last week Friday! Ha! Nice to know I have some gears when I opt to use them anyway. Neg split 15:25 as 7:46/7:39.

Then we did a short main set:
6x100's strong @1:40 (held 1:24-1:26)
100 easy
3x200's strong @3:15 (2:56, 2:55, 2:55)
100 easy

So that was the last quality swim I'll do before the race on Saturday. We'll swim Friday morning and do most (if not all) of the course (buoys are typically set up) but it'll be relaxed effort looking for fish and whatnot. I LOVE swimming at Hapuna Beach so I'll be in my happy place for sure this weekend.

Short ride today as well just 50min which included a short warm up then 4x1min heavy gear efforts on 1' spin recoveries... Those were just for further warm up, which I clearly needed b/c I felt like ass to start. That first 1' piece was like 203w and felt HARD and I was like, um, ok don't panic... It got better 214, 225, 243. Then again super short set just 3x3min at 220w. And boy I nailed 220 on the head each time as I'd given myself strict instructions prior to the ride NO HARDER than 220. We had some wind today and I found it fun to look back on my garmin at avg speed for those 3' pieces just to see how strong the wind was... on two of those I avg ~19mph. The other was 26.3! So I wasn't imagining the wind. Short cool down then off the bike 10x30" relaxed strides on 30" rest. Goal was to just float through those quick but not strained, form focus. I finished that little brick and felt invigorated, which was the goal.

We go to Kona tomorrow morning. My Training Peaks calendar for tomorrow says Day Off. No kidding! So I won't blog tomorrow because I'll have nothing to report about training. :)

Forecast for this weekend calls for light winds, muggy conditions. On the whole, I predict a fast swim/bike and lots of melting on the run...