Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Week!

Can someone tell me where the whole month of July went? And while you’re at it, what happened to June? Somehow the triathlon is only a week away. It’s not like it really snuck up on me…I’ve seen it get closer on the calendar every time I filled in another day’s workouts. But somehow I’m shocked that it’s only a week away. And yet, I’m hoping this next week just flies by. Luckily it’s busy and I have something almost every night after work to keep me from going stir crazy during the taper.

It feels good to know I’ve put in as much work as I have towards this race. But it also makes me anxious for race day. There are a lot of what ifs floating around in my head. But there’s nothing left to do now but rest my body and get ready mentally. (Oh, and practice transitions. My neighbors probably think I'm nuts, riding circles around the street with my feet out of the shoes)

So my goal for this race is to come in under 1:35. But I have a reach goal, too. I’m just gonna put it out there for everyone to see: 1:30. I think if I’m feeling good on Sunday morning it’s seriously doable. But I won’t be disappointed with 1:35 either.

I'm just getting super excited and jittery even thinking about how close it is :)  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

Holy crap the triathlon is coming up faster that I ever expected. Can we hit the pause button on summer for like .02 seconds? Today was my last CNY Triathlon practice before the IronGirl. Let’s just say it made me hope that the saying, “bad dress rehearsal, good show,” holds as true for triathlons and races as it did for dance recitals.

For starters, I almost didn’t even make it to Jamesville Beach today. All day at work I’d been feeling like someone was sitting on my chest, which if you’ve never experienced that, let me tell you it makes it pretty hard to breath. I considered not going but I didn’t want to miss my last chance at a full brick workout. Once I got out in the fresh air I actually felt o.k. It makes me wonder if the super cold, dry AC air at work might be the culprit.

The swim was fine, uneventful, thought I really should have started closer to the front. I felt like I did a better job sighting the buoys today. It makes me feel more confident about going out in the front of my wave at the IronGirl like Kelly wants me to. (Um, can we take one second to note how ridiculous it is that transition closes at 6:30 am, but my wave doesn’t start until 7:40 am…that’s a lot of standing around and nerve build-up time!) So yea, I felt strong on the swim, which is why I really don’t understand how it took me 12 minutes. But anyway…

The bike got off to a rough start. I forgot to put my bike in a low gear and couldn’t make it up the hill so I had to turn around, lower the gear, then restart the bike portion. The ride was fine, fairly uneventful until I reached the turnaround and almost rode into a ditch. I managed to stay out of it though! The weird thing about the bike is that although everyone said biking would be the one thing that made my back feel better, it’s the one thing that bothers it more than anything. So in the interest of not making my back any worse, I tried not to push too hard on the bike. Time: 33 minutes.

As I came down the hill into transition, I didn’t get my left foot out of the clips in time and I crashed into a nice patch of gravel, which ground itself generously into my hand. Welp, it had to happen sometime, right? I just love that it happened right in front of so many people. Oy. Well at least someone was nice enough to pull my bike off of me and help me up. So instead of a quick transition, I ran down to the bathroom and washed my hand off. Once I got the dirt and gravel out it really didn’t look that bad and wasn’t bleeding too badly so I went back, changed my shoes and headed out for the run.

I wasn’t interested in how fast I could do a 5k, so I jogged the course, then kept running to get my time in for Kevin. I felt pretty decent by the end so I actually ran a little further. I think my total time ended up right around 33 minutes.

So yea, if this bad dress rehearsal, good race theory holds true, I should be golden, right? But I’m not holding my breath. No way. In fact, I’m gonna knock on wood and throw some salt over my shoulder, just in case by saying it I’m jinxing myself. Lol, I'm getting loopy. Good night!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Play Like It's The Last Time

Our gymnastics team had a quote that got passed around a lot, then took on new meaning after we were cut. Who could have ever known how meaning full that third sentence would be to us all?

Believe in you. Trust in us. Play like it’s the last time. Enjoy the ride.

I have no idea where it came from. To be honest, since I graduated from JMU it’s not something I think about very often. But after an amazing reunion this weekend, I was reminded of it and some of the other quotes we loved so much.

“I don't remember how we happened to meet each other. I don't remember who got along with whom first. All I can remember is all of us together...always.”

“From the outside looking in you could never understand, and from the inside looking out we could never explain.”

Forever a Duke.

But it’s that first one that’s been stuck in my head all day. Play like it’s the last time. Enjoy the ride. It has always carried a ton of meaning for me, but now it might have even more significance. It’s not a quote we came up with after we were cut. It’s one we always tried to live by, since as a gymnast, you never knew when your last chance would be, so we always did our best to leave it all on the floor. It’s how at our last ever gymnastics meet, we were able to hit 23 for 24 of our routines that day. Ask any gymnast, 6 stuck beam routines as a team doesn’t happen often in a meet situation.

So with two weeks left until the triathlon, I’m going to play every training session like it’s the last one and I’m definitely going to enjoy the ride. And then? On race day? It’s only fitting for the race plan to be leave it all out on the course. I need to set a time goal. Realistically, I’m confident I can go under 1:35:00. I’m tempted to make my goal 1:30:00.

Leave it to a weekend full of good friends, good memories and way to much food and wine to bring me back to my training with a renewed focus. I guess it makes sense though and the timing was right. The end of my gymnastics career was when I chose to start running. The weekend came at the end of my easy week, right before the start of my last hard week. A week from today I start to taper. I’m already going crazy thinking about the taper. I’m not going to know what to do with myself. Anyone have any suggestions? How do you deal with all the free time and excess energy during a taper? This will be the first time in a while I’m truly tapered. For the last couple of road races I just took it easy the day before. Help!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just a Little Competitive

If you know me, you know I can be a little bit competitive from time to time. Ok. Maybe more than a little. But I'd like to think it makes me push myself a little harder when there are other around that I am striving to keep up with, instead of being competitive in a bad way.

It's been the story of my life for as long as I can remember. I've always had to work for things. The things I love to do don't come easily to me. But I'm glad they don't. For me, the challenge is part of what keeps me interested. If I don't need to work at it, chances are I'll get bored with it fast.

But every once in a while, I've got to admit, it is really nice to be the 'best' or the fastest at something. Now I know best is a relative term. But I was out in front of the workout this morning instead of bringing up the rear and I have to admit it felt really good :). Would I have gotten in a better workout if there was someone out in front of me that I needed to chase? Maybe. But there were two people right behind me and I think that was a pretty good push. It was a nice confidence booster going into an couple of easy days (which are really hard for me to let myself take).

Regardless, I am SO glad I got my but out the door at 5:15am and got my speed work done for the week. I'm just sitting in my kitchen now and I'm sweating. I can't imagine trying to get that workout done tomorrow night when the temperature is going to be approaching 100. So the schedule rearranging was totally worth it. And thanks to the swim getting cancelled at the beach tonight, I even got in a boot camp workout :) All in all, a really good day :)

Now if only I could figure out where to squeeze in that swim/bike workout I missed tonight.

Monday, July 18, 2011

If I'm Being Honest...

I don’t know whether to throw a toddler fit, kicking and screaming on the floor, or jump up and down yelling, “sh*t, sh*t, sh*t!” Ok, guessing its not going to be the second one because I won’t even type it out, let alone yell it at the top of my lungs. And it really won’t be the first either because I’d like to think I outgrew that phase at about 3.

Ok, so all that’s left is using my words. Fine! I think I’m pretty good at that ;). Ever since my last appointment with the spine doc, when I swore off doctors (please forget this little episode, that was a fluke) my body has been feeling pretty good. I felt like I was back to my pre-Israel shape and getting stronger. But there’s something I’ve been hiding. Ever since I golfed with my parents (whose brilliant idea was that disaster?) my back has been bother me again. It started as just a little twinge, like a pulled muscle or something. But after boot camp last Thursday (we did some side lean thing with a sledgehammer) it’s back to feeling like it was when the doctor first found the Pars Defect.

It’s frustrating. PT worked, I was keeping up with my exercises and generally being pretty careful. Then I slacked for just an hour, and I wind up back at square one. Knowing that there is something out there (PT) that works, I’m tempted to go back. But we’ve been dealing with so much crap from the insurance company (they insist I’m not on my parents plan, when I am, and every time they say it’s fixed, another claim gets denied) that even though we’ve met our deductible and now would be the perfect time to go, I’m hesitant.

The other reason I’m hesitant is that I don’t want to be that girl. The one who always has issues. You know the type I’m talking about, right? The other thought going through my mind is, would maintenance PT work? Could I go just a few times? Or would I wind up going twice a week for a month or two, every three months for the rest of my life?

Or maybe I should just lay off the golf. Either way, I need to figure something out. It’s not bad enough to keep me from doing what I love, but not much is. The question is, how bad to I let it get before I decide to do something?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up (Week 2)

I’m doing away with the training log page on this blog until I can figure out a better way to format it. The table thing just wasn’t working out. So until then, I figure I should sum up the week with a post so I’m at least keeping track of my totals.

I’ll be honest with you—the numbers are a little scary this week. Oh, they’re ok on their own. But when you add them all up and remember that I work 40 hours a week, too, they're a little crazy. But I love it. It feels like such an accomplishment and I haven’t even done anything yet.

Running: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Boot Camp: 2 hours
Swimming: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Biking: 3 hours, 23 minutes
Grand Total: 10 hours, 43 minutes!

The number won’t be as high this week, as I finally get a little bit of rest at the end of the week to let my body recover. Then I ramp it up for one more week before it’s time to taper for IronGirl. Wow. Typing it out like that makes it seem so close! I know it’s three weeks away but I have a feeling those weeks are going to fly.

I’m glad we built the schedule up this way. It means I can head down to my gymnastics reunion and concentrate on having a good time with friends I haven’t seen in forever instead of worrying about fitting in a couple hours worth of running and biking. Speaking of…I should probably get to bed since I have to squeeze in two workouts before work tomorrow (an hour bike and a 45 minute run) because I’m coaching after work and can’t split them up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Quick Status Update

Ok, so I'm knee deep (or 10 days) into this training program. And man am I looking forward to the rest/easy days I'll have next week. I'm seriously earning them! I love how having a plan is keeping me so focused. I know exactly what I have to get done each day and I'm doing it. Succeeding in that makes me feel so accomplished. Even when I'm tired, I buckle down and get the work done and I (almost) always feel better for having completed it.

Take last night—I have never seen the water at Jamesville Beach so choppy. I've also never swam in water that rough. But I dove in and did it. It certainly wasn't pretty. I switched from freestyle to breast stroke pretty frequently and kept stopping to find the buoys. I also swam around the wrong buoy, so I went further than 600 meters. It took me about two minutes longer than normal. But from there the rest of the triathlon was great. I felt decently strong on the bike (just a little sore) and great on the run. I was trying to take it pretty easy and just get my 30 minutes in, but I finished the 5k in about 24:30 and jogged out the last few minutes to get to my daily run minimum.

The thing I've been noticing about the effect all this training has been having on me? It's on my mind more than my body. I feel really peaceful about things that are going on in my day-to-day life. A stressful project at the office? I can leave it at work and it doesn't bother me at home. I think I'm actually becoming a better problem solver, too. Things happen and I take care of them. If they don't go my way then so be it. I'm really enjoying this new me that doesn't stress over every little minute detail of who said what and what did they mean and what do they think of me! (Does that make any sense?)

There's just one small problem...I've been noticing that my calf is starting to twinge like it's about to cramp up. It happened in the pool on Tuesday during a hard sprint and again tonight during speed work. So I just had a banana, a sweet potato and a glass of coconut water for dinner. I'm going to be more aware of how much water I drink each day, too. I know I've fallen out of my old gallon-a-day habit. Does anyone know of any other calf cramp remedies? I'm going to try rolling it out on a frozen water bottle. But I'll take any suggestions you've got. I want to nip this right in the bud before it become a problem!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A (Wo)man With a Plan

So finally, after way too many weeks of playing at this triathlon training stuff, I bit the bullet and found a coach. We met last Tuesday, put together a plan and having completed the first week I can honestly say I have no idea why I ever waited so long. Totally worth the $30.

So here’s the plan…
Monday: 30-45 minute run, 60 minute bike
Tuesday: Boot Camp, 30 minute run, 60 minute swim
Wednesday: CNY Tri Club (600 meter swim, 10 mile bike, 30 minute run)
Thursday: Boot Camp, Speed Work
Friday: 45-60 minute swim, 60 minute bike (with speed intervals)
Saturday: 18.6 mile bike, 30-40 minute brick run
Sunday: Progressive Long Run (60-75 minutes)

Tired just looking at it? LOL I am! But no, in all honesty it’s great, I feel great and I am really looking forward to putting it to the test at the IronGirl. I did skip Thursday Boot Camp this week since a few people have been hounding me about the intensity of the middle of my week and I was tired. I’m hoping that won’t be a permanent change. I just need to get used to settling down faster on Wednesday night. Doing the whole tri leaves me too wired to sleep. But it’s important to me to get there so I’m going to work on it.

Anyway, I’m starting off this week on a high note: had a great 60 minute run bright and early this morning before my mom and I heading north to Old Forge for some kayaking. I definitely got my arm workout in for the day! I’m good tired and excited to hit the ground running for another strong week. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Learning Curve

Back at CNY Tri today. It was a world of difference from last week. Not in terms of time or anything. That’ll come more slowly. I just felt so much more prepared. Even though I was still running around like a chicken with its head cut off in the morning while I was getting ready, once I got to the beach it was a relief to know that I had all the essentials.

What was different this week? Well after last week’s disaster of a first try, I headed out to the bike store and bought a new helmet, flat kit and computer with cadence and had my biked tuned up. I also put the water bottle cage on my bike and grabbed some GU to take with me on the bike portion. The other big difference? I found my tri suit! Basement: 1, Elyssa: 1 (still can’t find the flat kit I just bought and had to borrow dad’s).

I was about 30 seconds faster on the swim (not too bad for just a week!) and swallowed WAY less water. Granted I swallowed a ton of pool water yesterday, so maybe I had just reached my quota for the week. I could tell when I got out of the water that I had worked harder—I was more out of breath on the run up to transition.

The bike was tons better than last week (no flat tires, I had water and I had the computer to keep me on track). I knew I was supposed to be keeping my cadence around 80-90 RPMs and really thought I was nowhere near that. I love that computer. I was right where I should be the whole time and wound up averaging 20 MPH. Yay! At that pace I’ll finish the IronGirl about 15 minutes faster than last year.

The run was the run. I finished the 5k in about 25 minutes, but kept running to get in my daily minimum of 30 minutes. At first I couldn’t really feel my legs so it felt like I was floating along. That didn’t really last too long, but they never turned to lead—victory! I did realize I should probably carry some water with me on the run.

The best part about these practice races is being able to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. Yes to GU, but I need to find somewhere to store it other than my bra. No to my good water bottle not fitting in the cage! Luckily I had a smaller one but I was scared it was going to fall out since it fit really loosely. Even the little things, like preferring the thin Under Armor socks I wore last week to the thick Puma ones I wore this week. I also realized I need to bring a smaller towel for wiping off my feet. Standing on the big beach towel didn’t really work for me.

Oh, I also met with the tri coach yesterday. I have a whole plan worked out and I’m really looking forward to following it. So far so good! I’ll share more details tomorrow, but in the meantime you can check out her blog here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Teal There's a Cure 5K

I’ve been back from Israel and back to running for just about a month, so when Tracey asked if I wanted to run a 5k on the 4th, I figured it would be a good checkpoint to see how much more work I have to do. I’m definitely not back to my pre-Israel, pre-swollen foot speed, but it was good to get a reality check. I still have lots of work to do and I need to remember not to sprint out at the gun. Anyway it was a beautiful day and the race was for a great cause so I'm really glad I did it.

I finished in 23:39, about a minute and a half slower than the Race for the Cure in May. I was 4th in my age group (out of 52), 7th woman (out of 317) and 34th overall (out of 479!). The course was hillier than the Race for the Cure and it was a lot hotter, I think that could account for a few seconds slow down, but not a whole 90 seconds.

I was initially a little disappointed, but I’m over it now and glad I know what I need to work on. I probably won’t have time to run another 5k before the triathlon, so I’m going to have to base my goals for the run portion of that race on where I am now. I’m not ready to set an official goal for that run course yet, but at least it’s going to be flat!

Tomorrow’s my appointment with the tri coach at the Y, so I’m super excited to get a plan and set some goals.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eat, Sleep, Work, Workout. Repeat!

Anyone who knows me knows I love food. I love to cook, bake and of course, eat. For the most part I eat pretty healthily. Just the thought of fast food makes me want to vomit and anyone who has run into me at Wegmans has seen all the veggies and Kashi products in my cart. I also have a VERY healthy appetite. Ever since I started working full time, I’ve had a meal plan pretty well worked out and it seemed to be working for me. I knew how much to spend on groceries each week, what to pack for lunch and was pretty much maintaining my weight.

It worked for me without much of a change even when I trained for the triathlon last year, took time off when I was trying to figure out was wrong with my shins and even when I started Kevin’s running program and added an extra 2 days of running a week. Well that all changed this week. Looking back at my log, I guess I did up the intensity a ton. But I never expected what happened next. I was hungry ALL the TIME. I wasn’t sleeping well and when I finally did fall asleep I was waking up in the middle of the night, still hungry.

I’d heard about waking up hungry from people I know who have done events like the IronMan, but I guess any increase in training intensity can cause it.

So for the first time in almost 2 years, I’m changing my diet. I stocked up on lots of good, healthy protein and even bought a loaf of bread (something I can’t remember the last time I did). I guess it’s not really huge, but I definitely spent a lot more money. I think having healthy snacks planned and portioned to bring to work and eat before I head out for evening workout should help with the insomnia. I guess I’ll know by the end of the week if it’s working or not. I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow, then again on Friday. If it changes a lot or if I’m still not sleeping well, I’m going to have to reevaluate, but I’m going to give it a full week.

I’m also meeting with a triathlon coach on Tuesday to develop a plan for the rest of the summer. I’m really excited about having a plan to follow instead of making it up as I go along. I have a good feeling about the races I’ve chosen and even the way I’ve been preparing so far. The only thing I’m tinkering with is whether or not to officially join UAST and pick up a 3rd race. It would be really cool to get ranked and even try to make it to nationals. Can you hear that inner competitiveness screaming from where you are? But anyway as you can tell I’m pretty torn about it. Should I go for it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Raw Speed

Thursday night=Kevin. Or as he so rightly called it, coming to see Dr. Feel Good. LOL. After the workout week I’d had, I was looking forward to last night’s appointment with the self-titled Dr. Feel Good. It was supposed to be the start of a new session, so I was expecting a base run. Well when no new people showed up, it was decided we should do a short temp run. And not just any tempo run. We were going to supplement with 4 x 100 yard wind sprints. Yikes. I wasn’t quite mentally prepared for that.

I planned to not go out at 100% since I’d already done so much this week. I took the first half of the tempo easy-ish and pushed it a little more towards the end. So not quite a tempo but not really a base run either.

Then, the wind sprints. I haven’t done anything like these since sprinting down the vault runway, but that’s exactly how they felt (but a little more out of control). That’s exactly the kind of workout I live for. It’s a chance to prove that I have some serious raw speed, and it was a huge boost to my confidence to hear people say it. That Thursday night group has some seriously fast runners. It’s been great because it keeps that competitive fire burning. But every so often its great to get a little confidence boost.

Today’s an off day and I feel like I’ve earned this one. It’s a great feeling. Now if only I could fall asleep…..