Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Triathlon Training Thursday - Masters Swim Class

It is probably time to get that countdown going again but I have to pull out a calendar and figure it out so for the moment that's a next week item. Ironman France is about 5 months away. (insert silent freakout here).

This morning I went to my first 90 minute masters swim group / class / workout. Now let's take a moment so I can tell you about my masters swim group because based on my limited experience it's a bit non-traditional.

Right down the street from me a local private high school built a beautiful aquatic center. It's really nice. But when I first joined the masters program totally stank. It was really just expensive free swim. And as a result the pool was basically empty. Which was nice but it was pointless so I eventually quit and just swam at the gym, by myself which I hated and I knew wasn't doing me any good.

Apparently the school program mirrored the crappy masters program. Meaning the school administration who most likely would like a winning swim team fired the coach and brought in a new one. He in turn brought in a new masters coach. A cute little spitfire named Jamie. She was great. She taught me flip turns and encouraged me a lot. During this time a lot of faster swimmers have joined the masters program and in fact so many that during the lunch sessions lane-sharing is mandatory.

If you get up at 5. You still get your own lane :-)

Jamie always made 2 sets. The fast set and the slow set. The slow set could be called Amy's workout because I'm usually the only slow one who is there. So generally I was always doing a slightly different workout than the rest of the group. Sometimes it was lonely but I made big improvements under Jamie so I didn't mind.

Recently they brought in a new masters coach - Andrew and he does things a little differently. Now, don't worry about Jamie she just moved to the younger kids which she loves. First of all he lenghtened the morning workout. Used to be just 6-7. He asked would anybody come from 5:30-7. This was at 6 am when I was still sort of asleep and I think I might have said mmrfhtph mmsvvsvs... and nodded.  I only have a 2-minute drive to the pool so I really am pretty much asleep when I get there.

Longer Workouts
Later when I was more awake I realized how lucky I was he was doing this. I had been concerned on how I would get enough yardage in building up to the IM distance. 90 minute sessions would help a lot. Getting up earlier ... not so much fun. But for 5 months I can suck it up.

He also runs one workout. So everybody starts the intervals all at the same time. It took me a little while to figure out how this would work since I am not nearly at all in the same ballpark as fast as these other folks. Some of them are just screaming fast. These are long time swimmers who in the morning session have coffee at the end of the lane line. Okay only one guy does that but seriously he must have a stomach of steel.

So I was a little out of sorts with Andrews workouts at first. He gives a lot of instruction which is good but I found myself wondering if he maybe just wanted to coach fast swimmers and the point of all this was to flush out the slowpokes. But following some life instructions that I learned when I was about 20, okay-  fine probably 30 years old - "if you don't understand, ask" - I spoke up and asked,  "what can I do since I can't keep up?" And low and behold he gave me shorter distances on the same interval. Also he wants me to wear my fins a lot. I'm nervous about that but we'll see. I'm nervous because in June I obviously have to do the 2.4 mile swim sans (that's french for without) fins.

So for example today they were doing 200s on 3:00. I did 150 on the same 3:00. Most of the time it works out pretty well. Sometimes I end up on the wrong side of the pool if I'm doing 75s when they do 100s but that's no big deal. It is nice to be doing the same thing as the whole group of fishies. I do sometimes chuckle (silently to myself) when he announces the set 200 on 3:00 or 150 on 3:00 - I only chuckle because I'm the only one doing the 150. I wonder if the other swimmers are thinking to themselves ... who's the slowpoke? :-) That's okay - I'm happy being the slowpoke in these sets because it will help me get faster.

So today I went about 3500 yards. To be honest I'm not totally sure - the full set was 4350 but remember I don't do some of the full distances and when I went back to add it up I wasn't sure about some parts. That's about 1500 yards more than I've ever done in an hour. I had to wear fins for a lot of the workout. In the beginning it was to hit the shorter intervals. Toward the end it was because I was really tired. This is also the first time maybe ever my legs are tired from a swim workout. My legs are really tired. Walking up here to write this was ouchie.

In other news I've found a guy who does bike coaching on a computrainer. So I'm trying that tomorrow. This is to hopefully help me with hill training since we have no hills here. Wish me luck.

And I found this online. Parts of it are pretty funny. #64 made me chuckle in it's trueness.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Carla runs the ING Half Marathon - a race report, of sorts

So I didn't really take this race seriously.

I had always said I was running the race. I dabbled with the idea of running the full marathon but then I realized there wasn't really enough time for me to ramp up the mileage so I just said I'd run the half-marathon. But then I never actually registered. Oops.

Luckily my friend Ben had an extra bib from his wife Carla who wasn't running. So for the day I was Carla. It was all good. I didn't even have to go to the expo.

Digression - Big Kid Swim Meet
I spent the day before at my daughter's first swim meet. It was awesome. She didn't win or sweep the meet or anything but she got out there and did her swim thing. That takes a lot of courage.

All ready - sporting the parka to be warm in the cool air. Special thanks to my AWESOME sister-in-law who made sure we got the parka in time for the meet. I accidentally sent it to her house ... oops.
"Cheering" for his big sister swimming the 200 free. Also known as trying not to drop your banana in the pool. It was the first heat of the first event and she was in it. I'm not sure if that was good or not. I guess she didn't have too much time for her nerves to get the better of her was the good side. She's still pretty afraid of diving off the blocks but she did a great job (read: bellyflop).

The swimmer in front pretty bored because there were not any other girls to hang with meanwhile notice that the little brother who isn't even on the team  is totally hanging with the boys and their game machines.  

This is a video of my little swimmer doing her best in the 50 free. Since she had no times for anything she was in the first heat of everything she did. But the down side of that was that there were some seriously fast girls next to her in every race. She did give this her all in fact you can see she totally runs out of steam at the end and swims all crooked.

Now back to my race. 

OMG what an early day. The race starts at 6:15. Sheesh. So up at 4. Yes 4. Met my friends at 4:30 and we all went in one car to the start.
Here we are in the car. It's dark and also a terrible photo. Oh well.

Here is the group of us before the race.

My plan really was to just treat this as a training day so when I say I had no nerves at the start I mean it - I was just chilling and that was great. It was already 70 degrees at 6 am and really humid. There was a beautiful full moon.

This is where I ended up at the start. Since I don't take it seriously at this race the start is just annoying. If I was going for a time I'd be really annoyed.
Because it was such an early start I ate a luna bar for breakfast which I never do anymore instead of my regular oatmeal. No biggie but once I was all closed into the start coral I realized I needed to visit the port-o-pottie. Not gonna happen. So I stopped at the first one I saw on the route after the stop. Seriously 1/2 way up the macarthur Bridge. Hee hee. There were 2 people in front of me so I waited. It was a long time but I kept reminding myself - just a training day and I didn't stress at all. But I should have timed it just to know how much time I lost for fun.
I found my friend Tony along the way. That's why I keep doing this race. So many local folks run it - it's like a party.

The race was -- well the race. It's super crowded and not super well organized for such a big race. The organizers put all these little cones in the road to direct traffic and runners and it was stupid. The runners fell over them in the dark and then later in the day I saw the the signs were too low down for the cars to read them so they did no good. Oh well it's what I expect from this race. But it is nice to race close to home and to see so many friends along the way.

Here I am at the finish. 2:08 with the long potty stop. I was happy with that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

5 months and counting

I got an email from Ironman France yesterday that there are just 5 months to go.

Hmmm ... I feel unprepared. Eeek.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why 140.6 ... I'm definitely not nuts. Part One.

I follow a blog - she recently wrote a post about the breeds of triathletes. It's a good post but I didn't feel like her description of the long course athlete included me because I'm not nuts, I haven't checked my sanity or my common sense at the door and I do love it.

I will admit I used to think that the long course races 70.3 or 140.6 were extreme because they are such long events and they do take such a high level of committment to complete them. But I've gone through what I'll call the long course "evolution."

Do you "need" to do a long course event to be a triathlete. Nope.
Now, not everybody likes long course events - so it's not for everybody. In my opinion a triathlete is somebody who does triathlons of any distance at any pace - which is to say there's nothing special to me about those of us who choose to go the longer distance. Really - it's just a choice. In fact I'll readily admit that it takes more training and more effort to win a sprint tri than to complete a long course event.

It has to be fun
I wouldn't do it if it wasn't fun. For me it is fun. I enjoy it. I train and race with a smile on my face.

I train with some younger folks and one of them recently completed his first Ironman. He really felt like he was missing out on his life towards the end. He gave up drinking and socializing to complete his race. He's very happy with his achievement but he did feel like he made sacrifices.

I also train with an older triathlete. He does 1-2 Ironman races a year. He'll go out with his wife to a party the night before a bike ride and still get up and ride. He's at the office everyday by some insane hour of 5 or 6 so he trains in the afternoons and evenings. He's a jokester. But he loves it and he always says - it's got to be fun. If it's not fun don't do it. That's what I think too. For me it's fun.

Why - part one
I don't mind getting up at 4 am on a Saturday to run because I get to run with the sunrise and my day is always better after that.

I don't feel like I'm missing out on happy hours or Friday nights because honestly I'd rather go to bed and see my friends in the morning. If something special is happening on a Friday - fine. I go and I have fun. But I went to plenty of happy hours in my 20s - I loved them but I don't miss them.

I have made some of my best friends training for marathons and triathlons. I had a running partner who called them Kindergarten friends. By the end of training for a long race together you know "everything" about that person.

For me I find that during a solo run or a solo bike ride there is usually a moment of "zen" or being totally in the "moment" that minute where your breathing is all there is. It's as if you can feel and hear your heartbeat through your whole body. Sometimes I feel like my heartbeat and my footstrike are synchronized.  Sometimes on the bike I feel like I'm almost flying without leaving the ground.  With that comes a sense of calm that is truly special. I'll admit it's my way of meditating. I'll also admit it is intoxicating because it's chasing that "moment" that pulls me back to the road. I will also clarify that this "zen" moment has never happened to me indoors on a trainer or treadmill.

Swimming is my least favorite of the disciplines in triathlon. But I have finally made peace with the swim. I find swimming to be a little bit lonely and quite honestly I'm not very good at it. So I've come to terms with that and whadda ya know I occasionally look forward to a workout. I used to have a lot of issues with tension in my shoulders. As it turns out swimming helps with that. It stretches out my muscles and it's good for me. Also my arms look awesome for an old lady which is pretty great.

So these are the basics -next up why 140.6 I have to think about that for a little while because sometimes I'm not totally sure myself.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Iron Anxiety

Ahhh Monday morning.

Fresh start to the week.

I did not get up and go to the pool this morning because I had a terrible night sleep last night. I can sometimes be an insomniac. So, it happens.

I experience two types of sleepless nights. The first is when I'm just awake reading and just never really fall asleep until early morning. While those nights are irritating I've learned not to worry about those - just ride them out. I used to get very nervous when I wasn't falling asleep but I've learned that doesn't help. The next day will drag but it's not impossible.

The other is the anxiety insomnia night. I'll repeatedly fall asleep and then shortly after falling asleep wake up quickly. To be honest my life is pretty stress-free since I don't have a traditional job and at the moment all four kiddos are non-stress inducing so I don't have this kind of sleeplessness all that often.

But last night I was super tired from a long training day. I packed my swim bag and fell asleep quickly. But I was up again an hour later. And then every half hour or so it felt like. I knew the cause because I had thoughts of Ironman France running through my brain all night. My big fears are not completing the swim. Not making the bike cutoff and then feeling like crap and not being able to run the marathon.

Yup, basically the whole thing.

Around midnight I turned off the 5:30 am alarm and took a Tylenol PM. Somewhere after that I did conk out. I know that this kind of insomnia isn't all that uncommon. In fact a lot of women I know use a sleep aid like Lunesta or Ambien at night.

I used to get it more often when I worked in an office job and I felt overwhelmed by what I needed to accomplish. I developed a technique that I would write out my biggest to do items in the night if I couldn't sleep and usually that would calm my nerves enough to conk out.

I've never had a race goal that gave me this kind of anxiety this far out from the race. It's interesting. At one point in the night I was thinking to myself - why am I doing this? I never asked that in marathon training or 70.3 training either.

My instinct is that it's the uncertainty of the whole event that's causing the anxiety. On yesterday's ride we had a lot of flat tires. None of them mine. It was a long time out on the bike but not huge mileage (only 40 miles). A lot of talking in the breaks about who was doing what. Those who completed Cozumel still haven't picked a new race. Those training for 2013 Florida have a long way to go and then it's me with under 6 months till Ironman France. Eeek. They were calling yesterday's ride, "Amy's Ironman training." It's cute but it might have stressed me during the sleeping time a little bit.

Then I spent the afternoon with my in-laws. My mother-in-law asked at one point, " you must be nervous about the race?" Not too helpful actually. She means well but she doesn't understand why I do this. She then said,"well even if the race doesn't work out you'll still have a fantastic family vacation." which is true, but that's not my ideal plan. I'd like to finish the race smiling and then have a terrific family vacation. Yes have the cake and eat it too.

My coach usually gives me one week of training at a time. Usually that's fine but I am going to ask him to go over the general framework of the timeline of training for the race with me so that I know what's coming. I have a feeling that understanding the plan will help me work through this in my mind. Since it will probably take him more than 5 minutes to get back to me I'm going to go ahead and frantically research online training programs ... just kidding. I'll only do that if I don't hear from him by tomorrow :-)

Friday, January 11, 2013

The 5:30 wake up call

How many days of waking up at 5:30 in the morning does it take before you're ready to sleep at 9:00 pm?


Monday 5:30 am- swim.
Tuesday 5:30 am - trainer/run
Wednesday 5:30 am - swim

By Wednesday night I was ready to go to sleep with my kids. They go to bed at 8. The good thing is that getting up at 5:30 on Thursday was pretty easy.

Today is my "rest day" I slept in until 7:00. I did wake up a 5:45 and see the clock which means my body is resetting for the 5:30 wake up as normal which is good. It's easiest when I'm just waking up then not being woken up by the alarm.

As much of a challenge as it is to get up so early my life is much better when I'm up and done by 7 with the workouts and can then devote myself to the kiddos/husband during the day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Triathlon Training Thursday - I need to get this countdown started

Adding to my to do list: how many weeks until Ironman France? Check back for the answer :-)

Last weekend somebody posted to their Facebook this video from Lululemon which was from a young woman whose goal was to qualify for Kona before 2020. She did - early even so it's a good story. She mentions that everyday she asked herself what did she need to do today that would get her to Kona.

That resonated with me. I'm trying to do that now for myself. What do I need to do today to get to the finish line at Ironman France?

Right now that answer is go get my tempo run done so I'm going to go ahead and publish this blog post as is and go do that.

Laters - A

Monday, January 7, 2013

Today training gets a little more serious

I had a mini internal freak out regarding the impending Ironman in June this weekend.

Training Update
The freakout was because it feels to me like its right around the corner and I am afraid that all my base training is slipping away. It was mini because I kept it to myself (as in I did not yell at my hubby or kiddos) and because it went away.

My training group was not really riding together on Sunday and first I was trying to find others to ride with and I did but then my group got it's stuff together and decided to ride but only for two hours. I was concerned that 2 hours wouldn't be enough. So I ignored my children for about 20 minutes and looked up online training plans and saw that they start with 90 minute rides so I relaxed and went ahead and road with my group.

The ride was good. I had not forgotten how to ride my bike. I actually had a little bit of power. But it's good that I am getting back on track because I felt the ride in my legs yesterday and then this morning in the pool I ended with 300 kick with flippers and let's just say that there was a smidge of lactic acid in the old leggeroos. Which is to say - my legs felt like lead weights attached to my hips.

Today I did make it to masters swimming. The pool was set to long course - which I love but it made it a little tougher I think. Also I have a new swim coach so this was my first session with him. He's nice - a little more intense than the previous coach but it's all good. As this masters program grows there are more faster swimmers and I'm just telling myself it's good for me to swim with faster swimmers.  I plan to swim M-W-F mornings except if I take one of those days and swim in open water.

Funny things I've found lately that I just need to share:
The flu is going around. We haven't had it yet but we'll see. But here's a super funny letter to Nyquil. This chick is hysterical. I don't take NyQuil anymore because once in high school when I was trying to survive a cold I somehow passed out asleep in the hallway between my bedroom and the bathroom  in a NyQuil induced coma. I have no memory of how I got there.  It's funny - read it.

And more related to triathlon this video is cute.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

False starts

I'm a speedy reader and normally I can read anything but I have recently tried two books that I just can't get through.

First I tried re-reading Life of Pi. I had actually read this years ago and forgotten it. But with the movie out and whatnot I figured I would re-read it. This is honestly the dumbest story I've ever tried to read. Apologies to anyone who loves it -  but seriously man in lifeboat with zebra, hyena and a seasick tiger? I dunno for some reasonI have an easier time accepting the fiction of a small hairy-toed person who lives in a tree and battles goblins (The Hobbit) than this. 

After giving up on that book I started reading on the Kindle: Wheatbelly. Let me summarize this book for you. Wheat is bad. Okay now you don't have to read it.

So the author of this book is severly Gluten intolerant and apparently a little bitter about his personal situation so it seems that he dove into researching the evils of wheat and gluten and wrote this book to make himself feel better about it by proving that nobody else should eat wheat either. I'm not saying he's wrong it's just that I found the book to have a very preachy and vindictive tone.

That being said I don't think it's a secret that if you want to lose weight cutting out bread and other cereal grains is one way to make that happen. In fact years ago when my husband was on the Atkins diet he was telling my mom about the diet. She's not known for giving health advice but she said oh that sounds like a diet I did when I was trying to lose weight after Amy (that's me) was born. So the whole cut out the bread idea ... not new.

Seriously, who approves these book ideas and where oh where are the editors to make them readable?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reclaiming my life from the little screen in my pocket

My son and I at midnight. How tired does he look? But he made it to midnight. Asleep at 12:02. A total wreck today.

First goal cut waaaaay back on Facebook.

It has come to my attention that I may have been spending too much time on Facebook lately. Initially I thought these comments were inaccurate but then recently when I was in Mexico for all of 48 hours I had limited Internet access.

I really noticed not having access to Facebook and that was when I began to realize that I might have a problem -- EEEK!

First step - I took Facebook off my phone. Good move because I do check it still about a zillion times a day and the only thing that has stopped me from slipping is that the app isn't there.

I hope that this will help me reclaim some more time in my life good for things like talking to these small people who are usually around me and other taller folks who keep telling me that they are my friends.

Wish me luck!

In other news - I started the year with a nice easy resolution run.
A real perk of living in Miami is the proximity to the beach but this is only I think my second run on the sand. It's very firm sand and it was a lot of fun.