Monday, February 25, 2013

17 weeks and counting

This week one of my mommy friends asked me how training was going. I said fine. She said, "It's getting close, right?" I said, "yes." She asked, "are you nervous?" I said, "yes."

I am nervous but I'm trying to just stick to the workouts and trust that if I do all the training I'll make it through the race.

This week I missed a swim workout. I was scheduled to swim Monday but I was driving back from Orlando. So that was scratched. I planned to do it Friday when I had a rest day  but as luck would have it my masters coach overslept Friday so there was no practice. I'm not going to stress too much about it.

I did get 10 and a half hours of training done and I chaperoned a kindergarten field trip which seriously should count as a workout. So, I'm happy with that.

This is Gaby and me at the end of the ride. Notice how my helmet matches my Rev3 jersey ... I'm accidentally coordinated.
This week we did our long ride on Saturday because coach had a 1st birthday to attend on Sunday. Works for me.  I had an extra half hour on my ride scheduled than the rest of the group so Gabe rode that extra 30 with me. Sadly on the way back he got cramps which was a bummer but I felt good the whole way back. I feel like I am making progress on the bike so that's good.

Now the long run Sunday. That S-t-u-n-k. My legs felt like they were filled with cement and my hip flexors felt really sore. They may have actually been spasming. It did not feel good at all. This is after a 60 mile ride and with a full day of rest. I'm not exaggerating when I say I was slogging along with 12 minute miles. My heart rate was low but I just could not get my legs to go any faster.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot what have I gotten myself into?

In other news we've hit a new threshold in how much Amy can eat. Tuesday I did a broken brick. I biked before the kids went to school. On the trainer in the garage for 60 minutes or so. Then ate breakfast and took the kids to school. Then came home and did my 30 minute run. During the 30 minute run I was fantasizing about fried rice.

I know... completely random, right?

So, I did what any other Ironman training housewife would do. I made fried rice when I got home and I ate it. I had left over white rice in the fridge so it wasn't that complicated - don't be too impressed with my culinary prowess. I called it an early lunch ... at 10:30. What can I say, I was hungry.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crazy is apparently a matter of perspective

Whenever I start to think that my pursuit of the Ironaman is a little crazy I do what any other perfectly sane person would do.

I search for people doing even crazier crap on the Internet.

Two years ago my "find crazier people"  Internet search led me to the Badwater Ultra Marathon. That's some crazy stuff there, people.

Fast forward two years and I actually personally know somebody who has completed the Badwater race. He actually seems, normal. In fact I would say he's nice and intelligent and very philanthropic. Although he is clearly attracted to ultra distance stuff.

He recently did a fundraiser where he did 1,000 pull ups in a Lululemon store to raise money. I think I might be able to do 2 pullups (with the easy grip).

This year that same guy is going to compete in something called Furnace Creek 508. Look it up. It's one long bike ride. To qualify he recently did a 300 mile ride in 24 hours. That itself seems like a lot to me. But it's not the most extreme thing people are doing.

One of his friends / training buddies Jen Vogel,  completed an Ultra Triathlon (yes there is such a thing). A Double Ironman. Give it a second. Let that sink in.  A double Ironman. And just wait ... The swim for this double Ironman is in a swimming pool. I'm not making this up. Look it up here yourself. 

I don't know her personally but clearly these folks are amazing endurance athletes.

What's more if you keep your eyes open you meet people all over the place doing things like this. I recently learned that one of the dad's in my daughter's gymnastics team is planning on running 4, one hundred mile ultra marathons this year. That's impressive.

Plus if you haven't heard about RAAM. That's one extreme race, especially if you do it solo. 

And I think the most extreme thing I've found is the DecaIronman. This you have to read to believe.

More importantly the fact that these folks are doing these amazing ultra things makes my pursuit of a single, albeit somewhat hilly, Ironman seem much more reasonable and far less nerve wracking.

Also, I want to add. None of these things is on my to do list. Nuh uh. nope. no way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

18 weeks - the late update

I should never declare that I will try to post on certain days because it's just a way of making sure I'll never be able to do that. Hence this is the post that I should have done Monday.

In truth I was driving home from Orlando Monday so it wasn't gonna happen. Anyway - this week marks 18 weeks to go.

To get some hill practice we headed to Clermont Florida this weekend. It just so happened to be the coldest weekend of the year. So the training didn't go exactly as planned.
Here we are ready to swim. It was pretty cold out still but we did it. Only about a half mile. Still we get brave points for not wussing out. We are in Florida after all. Winter is only 5 days long.

The schedule was - Olympic distance brick Saturday. Long ride Sunday. The Olympic brick worked out fine. The Long ride Sunday was only 20 minutes long. It was only 38 degrees and apparently with wind chill it was in the 20s and at about 15 minutes we called it a day and didn't ride.

This is my coach Sunday morning. The face mask was key. Also the heavy gloves are super important. It was my face and my fingers that were freezing right away. 
So we didn't do so many huge hills as it turns out. 520 feet of climbing. I only have to add about 6000 feet and it would be just like France. Okay - next trip. On the good news front my top speed was 30.6 and this is important because last year in April I went and did do the big hills and my top speed was 32. So I'm not braking (as much).

I also made a new friend. David who is racing Ironman France. That's good because I'll know somebody on the start line. He is much more ready than I am and to be honest he and I spoke about how I really might not make the finish which is true but I'm going to do my best to make it. He tried to scare me that I only had 15 hours but we checked and I have 16 hours so that's good.

Other good news included that I actually got a compliment from the swim coach Andrew. I am the only non-swimmer in the group which means I am the slowest by a lot. But last Wednesday he said, "your freestyle is looking good, very smooth." I did a mental fist-pump and proceeded to skip the Friday practice because it was the day after Valentine's day and seriously who can get up at 5 am after a late dinner? Not this girl that's for sure.

So last week in a recap I swam 6600 yards (go me!), about 6 hours on the bike and ran about 14 miles. My record keeping was a little off for the biking and running because I was so in a fog after the worlds hardest bike training session Thursday that I left my watch recording all afternoon. Oops.

In other cuteness - the reason we headed to Orlando / Clermont was for my biggest sprout's Gymnastics competition. She did very well. 7th in her age group and here she is showing off all her Blue Ribbons!
She's so proud! And of course I'm super proud of her!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Training for hills when their are no hills

I wrote this on Friday about my Thursday Biking session but then I was out of town for the weekend so it's a few days late. oops. 
Alright so I've signed up for this crazy mountain race even though I live in the super flat tropics. In order to hopefully successfully finish this race I have found a bike trainer. Not the stationary machine ... I do have that but this is a man who meets with me and we put my bike on his computrainer and he suporvises my workout.

The first session was a threshold test. This is where /he we determined my threshold including an approximation of my vo2max. I say approximation because I wasn't connected to the oxygen testing mask.

I've done a few sessions and he's very helpful. Yesterday's session kicked my butt. I can honestly say I'm more ready for France today than I was yesterday. Here's what we did approximately:

10 minute warm up
Off the bike - some squats, one leg squats, jumps, and plank
15 minutes at 150 watts and 70 cadence
Off the bike - more jumps and squats
15  minutes 150 watts and 65 cadence
Off the bike - more jumps and squats
15 minutes 160 watts and 55 cadence
Off the bike - more jumps and  squats
15 minutes 70 cadence and I forget the watts

It was really hard. Especially the first 15 minutes.  During that set my heart rate was at 173 for at least 10 minutes. What's important about that number is that my threshold is about 171-172.

What is amazing is that almost immediately my mind went to a very dark place. It's important to note that this has never happened to me in a race. I've never hit the wall,and thought I can't go on. I came close during rev3 but I stopped and ate a gu and went on. But in this session my thoughts were incredibly grim.

My dark thoughts included:
  • "I can't do this and if I can't do this how can I even think about doing this race I'll never make it up the mountain."
  • "Why isn't this clock moving?!?
  • "I need to slow down."
  • "I'm pretty sure I can't breathe."
  • "Why isn't this clock moving?!?"

Then amazingly the coach said, "stay positive, you can do this. Don't let you're thoughts get dark. And he encouraged me and made me stay at that limit through the interval.

Then we did the squat jumping thing and then in the next interval my heart rate was around 170. And the difference was amazing. While I was working my tail off I never had a dark thought.

3 beats a minute. That's the difference between hard but I can go on and I'm a loser who can't do this. That's a good lesson.

When I thought back to it I realized that of course, the trainer had known that I was above my threshold and what that meant mentally even if I didn't. Sneaky. That's how he knew to tell me to stay positive without me even saying anything. But I'm glad he knows what he's doing and that I made it through.

In Chris Mccormack's book, I'm here to win. He talks about being ready for the dark times during an Ironman race. He says you know they are coming so be prepared with what you will tell yourself to make it through. Honestly before yesterday I thought I had a good handle on that but now I realize I just had never been to this  dark spot of a spot before.

Now that I have I can work on my strategy to survive it during the race. As I said I'm more ready today than I was yesterday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I demand a recount

My race in France is the same day as a race here in the states. Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

Recently on a much more popular blog that I happen to read because she is training for IMCDA and so we should be on about the same schedule she mentioned she was 4 months and 12 days away. I think we're 19 weeks away. So I couldn't make those two things add up. In my mind 4 months would be 16 weeks plus 12 days is not 19 weeks. Commence freak out.

EEEEK do I have less time than I thought!

So I printed out my calendar and numbered the weeks. It turns out it's both.  A little like how old is a baby when 4 weeks does not always equal one month. If you never had a baby you may not get it but the birthday is always on the xx of the month and some months have more weeks than others. Sometimes it's not the same.

It is still 19 weeks. But if you count month to month from the 23rd you get 4 months and 12 days - yesterday.

But I'm right. Just saying :-)
Okay fine - she's right too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Countdown to Ironman France - 19 weeks

For months and months I've done my countdowns on Thursdays and for all of these months it has been confusing to me.

Since it's my blog ... and I'm in charge here! I'm changing that to Monday because it's best for me to keep things simple.

And so there. 19 weeks to go starting today. EEEEK.

Last week by the numbers
Total training time 13.3 training hours.
6150 yards in the pool
22 miles run
6.5 hours on the bike.

Saturday was my rest day and let me assure you I was tired. What's important about that is that this is not a peak week yet. Nope, no such luck there.

Keeping my eye on the "ball"
Okay the "ball" here is the race in 19 weeks. The key is to stay on task and not lose my focus. Plus not get burned out. How am I going to do that?
  • I'm going to try to stay relaxed. Just do the workouts one day at a time.
  • I'm going to try to  plan ahead for key weeks / weekends.   
  • Surround myself with positive people who are helping me get to my goal.
  • I'm not going to compare myself or my workouts to others around me.  A lot of people I know did a century ride this weekend. I didn't. I thought I might but it wasn't on the plan so I didn't. There will be plenty to come.
  • Lastly, find others training for even nuttier things than myself always makes me feel better. Currently one person I know is training for Furnace Creek 508. Look it up. It's nutty. This weekend he'll be completing 300 miles on the bike in 24 consecutive hours to qualify for that race. See ... just knowing that's out there makes me feel more sane.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Triathlon Training Thursday on Friday - Countdown to Ironman France 20 weeks

20 weeks to go. This is the 20th week. I'm going to move the countdown update to Monday's because that's when I start my training week. So Monday we start 19 weeks to go. I figured it out earlier this week and there was a wee bit of freak out.

Why a freak out.? Well because a marathon training program is 16-20 weeks. Ironman is much bigger than a marathon so it shocked me a little bit that there were only 20 weeks to go.

But I think I'm at peace with it now. I mean I only had one sleepless night this week and that was because of interuptions not stress. And also I figured out that if I had to run a marathon today I could do it. Logically, speaking that shows me that it's not like I'm at day one of a marathon program.  I'm confident I could run a nice 70.3 at this point. I'm not sure how a full 140.6 would feel. I might make it on an easy course but I'm not sure. If I did it wouldn't be pleasant. I honestly have mental conversations with myself like this ... it's a little bizarre.

Earlier this week I had a few hours where I thought I was without a coach. It was a little stressful -I'm not gonna lie.

I know many athletes coach themselves with great success. But I'm not that girl. I rely on my coach. I trust my coach. He says run - I run. I could tell myself to run and I'd run. Until something came up and then I'd skip it and be under trained on race day. I'm less likely to do this when somebody else tells me to run. And he says run faster and I do. If I tell myself to run faster I wimp out. This is a personality flaw but I know it about myself and so I have a coach.

So coach's personal life was getting pretty intense and I knew that. And the workouts weren't always there the week before and it was stressing me out. I started shopping for a new replacement coach and I was anxious very anxious because unlike a marathon or now even a 70.3 I'm not entirely sure I could get ready for this race on my own.  Getting to know a new coach was a stress I wasn't interested in at the moment.

Luckily, he's back in the game and as a plus I've lined up my back up plan. Folks to ride with if needed and schedules to follow. All is good. But to be honest when I heard he was back on my side I was very relieved. It's hard to explain but I know he can get people through a full Ironman. He coached a person to the finish line of my exact race last year and that gives me a sense of peace. If I do what he says when he says I will be okay. That's worth a lot because I can stress myself out all by myself on a bunch of other things, like jet lag. :-)

Eat - workout - eat - workout 
I haven't entered into the intense period of training yet. Oh dear. But yet for the end of this week I seriously felt like what I did was eat- workout - eat, workout and then shower. That's all. They were both 2 workout days. Good thing tomorrow is a rest day.

And now I'm very tired so I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

That is Ironman Training

"The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other finds and excuse."
~Sir John Marks Templeton
Several months back I was on a group ride. I think I was doing 35-40 miles and one of the other folks in the group (named, Randy btw) had I think a 5 or 6 hour bike ride. I remember it seemed really long at the time. I kept my mouth shut but one of the other newbies did mention that it seemed really long. Randy mentioned that the day before he'd run a lot of miles. My memory fails me but probably 16 or so. Back-to-back long run - long ride. I remember thinking, that's nuts. 

When the other newbie questioned his workouts Randy simply said, "that's Ironman training."

Last night I didn't get much sleep. I did get to bed on time that wasn't the problem. But my husband got up and made extra noise around 3:15 and that woke me up. Once I'm up I have trouble going back to sleep (it's just how I'm wired). Then at 4 my son came in to the room because he had a bad dream. I tossed and turned and debated not getting up when the alarm went off at 5:10 but then I heard Randy's voice in my head. That's Ironman training. 

And so it is.

And so, I got up and I hit the pool.

The workout seemed impossible. I wanted to stop at 5:50. I was never really able to catch my breath - which seems crazy at this stage in the game. I couldn't seem to find any speed in the water. Of course, I was also a little nauseated after a while and I wanted to stop. But still Randy's voice was in my head. That's Ironman training. So I didn't stop. I kept slogging along for the whole workout. Somewhere between 3000 and 3500 yards. And I'll do it again on Friday but hopefully I'll get a little more sleep and it will be a better workout.

That's Ironman Training.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Oreos are evil little cookies

My goal is clean eating but I'm off to a rocky start. Yesterday there were Oreos in the house and I did not resist them. They are apparently a gateway food because I also had a glass of wine ... Hmmm honestly it was two. Okay there confession over.

My goal with clean eating is to really focus on what I'm eating. I tend to be a little bit of a fad-ist with regards to what I eat. I read about paleo I go paleo. I read about juicing - I juice. I read a lot about vegetarians but I've never successfully gone veggie for more than one day.

Overall my core belief is that if you eat food- real food that's the most important thing. When doing this much training (last week was 13 hours) maintaining my energy is really key. Food= energy. So my focus is to make sure I'm eating food not calories from a bag or a box. So the goal is to avoid anything that's processed as much as possible.

I don't live on a farm or even near a farm so my definition of processed is more like highly-processed.  If it comes out of a package from a factory (bag, box, can) I want to skip it. If it grew from the ground or was alive its okay. Oreos bad - carrots good. That's the plan.

Some notable exceptions. I'm not giving up coffee or the cream I put in it. Also my endurance nutrition is about as highly processed as it gets but The Gu's and the Infinit stay in the diet. Other than that I'm going to try for clean.

We'll see how I do. Wish me luck.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Clean eating in February

February's goal is clean eating. I gave myself an extension until after the Super Bowl. So I'm starting today.

Lunch is a green salad with homemade chicken salad and water with lemon.