Saturday, June 30, 2007

Today's Workout: Please pass the salt

Critical, critical error today. First, it was supposed to be my long bike with a brick run day but my riding partners could not ride today. Rather than ride alone, I switched my Saturday and Sunday workout which meant long run and swim today.

Up at 7 AM, how sweet it is. The schedule called for a 2.5 hour run so out the door I went with my drink in hand and three packets of gel. Immediately when I went outside I was hit by a wall of humidity. That was unexpected. Nonetheless, off I went. An hour into the run I discovered that I forgot my salt tablets. I figured I was still okay given that my gels and drink had plenty of sodium and potassium. Wrong.

I'm not a heavy sweater, in fact I really did not start sweating until last year when I had some change in my metabolism. I was soaked today and I had a stream of sweat running off my shirt. I never made it beyond 2 hours and 9 minutes. I had plenty of leg but I was so nauseous I had to walk home.

I still had my swim ahead of me so I laid down for a while to get in control of my stomach. I replaced my fluids, consumed some carbs and headed to the pool. My swim workout was only 45 minutes thankfully and except for toe cramps it was uneventful.

With my big ride tomorrow, I am focused on getting electrolytes back in my body. If I am not hydrated well for tomorrow I will have no leg for all of those hills.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Today's Workout: Breezy

Up at 5 AM, you have no idea how sweet that is. Abs then on the bike for an hour while listening to Troy Jacobson's "Iron Focus" DVD. No, I didn't swallow the Spinerval kool-aid but every little bit of information that I can get from people who have successfully competed at the Iron distance I will take.

Tomorrow, it's going to be a long day. Six hours of hills on the bike (please, someone hit fast forward) followed by a 45 minute run. This is the longest remaining ride on my training plan--that alone will make it enjoyable.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today's Workout: Oh master, hurt me

Up at 4:30 AM today, abs then to the pool for the Master's swim.

Lots of leg work today and then some killer sprints. I was sucking air big time and trust me when I say I was never first to touch the wall. This is why endurance events are more suitable to my measured style. I did 1,000 meters of pulling at the end and called it a day. Not sure of today's total, should have been in the neighborhood of 2,800 meters.

Tomorrow, a 60 minute bike ride in anticipation of Saturday's big, big training day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Today's Workout: Who stole my head

The alarm went off at 4 AM today but I was awoken earlier at 1 am with an extremely congested head. Somebody, I'm not pointing fingers, infected me with a cold. Irritating. I popped some benadryl and stayed in bed when the alarm went off figuring it was better to get sleep and readjust my schedule then to short myself on what I'm hoping will help fend off this cold.

Nonetheless, I did get up at 5 AM and modified my workout. Abs, a 45 minute run, and then I converted my 90 minute ride to riding to work. Each way is 45 minutes and while I could not spin as fast as I may have intended to as part of my plan, I was in a hurry to get to work and left work late resulting in two fairly fast trips to and from.

Lots of zicam and emergen-C today, hoping beyond hope it has an impact. Meanwhile, back in the pool tomorrow. I'm a believer that swimming does help you move through a cold.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today's workout: Swim Dori, swim

Up at 4:30 AM today. I attended to the animal kingdom, did my ab workout and then headed to the pool.

90 minute workout from my coach today, albeit it was more like 105 minutes for me. Total swim: 4700 meters or just 100 meters shy of 3 miles for the metric-resistant. Had I known I was 100 meters shy of 3 miles I would have taken a few more laps. It was exhausting to be sure but I feel so good covering that distance especially as I work on the 33% component of this race that is mental. 4700 meters is the Lake Placid swim course swum extremely wide.

Tomorrow, a bike and run. It will be an early alarm as my total workout will be 2 hours and 15 minutes and I need to be to work early.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Today's Workout: Recovery

Up at 6:30 AM today, a girl could get used to that. Today is a day of rest.

I'm a tiny bit sore from yesterday's race but not bad. Race results are out and interestingly I was unknowingly competing in my USAT age group 45-49. I will be 45 in a few weeks but had I known I was racing 45-49 I would have focused on chasing down the 45-49 year olds instead of the 40-44 year olds. Oh well.

In the category of old ladies 45-49, I finished 5th in my age division yesterday. Two spots out of the podium sunlight but inching ever so much closer. Women my age are fast and I'm just catching up thanks to the excellent training from my coaches. The other notable from the race results is that I surprisingly averaged 8 minutes 11 seconds per mile despite the predominately uphill course. It didn't feel like that at all, in fact I felt like it was closer to 10 minute miles then 8 minute miles. Nonetheless, it proves once again that this old gal loves to play catchup on the discipline that most racers hate.....the run.

Tomorrow, a long swim in the pool.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Today's Workout: Personal Best

Lake Montclair Olympic Distance Triathlon today. Up at 4:10 AM, setting up in transition at 6 AM.

A really beautiful day today. The morning temperature was 65 and rose to 79 by the end of the race. The water temperature was 76 which makes it wetsuit eligible. I was debating the wetsuit but I wanted to best imitate my race in Lake Placid so I wore my LP clothes and went with the wetsuit.

First let me setup the race by detailing last years results. It was raining last year so the course was slow. I finished in 3 hours 13 minutes which included a 41 minute swim, a 1 hour 30 minute bike, and a 54 minute 53 second run.

My personal best at this distance (with a push in the swim from the currents of Lake Michigan) is 2 hours 58 minutes, my first sub 3 hour Olympic distance. Today, I finished the Lake Montclair course in 2 hours and 53 minutes. That's right, I shaved 5 full minutes from my personal best at this distance and 21 minutes from last year's performance on the same course.

I had an outstanding race which started with the swim. I came out of the water in 37 minutes--a personal best time for the one mile difference. This despite being kicked in the back of the head twice, having someone pull off my goggles (yes, off--I had to stop and get them back on my eyeballs), and I swam in blinding sun on the return and could not sight with my foggy goggles. In an unusual circumstance, I was swimming stroke for stroke with a woman wearing a Blue Seventy wetsuit. I used her completely. I could not see but my idea was to swim with her and let her sight for me hoping, of course, that she was not having the same difficulty. I was stoked when I hit the beach and saw my time so from there I decided to push the bike and run.

I pushed as much as I could on the bike but with 4 laps of the same 6 miles it was very crowded. I did not want any mishap so when it got crowded I just tucked in and waited for an opportunity to get back on stride. I rode even splits which means all 4 laps were the same time.

Off of the bike, I looked at my watch which showed 2 hours 1 minute and I knew a personal best was doable if I could just manage a 55 minute run. I started the run course. It starts uphill in a rocky then leaf/dirt covered path. Flashback to cross-country in high school. At the top of the hill I heard something hit the ground behind me and I noticed I no longer had my race belt. I had to go back down the hill (running into the guy behind me) and retrieve my race belt or face disqualification. No way that I wanted a DQ on what was shaping to be a personal best. The race course features 5 miles uphill then a slow grade downhill for the last mile. I wish I were kidding. The run is a killer and at two miles in I thought I was running too slow to make it. I tried to push a little but I didn't have much left. I hoped that I could just push up a little bit and then maintain.

Success, it feels great. What a difference coaching has made. This is my second personal best this year at different distances. I am definitely pleased but particularly stoked about my swim. I was so calm and comfortable, even with the physical punishment and loss of goggles.

To show you how focused I was today, in addition to the goggles and the race belt incidents I also noted that my right bike shoe cleat was making my foot float and hit the frame. After the race when I examined the shoe I saw that the lifts I put on my shoe for my hip were all out of place and that 2 of the 3 screws holding my cleat to my shoe were so loose that two more turns set them free. Yikes. That could have been some serious road rash and certainly the end to my race day.

As for now, I must ice my foot and hip. Both were complaining today but you have to just suck it up. That's what the post race time is for, dealing with the abuse you just dealt your body. Appropriately, tomorrow is a day of rest.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Today's Workout: Nice and easy

Up at 6 am. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. No 4 am wakeup call for Skyline Drive today but that will return next weekend.

I'm doing a local Olympic distance race tomorrow directed by my coach. I figured this being a recovery week, no harm done to participate and as you know I need all of the open water time that I can get. JB and I headed to Prince William Forest Park this morning. The park boasts a 7 mile loop with a few rollers. We each did three loops of that and then I ran for 20 minutes. Just trying to wakeup the legs and remind them that despite the slow cadence on the hills of Skyline Drive normal terrain requires some quick spinning.

We stopped and picked up my race packet and I dipped my feet in the water. I think I'm going with my shorty wet suit tomorrow. Not sure what the temperature of the water is but it was not exactly warm.

As for race predictions, if I come out of the water in a decent time I will be looking to beat my personal best time at this distance which is 2:58 set at the Gay Games in Chicago last July. While I build my speed on the ground I can also sandbag ground speed by swimming too wide. Last year on this course I had difficulty seeing the buoys thus I was adding mileage in the water. When I was picking up my packet I saw my coach inflating these gi-normous buoys. If I miss those I'm in serious trouble.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Guest Blogger: 30 Days to Go

I'm honored to "guest blog" on the Road to an Ironwoman. Like many of you, I've become a dedicated reader of Liz's journey to being a Ironman. Might seem silly since we share a house, two dogs, and a fluffy eight-toed cat, but I actually don't see much of her lately. Our conversations are rarely completed - interrupted by the needs of the "animal kingdom" or her ever-present need for sleep!

Oh, we've tried to make more time for each other during her training. I've jumped into the triathlon thing more out of a need to try and spend time together than any other reason (I figured if I couldn't have more of her time outside of the swimming, biking and running, I'd best join in the swimming, biking and running). Well, while I am getting fitter (and just completed my first triathlon -sprint - earlier this summer), our training sessions aren't so successful. Liz is just in another league.

I know she says that she hates swimming and that she gets passed on the bike, but I knew Liz back when she didn't really swim at all; when she became winded after just 25 meters. She has worked and worked and overcome great fears and personal doubts with regard to the swimming thing. No one but herself to push her and to give her encouragement. Pure dedication and great inner strength has Liz in a position to swim the 2 plus miles in 30 days!

This biking thing is also fairly new to her, but she quickly read up on the sport, the bikes, the tires, the aero bars, the cranks, the gears, the gadgets, etc and has crafted herself a pretty nice ride. Of course, one can't just have a great looking bike, ya have to be able to ride it gracefully as well. And we've tried riding together but again Liz is just so much more stronger. In the end I feel as if I slowed her down and I'm sure she ends up feeling as if her mileage or her cadence or her something wasn't up to par. She ends up just throwing in an extra ride to make up the difference.

If you've been keeping up, you know that she's been training with her friend, K, on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Mountains. They like the "hill work" one can get up there as the bike course in Lake Placid is brutally difficult - sound fun?

Anyway, Liz asked me to sag behind her in our car one day since K was unable to go. So ok, a hour drive just to get there and then she unloads her bike. We agree I'll drive to the next overpass and wait for her there...continuing this for SIXTY MILES!!!

She gets on her bike and begins to climb. Up! Up! Up! For the first 5 miles she's going straight up hill. I almost cried as I followed her in the car. I knew she had 55 more miles to go and I'm pretty sure I'd be done after those first five! "Hill work"? The ride is over 3000 feet in total elevation! And each time she waived me to pass, I'd look at her for a sign that she'd had enough.....Liz was smiling and enjoying every minute (mile and climb) of the 5 1/2 hour journey. I must tell you that I fell for her again - after 14 years - that day.

Now, I've always known Liz to be a runner. When we first started dating she was an avid runner and to this day, it remains her comfort zone. She and I both feel that if she can survive the swim and stay upright on her bike, she's in the home stretch once she puts on her running shoes.

What an amazing person?!! Full of dedication to a self-imposed goal very few ever achieve. Simply for the sake of saying "I did it". She, like many triathletes, aren't entering these races to beat out the competition. She's not spending up to 8 hours a day on weekends and out of bed at 4am, 7 days a week to come in first place. The only competition is you. This sport is about so much more than swimming, biking and running. And through all her grumpiness, her aches and pains, lack of sleep, needing to be in bed by 8pm, lack of fun, and her pickiness about food, I understand. I get it now.

Your Road to being an Ironwoman has 30 days to go.......I'm so proud of you.


Today's Workout: Sans Floaties

Up at 4:50 AM today. I tried to make it to 5 AM but Buddy insisted on seeing some food in his bowl. Abs then off to Chinquapin, my neighborhood pool. I want to give the Y a few more days to corral any remaining wonderbread in their pool.

Anaerobic workout today which means most of the workout is spent with your heart beating out of your chest. Chinquapin's pool is older but the water is kept colder and it also seems clearer, easier to move through. Could all be psychological. Lots of good swimmers there and a fairly active Senior crowd. I was beating very few people with my speed workout. Overall it was a good workout, I'm totally feeling it and grateful it is behind me.

Tomorrow there is just some warmups on my schedule as I am racing an Olympic distance race Sunday in Lake Montclair (1 mile swim, 40k bike, 10k run). Actually I'm not sure that I can say that I'm racing it but instead I am using it as a training opportunity. Having done all of this endurance training, the shorter distances are difficult to attack with any speed. I think I will go out on my bike tomorrow locally to make sure I still have some leg strength but I don't plan on climbing Skyline until next week.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Today's Workout: For strong stomachs only

Up at 4:30 AM, abs then off to the pool.

As I enter the locker room there is a sign on the door that the pool was closed Wednesday evening due to "vomitus" in the water. Do we need details, really. After the appropriate sanitization procedures were employed (allegedly) the pool was reopened for use this morning. The Masters were in the pool at 5:40 AM but no one wanted to be the first in the water. Finally, we all jumped in and started our workout. After 200 meters the guys in my lane saw floaties of the wonderbread variety. "Everybody out of the pool" bellowed our swim coach.

Later, when the pool director showed up she told me that she had spent the evening before working on the chemicals and had left the guards to vacuum the pool. No offense, it just seems to me if you are the pool director you stay and supervise the pool vacuuming at a minimum. "Don't worry, Liz", she said, "the chunks were sanitized". Comforting, very comforting.

So well short of my swim workout I will return to the pool tomorrow. Most likely not the Y pool but another pool in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, for today, I was able to ride in on a glorious, non-humid morning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today's Workout: Back in the saddle

Up at 4:30 AM today. I seriously contemplated going back to bed after my animal kingdom duties. I'm wiped and had a hard time starting up today.

Abs then on the bike and trainer for 45 minutes. Some one legged drills (remember when I loved those) and some zone 2 and zone 4 efforts with a high cadence. Zone 2 was no problem, zone 4 never seemed to materialize. Still tweaking my bike fit. I raised my aero bars slightly today, the pros at camp thought my setup was a bit extreme. I need to put my lifts on my right shoe, see if I can raise the seat another half inch and get my handlebars raised. Ultimately that will be best for my hip pain and the deadness of my left leg.

A quick change then out for a 45 minute run with 5 one minute zone 4 efforts. I had the heart rate a little higher and I think I was moving well but I'm not sure zone 4 was achieved. I was feeling the bike seat still, probably from the weekend, and my legs were more tired then I anticipated. I did get in some good hills with LP in mind.

Tomorrow, swimming in the good company of my Masters class.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Today's Workout: Ze pool, ze pool

Up at 4:20 AM despite Buddy's best effort at 3:30. Abs then off to the gym to swim.

My 60 minute workout seemed short today so I threw in an extra 500 meters to hit 2800 total. My swim in Mirror Lake this weekend has made me realize how important my pull will be so I'm concentrating on being all upper body, little legs in the pool. This doesn't require much concentration actually, it suits my swimming style.

Tomorrow, a bike and run leading up to a short Olympic distance race on Sunday. L

Monday, June 18, 2007

Today's Workout: Getting out of bed

We arrived home at 2 AM today, I left Lake Placid at 12:06 PM yesterday. Traffic stopped twice for over an hour. You can grow old on 95 South so make sure you have gas, food, and use the rest room at all opportunities.

Slow start to the day. Mentally I was dragging but physically I feel pretty good. Minor soreness.

I thought I'd share a photo of the swim course on Mirror Lake. Everyone knows how much I hate the swim but even I can swim on this course all day long. If you look closely you can see the buoys heading straight to the other side of the lake. Anyone care to jump in?

Tomorrow, a 60 minute swim.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Today's Workout: The road is my home

In the water at 7 am today for a 30 minute swim. Awakening to be sure. Back to the hotel (our transition area) to change into our running clothes.

We ran down to the oval where race day transition and the finish line are. Troy Jacobson explained the setup and then had us take our victory lap to start our one loop 13.1 mile run on the course. The run course, to no surprise, is tough. It starts out kind, a nice downhill out of town by the ski jump, by the horse grounds, over the bridge and hang a left into what will be hell. I'm not sure what this out and back loop measures but it seems to go on forever. Race strategy would be to have someone back there for me. I'm not sure if it is possible but I'm hoping someone will ride a bike next to me while I run this part of the course. It's dreadful.

Once you come out of this section you head back to town. Naturally that means uphill. The first uphil is ok, you don't like it but the grade is manageable. The second uphill the grade shifts to extreme. When you get to the top you turn and go uphill more. Then you run by the lake for what seems like forever before you turn around and do it all over again. You can see, hear, and smell the finish line all 4 times that you pass it. I look at this as incentive.

Today's run took me 2 hours and 15 minutes which is not bad. I was in the top women finishers at camp, not first, probably not second, but moving well without setting any records. The ground game, my race shoes on the road, is where I am at home. It may be painful by the time I get to the run on race day but it is my strength.

Tomorrow, rest ye weary body. I think I'm down in calories and fluids and I always feel a little feverish after a hard workout. I am downing my Traumeel and stretching at every opportunity. I feel better then I expected but I also expended more then I anticipated. We'll see where that leaves me tomorrow.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today's Workout: Billy Goat

On the bike at 8 am today for the full bike course. Humbling, very humbling. I was originally thinking I could post a 7 hour time for the bike which is slower than my half-Ironman bike time of 3 hours. My total goal time for the Ironman was 14-15 hours....was is the operative word.

The bike course here in Lake Placid is incredibly challenging and that is an understatement. You have to eat and hydrate very well on the bike, a mistake of too little food or too little drink will cost you the race. Today, I ate two bags of clif bloks, 4 gels, two peanut butter sandwiches, 10-12 salt tablets, 8 bottles of water and motor tabs. I had little energy today with the hard bike yesterday and probably a deficit in calories after my ride yesterday. I did pretty well with my nutrition on the bike but my legs were not fresh. This will not be the case on race day.

The challenge of the bike course is not to do the first lap too hard. It is tempting, but the key to completing the bike is staying reserved and this I learned from the pros at camp. Leaving Lake Placid you travel about 10 miles before you hit a 6 mile downhill on horrible roads. Some of my peers were going 55 mph, I was on the brakes trying to avoid the potholes. Once you get down the hill you are in Keene. From Keene to Jay is a beautiful stretch of road with little rollers up and down. This is one of my favorite spots, the road is really in great shape. You take a turn eventually toward Wilmington. This road is narrow and really eaten up by the hard winter. In addition, it is predominately uphill with a headwind. From there you turn down a road and go out and back for a total of 14 miles. We call this the finger. The finger is deceptive, if you take it too fast you can implode. It is hillier then it looks and you can burn your legs by taking it too hard but I like it because you are aero a lot. After you leave the finger you take a turn down Route 86 going by Whiteface Mountain to Lake Placid. I don't know the name of all of the hills, the last three are baby bear, mama bear, and papa bear and what makes them tough is that the entire 14 mile stretch of hills (including the bears) brings a strong headwind. Even coming off a hill you can grind to a halt by the force of the wind alone. Now imagine doing all of this times two because one lap is 56 miles.

Today, I seriously doubted that I could complete this race. I had to overcome the very loud voice in my head which I did shout to while riding. I did not want to go out for the second loop but I made myself do it because choosing the alternative would have set me up for failure. When I complete this goal at Lake Placid, and I do need to work on the 33% training that is mental, I will know that I have accomplished the M-dot the hard way. As I told my riding partner KR, whether you post a 9 hour time or a 16 hour time on this course you still are an Ironman. Mine will be the latter and likely longer than I anticipated and I will need a lot of help to get me there but it will be the sweetest victory ever.

BTW, I earned a camp nickname of Billy Goat. Some women were riding ahead of me today and they wouldn't wait for me because they feared I would pass them on the hill. Thus, the nickname.

Tomorrow, a 7 am swim followed by a half-marathon run on the very challenging run course. Then it is homeward bound and what I hope will be several days of rest. I have broken my body down in a way that I have never, ever experienced before. To move forward in my training this is a necessary evil but it has not come easily. If I had not come to this camp, I am certain that I would not stand a chance of being a finisher. I learned, I challenged my body, and I will take these lessons and create my race strategy over the course of the next 4 weeks.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Today's Workout: Happy Campers

Up at 5:45 AM today. My hotel is on Main St so it is rather loud when the bars let out. I didn't sleep great.

I grabbed a bagel and went down to the lake to take some photos of the course. There was a light fog over the lake and mountains, otherwise the water was like glass. It was a beautiful sight that I only hope was captured by the camera.

Today we started with a 56 mile ride reversing the bike course. Immediately, I had to stop and Troy Jacobson lowered my seat. The two inch gain from the bike fitter proved too extreme. While my hip felt good, it was entirely too high and I knew I could not ride like that.

The course had a fair amount of early downhill but lots of potholes so riding was not great. I, of course, enjoyed the uphill. Particularly the 6 miles of uphill where I was passing everyone. The group was burning the course at a pretty good clip. I rode with a few different people, including Troy Jacobson and some of the other coaching staff. It was a good day, perfect weather.

When we came back we ran around the lake. KR and I ran together at a slow pace, not burning anything given the days ahead. I snuck in a 20 minute nap before our 2 pm swim. I wanted to swim 2.4 miles today but Troy only allowed us to swim for 40 minutes. For me that was one lap. I was on the rope not expending any extra mileage by swimming wide. I finished 1.2 miles in 41 minutes. This was a great time for me but it was slowed by the woman I was drafting ahead of me. She kept slowing down then speeding up, that was difficult to adjust to but I liked drafting so I stayed with her. I was very calm and comfortable in the swim. The water was perfect, my breathing comfortable, it was like swimming with a pull buoy which I could do all day.

We later had a meeting on nutrition which was interesting and terrifying at the same time. I'm just guessing at my nutrition for the full Ironman. I know what I need to do for the half-Ironman but that is all of the intelligence that I have to work with. Hopefully, that is enough.

Tomorrow, 112 miles on the bike--the full bike course. This should help give me an idea of what I need to do. I have two peanut butter sandwiches, shot bloks, gel, salt tablets and 4 bottles for my bike. No doubt I will have to supplement off of the support vehicle. KR and I agreed to ride the course conservatively. If anything when we finish we want to be able to say we could have taken it out faster vs imploding on the course.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Today's Workout: Tales from camp

Up at 6 am today. A nice slow start to the morning entertained by 18 month old Ms. C. In the car by 10:30 heading north, a stop for lunch with C in Albany then on to Lake Placid. I arrived a bit after three and felt a little rushed to check in, register with the camp, and get my swim stuff together for the 4 pm swim.

The "campers" gathered in the lobby and headed over to Mirror Lake. Not a lot of body fat on this crowd which is rather intimidating. We all slipped into our wetsuits. The air temperature was 70 but it was a bit breezy by the water. We were told the water temperature was high 60's by Troy Jacobson who is running the camp. He made us enter the water by a rocky shore.

I was certainly nervous and not looking forward to the swim. Were it not for my riding partner KR, I may have slipped away back to the hotel. KR wanted to swim 2 miles, Troy Jacobson had other plans for us. We did some drill work which was a nice way to warm up to the swim.

The course here is completely marked because it is where the Olympic rowers train. If you position yourself well, and have great eyes, there is a rope 4-6 feet below the surface that extends the entire length of the course. This can help you swim the course tightly which I will need to do. After our swim, I was pleased that I had made the effort to participate in the optional swim.

We had an orientation to help setup the next three days. Trust me, I'm going to be burning some calories. Tomorrow, a trifecta. We start with a 56 mile swim--one loop on the bike course but backwards. There are many hills but one section is 9 kilometers long, that's nearly 6 miles. Trust me, my car was straining coming out of Keene up this hill. After the bike we are doing a little run around the lake followed by what will likely be a 2.4 mile swim. Off to get some rest.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Today's Workout: Relaxation

No workout scheduled today. I do feel a little guilty about that but I suppose my coach believes that Ironman Camp will provide me with ample exercise.

In a few hours I am off to Lake Placid. I will be in the water on the swim course by 4 pm tomorrow, toast me with a latte. Should I survive this mission, I will return home late Sunday evening, no doubt a wee bit sore but all the more wiser. I am going to try and blog from camp, emphasis on try. I'm not certain what technological capabilities the Inn has--remember, I'm not in a tent but I am still a camper.

Last night, I was adjusted by my Chiro. The sweet spot is when he can get what feels like the head of my femur in my left leg to pop inside my pelvis. Mission accomplished, wish I could say the experience is enjoyable. He also worked on my foot but despite his efforts he was unable to increase the flexibility in it. All of his massaging did make the plantar fascitis hurt quite a bit, hard to believe I pay for that.

I also had my bike fit which involves a series of measurements of various angles and adjustments to try to increase my efficiency while simultaneously easing my injuries. In short, my seat was raised by nearly two inches which now results in my hips staying in one position while I ride vs rocking back and forth. I'm also getting lifts for my right cleat to compensate for the functional difference that is creating my significantly differing leg lengths on the bike. Is anyone surprised that I am a hard case for the bike fitter?

More from camp, I look forward to the s'mores only instead of graham crackers and chocolate I think it will be more like "s'more hills".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Today's Workout: Just Keep Swimming

Up at 4:30 AM, the usual animal kingdom duties, abs then off to the pool.

Today was a 90 minute workout that I talked my coach into. It was originally scheduled as a 60 minute swim. I finished in 95 minutes, not bad. Total: 3750 meters. That will get me in and out of the LP swim so if for no other reason then the mental benefits, today was a great swim.

Tonight, I have a chiro appointment and another meeting with the bike fitter. To be honest, my foot hurts so much that I have forgotten about my hip pain. The chiro thinks he can help with my foot too, but I have yet to see any relief.

Tomorrow, I have no scheduled workout. I start to make my way to Lake Placid for a 4-day camp run by Spinervals that is held on the course beginning Thursday. I should (if I don't allow myself to cheat) get 4 bites at the swim course, 2 on the bike, and 2 on the run. I will try to commit every blade of grass to memory in preparation for race day. As for now, I'm empathizing with all of those parents who have to pack their kids crap to send them off to camp. Not as easy as you would think, particularly when you have mid-40's creature comforts and technical sports gear.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Today's Workout: Nada

I missed my flight yesterday so I had an early start this morning to try and fly to MN standby. When I think about it, it seems a bit ridiculous to commute to work on a 727. It was hardly worth moving my watch an hour back. Nonetheless, I made it to my presentation on time, finished, and returned back home missing the opportunity to stay at a gross hotel.

Tomorrow, a 90-minute swim. Wahoo!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Today's Workout: The Eagleman Half-Ironman Run

Up at 3 AM today. Yes, this is ridiculous.

Drove to Cambridge MD. RF, who made me sign up for Lake Placid with a promise to train with me, was competing in the Eagleman today. He had to drop out of LP because he is injured and cannot run. So rather then have a DNF in today's race, I told him I would run for him. Of course, I made this promise when I was healthy--not since the plantar fascitis flareup.

I'm not a fan of the relay. It made me feel like I did when I ran the Baltimore Half-Marathon, kind of like a cheater. I'm running 13.1 miles and the rest of the folks swam, biked and ran 70.3. Still, why not run a fully supported 13 miles.

The great thing was that I was able to see all of the swim and a lot of the bike. I saw the pros finish. Would I compete in the entire race next year, I doubt it. I saw people come out of the water with black soot around their nose and mouth. Really, how clean is the Chesapeake Bay. I imagined how hot the run could be if the sun were out--that was not a problem today. Would I relay again, no. Talk about cut throats. While I was waiting for my swim and bike to come in other relay teams were aggressively trying to psyche out the runners. Total losers.

As for our combined performance, RF had a very fast swim and great bike. When I left for the run our total time was about 4 hours. I decided that I would run as hard as I could and if I were close to finishing under 6 hours I would die trying. In the first 3 miles my foot was killing me and I had severe calf cramps in my right leg. The run was a huge battle and if I were running for myself I may well have just quit--it was that bad. I did not want to risk injury, but I also did not want to let down RF. I just tried to answer everything my body was throwing at me--salt tablets, gatorade, move my foot in a different way. It was awful but I was moving. We did finish in under 6 hours and I think I had one of my best runs at that distance but my watch malfunctioned so I will have to wait until the results are posted to see the final numbers.

As for tonight, I was supposed to be flying to MN but due to two major automobile accidents (not involving us but backing up traffic) I missed my flight. A 90 minute car ride took 4.5 hours. So tomorrow morning, I will be up at 3:30 AM on my off day to try to fly standby on a flight that gets me to my meeting late.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Today's Workout: Momma said there'd be days like this

I had to take my bike out to Leesburg to get a little work done on it this morning so I thought I would do my 90 minute ride and 45 minute run out on the W&OD. This is a trail that years ago we trained on in preparation for the Philadelphia-DC AIDS Ride. Apparently, I have a revisionist memory of how useful it was.

The trail is incredibly narrow and full of ruts. It was nearly impossible to get in the aero position. JB rode with me but aside from the company, the ride was disappointing. It was crowded and not meant for a tri-bike.

After the ride I turned around and ran on the trail. That was not horrible. There was an up-grade going out but a nice downhill grade on the return. It was also shady but with today's soothing temperatures that was an unnecessary benefit. My foot felt crappy on the way out and my legs were moving slow. Junk miles all around today, no real training gains.

Tom, my bike guy, made a few adjustments to my bike and we headed back to our comfort zone-home. I am cozying up to an icepack and some anti-inflammatories to try and restore my foot for a half-marathon tomorrow. I am running the leg of a half-ironman for a friend and cheering on my bike training partner KR and others. Early wakeup call then a rush to the airport for work travel.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Today's Workout: Turn on the Heat

Just a little shot of the 800 meter reprieve at Skyline Dr. in between 5 miles of climbing heading into another 3 miles of climbing.

Up at 5 AM today, really, like sleeping in on a Saturday. Sweet! Abs then back to the pool for a 45 minute swim. My arms are still sore from Tuesday. I think the grand total today was 2000 meters which in my view was just enough. The good news is that I talked my coach into extending my swims for the next several weeks--I can smell that race line.

I rode into work today. The heat index is supposed to be over 100 later so why not work on handling the heat. Not much company out there, looks like the weatherman scared everyone away. A friend from Phoenix analogizes these type of days to putting your oven on 350, sticking your head in and trying to breathe.

Tomorrow, a 90 minute bike followed by a 45 minute run. Finally, a slow day. From there I will head to the bike shop for some last minute tweaking before camp. I yearn for my gears to shift on demand and it would be nice if the brake was not rubbing on my way uphill.

Today's Workout: Legs in the pool

Up at 4:30 AM. I slept like a dead woman, very refreshing. Abs then off to the pool to swim with the Masters.

Quiet class today focusing a lot on legs. I made sure to add in an equal amount of pulling and swimming. My arms are still tired from Tuesday's workout. The new breathing is still working out for me, could all be psychological but I don't care.

Tomorrow, another swim day but I think it is only 45 minutes long. It will be a nice way to stretch out all of those sore muscles.

I forgot to mention that I met a young man (and yes I know that makes me sound old) yesterday who is half-way through hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, Georgia to Maine. We had a nice, easy conversation about the high points in his experience and whether he would chronicle his journey by writing a book. I could have chatted with him all day. It is so great to experience not only nature but people as well despite the many solemn miles of training.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Today's Workout: Hey, whose dog is that?

Up at 4 AM after a very poor night's sleep. Those swim days make me sneezy and congested when I sleep. Very unpleasant.

Clicked into my pedals at Skyline by 6:40 AM. I love the early mornings there, lots of wildlife and today would be no disappointment. I saw a ton of deer, a wild turkey, and oh yes, a bear. I am going uphill at maybe 7 mph (trust me, that's a fair speed at those inclines) and I see what looks to be a black dog running across the road like a puppy. As I was about to yell to the dog, I realized that in fact it was a bear--a young bear. My biggest concern was that Mama bear was probably nearby so I started singing at the top of my lungs. Trust me, that would scare anything away.

It was initially very foggy on Skyline Dr. today. I was doing a repeat of a section and the fog near mile marker 15 was so bad I had to turn back, go down the hill to 10, and ride back up. By then the fog had disappeared. On the return trip, the wind kicked up fiercely. I had to tap the brakes to keep my speed below 25 on the downhill because the wind was coming at me sideways in an attempt to knock me on my buttocks. I added a 30 minute run at the end of my ride, the foot did not feel great.

JB rode sag for me today. I didn't feel like going up there alone and I wanted her to see what I ride on. I plied her with an egg sandwich at mile marker 24. She took some pictures but I'm not sure they will show the depth of the inclines. She did say she would have been crying in the first 5 miles. The truth of this for myself is between me and the deer.

I have to get into my chiro before camp next week. I'm hoping an adjustment beforehand leads to less hip pain on the bike. Jury's still out.

Tomorrow, another swim with the Master's program. Misery loves company.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Today's Workout:, Ouch, I hope that feels better in the morning

Up at 4:30 today, abs, then into the pool by 5:30. A 90 minute swim scheduled--well, 90 minutes if you are not a slow swimmer like me. Mine was more like 110 minutes.

4650 meters baby, and that my friends gets one beyond the 2.4 mile marker. Indeed, it was very tiring and my arms definitely hurt but mentally this is exactly what I needed. Today, I can see myself completing the LP swim.

Unfortunately, this is the longest swim remaining in my plan from my coach. I asked her for a reprieve. Sick as it may sound I asked that she add in some more 80-90 minute workouts if only for my mental well being.

In other news, feeling desperate, I dove into western medicine today. I went to a podiatrist who is both a runner and biker. It is best to be treated by a doctor that can understand your addictions. Diagnosis: plantar fascitis. Didn't I already diagnose this--who says you need to be good at math and science to be a doctor. Anyhow, one needle in the foot and about 8 oz (or so it seemed) of steroids shot in my heel. In addition to stretching (which admittedly I fail to squeeze in properly) I'm supposed to get these shots once a week. We'll see how that goes. As for now, my foot seems to hurt worse.

Up tomorrow: due to work travel (ahem) I'm having to do my long bike and run training day tomorrow. A sore excuse for a vacation day.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Resting, resting

My foot felt slighlty better today but like a drug addict I am desperate to score a podiatrist and get shot up. It hurts to walk so feeling the need for support I wore sensible shoes and my orthotics today--no sandals. The last time it was this bad I had to stop training but with this much time invested that is not an option. If I have to crawl I will make it to the race start and hopefully the finish.

I'm also looking to get into the chiro this week to work on my hip. I may go back to Skyline for my big bike workout on Wednesday and if so it would be great to get a treatment before I ride to see how my hip feels fresh off the rack--that's what I call the chiro table.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward (not) to a 90 minute swim. I was severely pruned after 80 minutes yesterday, I can hardly wait for 90 minutes.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Today's Workout: Dreary

130 minute run today. The weather was perfect, 70 degrees and drizzly. I was quite sore from my bike ride yesterday and my legs were not moving well initially. I did not bring salt tablets out with me--mistake. I think they would have been helpful today, provided some lift in my legs. I'll have to remember them next week.

When I got home, my right foot was killing me. The plantar fascitis has gotten much worse. While I normally am not a believer in western medicine, I cannot wait to get an appointment with a podiatrist to get a cortizone shot in my foot. I hope to do that in the next several days. Right now, my friend is ice and plenty of it.

Despite my foot, I had to get my swim in. It was on the schedule for yesterday but I'm too old for the trifecta after all of those hills. I swam 4000 meters--yep, 4000. I believe that would cover the 2.4 mile course. It was tiring definitely but I'm working with the new breathing and I think aerobically there is some improvement. I'll continue to work in the pool.

Tomorrow, a day of rest and do I need it. L

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Today's Workout: Is up the only way?

Up at 3:50 AM, out the door by 5 AM to head to Skyline Drive for 5 hours of climbing. I was only supposed to do a 4 hour bike ride but with the training days fast slipping away from me I rode 60 miles of hills which took 5 hours.

My training partner, KR, was ahead of me the entire time. I tried to catch up to her but she is just too fast and everything at Skyline is uphill. The first 5 miles climb up to 2400 feet, then you get less than a mile of reprieve before 3 more miles of hills heading up to 3000 feet. It is a killer and as your speed slips to 6 mph you could watch the clock move. Climb, climb, climb--everything is an uphill grade until you turn around.

The road is still dug up at mile 25-33 so we repeated a section of miles 1-25. It would be better to be on new, unchartered ground but knowing the first 25 miles as I do I know it is just uphill. Everything hurts.

After the ride, I ran for 40 minutes. It was hot but it didn't seem as bad as last week. Toward the end of the run it looked like a thunderstorm was inevitable. Thankfully, we had good timing today.

When I returned home I iced my hip. It screams in pain on the uphill. Buddy curled up with me and we fell asleep. This is my favorite post workout routine and I think Buddy concurs.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Today's Workout: Stretchhhhhhhhh

Up at 4:45 AM today although apparently I forgot to tell Buddy. He thought we were getting up at 3:45 AM.

Abs then on the bike for an hour. I decided to stay indoors on the trainer mainly because I just didn't want to chase down my gear in the dark to take my workout outdoors. Also, I don't like to stop when I ride. Riding at Skyline has made it possible to continuously ride so now I am spoiled. I rode a high zone 2-low 3 and I threw in a set of one legged drills times 10 on each leg.

I did not ride to work today as I had planned. Instead, I used the time this morning to stretch and work on my sore spots. I do not spend enough time doing this and I realize that is a huge contributing factor to my many complaints. Today I took the time for what it is worth.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a trifecta: 4 hour ride, 40 minute run, 80 minute swim. My riding partner is going 80 miles on the bike and I am very tempted to go with her. I have until mile 31 of our ride tomorrow to decide. If I can keep up with her I think I will trail behind and move my swim to Sunday. If I can't, I'll follow the plan.