Monday, April 25, 2011

La-Maniac is LaTrashed.

I'm embracing my new nickname, La-Maniac. M & T, IMCDA training buddies have dubbed me this. They know my crazy coach, in fact T used to train with her years ago in Scottsdale before Michelle moved away and T retired for the second, or 3rd time.

I'm not sure when they came up with this name of mine, but I'm sure it was somewhere between my constant texts all week long asking them to swim with me, and ensuring they would be in attendance for "Century-Saturday" that I announced on Facebook trying to beg for company for my weekend adventures.

So, what does one do when give such name? EMBRACE the hell out of it. That's what I did. I maybe slightly over-did it by topping off my 19hr training week with a night out on Saturday, and yes I paid for it. But, trying to live by my own words I of course had to do it ALL.

About 2 months ago I bought Shane & I tickets to go see Mumford and Sons. I am a new fan of the band and I absolutely LOVE them. Little did I know that the concert would fall on the evening after my first century of the season, not to mention at the almost tail end of an epic training week. A week that by Saturday night had my training totals at:

bike: 125+ miles run: 40+ miles swim: 9000+yards. The cherry on top was I still had a 3hr ride to do on Sunday.

So what does one do after a kick ass 106mile ride/2.5mile brick? Well, I think any SANE person would bake their legs in some compression tights, eat a healthy meal and put their ass in bed early.

But, as mentioned above, my new alter ego was in rare form. Just a couple hours after ending my epic day (which by the way was a KICK ass ride where all of us felt strong and rode well!) I was showered and prettied and down in Tempe meeting some friends for dinner before the concert. A few too many cocktails later we were at the venue standing on our feet for another 3hours watching the show.

My only saving grace was that I did eat half of the appetizer (for 4) by myself. My entire plate of ahi tuna entree and the additional side of "any carb/potato you can bring me" (yes I actually said that).

Note to self: Never again wear 4inch wedges to an outdoor concert after 6.5hrs of exercise where you will be standing the rest of the night.

The concert was AMAZING. Such a great performance, and while I did have a fantastic time I hit my limit at 10:05 as we were walking back to the car. This turned into an emergency stop at the McDonalds drive through at 10:30pm where I scarfed down a large french fries before getting home. Salt can only help, right?

I slept like crap all night (probably too much beer) and when the alarm went off at 6 I thought I was going to die. My body was so trashed and my feet were in so much pain from those damn cute shoes that I had no idea how I would survive my 3hr ride. I'm not sure if it was a good, or bad thing, but I had made plans to meet a couple of girlfriends for the ride. In Fountain Hills. Which means only one thing. HILLS and more hills followed by 9mile hill.

It was about 9 miles I had to do of pretty much all up hill until descending down into Fountain Hills to meet the girls. I had so many thoughts go through my head. ALL negative.

I can't do this. Maybe if my HR is only like 110 I can tell my coach that it wasn't worth it, I was too trashed. Shit, nope it's 140 that won't work. What if I throw up? I could cry right now I'm so ever-loving tired. My feet feel like I walked on fire. How much e21 can I take in the next 2 hours. OH MY GOD the girls aren't here. Maybe they left without me cause I'm LATE cause I was so slow riding here. SHIT, there they are. Now I HAVE to do this damn ride. Ugh.

Of course, as soon as I had company to take my mind off my burning feet, congested lungs from all the wind and smoke in the air and no sleep I was just find. I even managed to pull all of us up 9mile hill into a nasty headwind.

The ride wasn't my best, but it was saddle time in the bank and after 3hrs I was finally finished with my epic training week. I was still alive. I didn't throw up or cry (albeit very close to both) and even made it to a Sunday brunch all showered and easter-egg looking by 12:30.

Home by 3 on the couch watching movies with my compression tights where they should have been the day before I was DONE. TOAST. La-Trashed. Bed by 8 was just what I needed.

I feel a little better today, but I'm still exhausted. Over-tired. I've got a massage scheduled for Wed am so hoping that gets me all rested and revived and ready for this weekends adventures…

La-Maniac is going to be in rare form come June 26th.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ironman training chronicles

It's that time of year again. Training is in full force. Kick my ass full force. I'm surprised daily at what I'm able to endure, and even more surprised daily when I open up training peaks and see what my coach thinks I can endure… Here are some of my latest observations!

  • First and foremost the Ironman tapeworm has found it's way back into my belly. I'm hungry. A lot. Even when I think I'm not hungry, I'll eat cause I need to refuel, and then after I eat… I'm hungry. How is this possible?
  • For instance today this is what I have consumed thus far; peanut butter toast, 1power gel, plain toast with 3 egg whites, mushrooms, tomato & feta scramble, a piece of lasagna leftover from dinner the other night, 2 fruit leather strips, 2 dove dark chocolates - dipped in peanut butter of course, an apple, some cottage cheese and strawberries.
  • It's only 4pm…..
  • Oh, and did I mention I only did an 80min bike ride today? I'm hoping this is hunger leftover from Mt. Lemmon/2:40 run & 3000meter swim?
  • Speaking of swim I had the pleasure of swimming with ER yesterday. She mentioned on Facebook she was in town so I took the opportunity to ask/beg her to come keep me company. We'd never talked about swim pace before, but honestly I didn't care if she lapped me or I lapped her, I needed some serious motivation so I wanted any company I could get!
  • Turns out she's a GREAT swimmer. I forgot how much I missing swimming with people that PUSH me. I don't go to a masters swim because I do my run or bike workouts in the am. I used to do a noon masters swim, but the people that used to push me there, kinda stopped showing up. Don't get me wrong… I'm not a total sandbagger…but when I looked at my 100 splits and realized that my "steady" 100s were just a few seconds slower than what I've been doing on my "fast" 100s lately… and then my fast 100s were 2-3 seconds faster than I ever hit in this particular pool…. Yah, apparently I just need someone to swim next to me, then in front of me so I can chase.
  • Did I mention I did an 18+mile run earlier that am? And STILL had some great splits (for me)? yah… something is up. I need me a rabbit to chase in the pool. Or fish, if you will.
  • Back to Facebook. I know it's cheesy and immature and a completely self indulgent waste of time…BUT I don't care. I work from home, by myself and it keeps me entertained. It's like people.com for the everyday person. And, give me any trashy magazine & I will keep myself entertained for hours on end with the gossip… so, I suppose Facebook does the same exact thing.
  • Not to mention it's like a free advertisement for your every desire. Need a swimming partner, cry out for help, see who responds = a FANTASTIC swim workout when you started with a 50/50% chance of making it to the pool in the first place.
  • I currently have a "want ad" out looking for company on my weekend riding. 100miles on Saturday, 3hrs on Sunday. WHO'S IN?
  • The more I train, the more I want stuff. I will go through stages of how I NEED all sorts of things like this and this and this and most of all THIS.
  • A girl can dream, right?
  • I'm getting old. Or, triathlon is making me LOOK old. I've recently succumbed to buying outrageously overpriced skin care products, particularly sun screen. I used to throw whatever on my skin, even my face. Banana boat, sure. Then, I started noticing all these THINGS. Lines, not so freckly looking freckles/sun spots… ugh. My tan lines are no longer cool. I remember when I started swimming with momo several years ago she was always freaking out about her skin. I thought she was nuts. She has great olive colored-youthful skin. She was always buying these crazy ass products and putting stuff on that made all the sun stuff peel off. I was all, whatever - tan is COOL.
  • Did I mention she's a few years old than me… and apparently wiser. I am now at that stage where I think that my face is going to fall off and I will pay with my left arm for the tiniest bottle of sunscreen for my face.
  • Lest you think I'm going to look OLD from this damn sport.
  • I still love sitting at the beach. I might be one of those people under the umbrella that I've always made fun of tho very very soon…
  • Shit, I am old
  • Coke. I've drank, drunk.. oh whatever I never claimed to be an English major, clearly. My point is I can't seem to get enough coke. I really only drink water & ice tea, an occasional coke here and there, but I honestly think I've had more coke (fully leaded, I don't do diet) in the past 2 weeks of training then the past year all together. It's saved my a@@ on a couple of long training rides and it was what got me back home on a miserable long run a couple of weeks ago. I can't figure out why I'm craving it so much more than ever before? I'm usually all sugared out after all the crap I have to consume during training that all I want is SALT. Hmm.
  • I think my wonderful little magic pills are doing wonders for my salt addiction. I heart e21!
And that my friends is how the mind of a crazy ironman in training rolls :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mt Lemmon round 2!

I've been wanting to get back to Mt Lemmon for a while now, but trying to find a date that worked for everyone turned into quite the challenge. In the end we ended up with 9 people to start with us - 6 and maybe one possible last minute straggler (we worked our peer pressure magic all day long for one of the girls to sign up via Community Fund) all doing Ironman CDA. It was a perfect weekend to do a big climb before the epic Answer to the Challenge weekend.

The weather was VERY warm to start. Maybe creeping up to the 70s, but the sun felt crazy toasty. Within the first 2 miles of the climb sweat was pouring off my face and I was sucking water down like mad. Our group immediately split up with little Abby, Aka Mt Climber, heading out in front. We finished in the same time last year so I figured I'd just try to stay with her. I was already feeling my legs just an hour into the ride (guessing adding an extra hill run on Friday to my training wasn't my smartest decision as my quads and shins were SORE).

I was still moving at a good pace, and just kept Abby in my site using her as a pacer. The air was thick with pollution and and I actually had to use my inhaler a couple of times on the mountain. The mountain was PACKED with riders which made it kinda fun passing a lot of people (not so much the case last time I did this ride). My bike felt great, comfortable and honestly never had any pain until the last 5 miles when my low back got crampy from so much climbing. The last 4 miles of climb are more of up/down so got some good speed and got to coast down into the little town!

I ended the ride climbing the mountain 10minutes faster than last year! Very happy with this accomplishment and almost wonder what I could do if I wasn't 2 weeks post half ironman effort or with a rest week leading up to it?? Hmm, might have to try this again in the fall!

Happy to be done we waited for everyone in the group to arrive and got to witness a very special proposal :-)

Note, last time we did this climb this entire area was covered in SNOW! Yesterday, not so much.

It took some convincing as most everyone was just ready to get back down, but we coasted a quarter mile down the hill into the town for the infamous Cookie Cabin. I just had to see what the hype was all about and let me tell you, the climb is WORTH it. Say hello to my super-sized peanut butter cookie. I wish I could say I indulged and ate every last crumb, however, I knew I would be a mess if I tried to eat it so I shared half of it with a friend and then put the other half in the RV sag (yes, only 6/9 of us did the descend and 3 were rescued by the RV) to pick up at the bottom.

My cookie somehow mysteriously did NOT make it back down the Mountain… Hmm. Guess I'll have to redo the climb again :-)

The descend was just as I remembered. A BLAST. Once again I fell in love with my bike all over again, and think my wheels are the key! The bike is smooth and the wheels make me feel in complete control. I only had to brake 2 times on the descend around a couple of sharp switchback turns. I would do that descend over and over again if I didn't always have to climb the mountain first :-)

My slave driver told me I had to grit my teeth and head out for 4 miles at a pretty good pace. I was able to get 2 others to tag along with me for the fun. Unfortunately by the time we started the run temperatures had reached 95 degrees and really got the best of us. We were all extremely dehydrated from the climb and warm air (last weekend we were in the low 60s for high so this was quite a shock to our systems) and I made the executive decision to cut the run to 2 miles. I'm not upset about it at all as my legs felt strong but I just would have dug myself into a really deep hole if I continuted to run in that heat when I wasn't at all acclimated yet.

After getting some food and fluids in my body I actually felt great. Changed into my compression tights for the ride home and continued to hydrated. By the time I got home & showered my wonderful husband had my favorites waiting for me :-)

Mt. Lemmon drops and cheese! Cheers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

what doesn't kill ya….

I made the mistake of opening up my training peaks calendar the night of the race. I laughed, read some of my workouts out loud to friends who also just did Oceanside, then tucked it into the back of my mind so I didn't over-think it.

I don't have good muscle tissue. Or, at least I don't think I do. I can look at a hilly run course and get sore. It always amazes me seeing people run or bike or swim or even WALK post marathon or God for bid, Ironman. I get sore. Like so sore I can't walk, or even sleep for that matter. The thought of getting a massage after a big race makes my skin crawl. OUCH.

Something was different about Oceanside. Sure I was gimping around and the 6hr ride home the day after race didn't help, but by Monday I no longer had any soreness. I was in the pool (sans watch) doing a 2200m workout, riding 2hrs Tuesday and by Wed back at it with an 8 mile run and some speed stuff in the pool. I would look at my workout for the day and think, how am I going to do that? I can't do that, I just did a half Ironman.

And you know what? I did it. I did everything the coach asked and am now looking at my biggest long workouts since last year pre-IMCDA. Tomorrow I will ride ~80 or so miles, with a 30min transition run and Monday is a 2.5hr run.

It gets even better as Friday afternoon I got a little love note on Facebook from my coach that said something like, "I had too much caffeine and am hyper so I wrote your schedule out for next week and you are going to PAY. Go put on your big girl panties." Ok, maybe that's not exactly what she said, but her words did scare me and I had to take a moment before opening up my schedule to see what I was in for.

I saw it, I laughed…and that was that.

I'm truly amazed every time I see these 'impossible' schedules and then each day I check each workout off my schedule as completed. It just goes to show why we hire coaches and why we let them do the thinking, the planning and just do the work. And we trust…

I know the "real work" is coming. I know the next 8 weeks are going to really test me. I might find a breaking point, or I might not. Either way, I'm all in & I can't wait to see what I can really do!

Next up, revisiting Mt. Lemmon. I'm crazy excited to go back to this climb stronger, and with permission to just GO at it up the Mountain! I plan on crushing my 3hr ride to the top, then rewarding myself with one of those infamous cookies, Hillary Biscay is always talking about!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oceanside 70.3

A year ago some girlfriends of mine peer pressured me into registering for this race. A big group even, fun weekend at the beach, twist my arm.. ok, I'm in. Fast forward a year later and I'm one of the last girls standing. WTF? And a race with an ocean swim that I would NEVER in a million years sign up for unless talked into it and now I'm the last of my little foursome of girls that is still doing it, hmm? I think I need some new friends. (j/k) Thankfully our triclub still had quite a few peeps participating so it would still be a great group trip!

I thought about this race a lot more than others because my coach made me. Ok, she didn't really MAKE me, but she did ask me to write out the most detailed race plan I've ever done and then she made suggestions. Suggestion #1 being I eat at LEAST 800 calories on the bike, and if I didn't I may as well throw my run right out the door.

Damn, that's a lot of calories for someone my size. But, she is kinda smart and has kinda been doing this sport for like ever so I suppose she knows what she is talking about, no? Well that and I pay her to tell me what to do so what good is it if I don't listen to her?

The week leading up to the race I felt great. Legs were fresh and tapered and massaged. Then we sat in the car for the 6 hour drive and they started aching. There is something about the taper that just really sucks. No matter how good I feel one day, in the last couple of days leading up to the race it all just go to shit. My legs throbbed and my knees started to ache. My IT bands were tight. Ugh, again. I freaking hate the taper. I felt fat and bloated and out of shape. How is this possible when 2 days prior I felt like a million bucks?

We got into town early enough on Thursday to get registered and pick up our packets. Good decision because by Friday afternoon the lines were crazy long. We did however head down to the expo to get a pre-race swim in on Friday. I'd been dreading this since I first saw the ocean. I'm scared shitless of ocean water. My first experience in the open water was about 10years ago on a trip to LA to vista my friend from HS. We headed to Balboa Beach for the day and within 30mins of getting there our entire group (6) were carried out into the ocean and caught in a riptide without knowing what had happened. One minute we were knee deep in the water and the next we were a couple hundred yards out to sea being rescued by 100lb baywatch-esque lifeguards. The waves were so strong they literally threw us under the water and sent us spiraling in circles with force.

Before that moment I had never in my life been afraid of any body of water. Seaweed, yes. Creepy things touching me in a lake yes. But never afraid of drowning. While I had never taken a swim lesson in my life, I basically grew up in the lakes of the Pacific Northwest and could handle myself form a very early age after my parents taught me to swim via "sink or swim" method. However, top the riptide even off with a couple of years later being stung by a stingray in Mexico and I was convinced the Ocean hates me.

Fast forward to last Friday when I was faced with testing out the waters for a pre-swim with THESE waves and imagine how terrified I was. I'm honestly not sure if I'm laughing or crying in this picture, but all I know is I can't thank the guy next to me, Matt enough for sticking with me and getting into the water to calm my nerves. I don't think he actually knew how TERRIFIED I was, but either way I was so happy to have some company.
Besides hitting the first big wave face first because I was so nervous I didn't duck under the break early enough the swim was uneventful. I'm certainly not in love with swimming in the salty water, but the cold temperatures everyone was so freaked about didn't bother me one bit, and I survived. I knew we wouldn't see anything (wave-wise) as crazy as this as the swim took place in a harbor so I felt completely relieved after!

HAPPY as can be with that behind me.

The rest of the day was a little bike ride to make sure everything was working, getting gear ready and then pacing and doing circles in my hotel room waiting for dinner. Before I knew t I was in bed, popped an Ambien and trying to head to lala land.

Unfortunately I still work up every hour (who does that EVEN after taking Ambien?) but didn't feel too tired when I got up at 4:30. We left the hotel about 5:15 to get into transition and then had a LONG wait for my swim start. I was the 18th wave I think, the last women's start at 7:33 almost an hour after the pro start. The weather was windy but cloudy so I was happy! I had heard that the run can be brutally hot if the sun is blazing so I will take the overcast and cool temps ANY DAY of the week.

The swim was pretty uneventful. Most of it took place in the harbor so it was very protected from the waves, however there is a small section where you have to come out into the open water and there was definitely a little chop. As we made a left to hit the last turn before coming back into the harbor I started to get a little sea sick. Apparently there had been some warnings about the waves and the beaches were even closed. We didn't have anything crazy like that in the harbor, but it was a little more chop than I was expecting and I got a little disoriented on the way back. I don't actually think I went off course, even tho my wonderful coach did as me if "I got lost on the swim." :-)

I exited the swim in just over 34mins. 28/140 in my age group. I was hoping to be more like 32mins, but oh well!

T-1 was LONG. We had a long run along side the outside of transition, then my bike rack was halfway back up into transition and then getting out to the bike mount. It was a total of ~4mins, so not too shabby. I was running the whole time so I don't know if I could have gone any faster. My best new change was buying some TRIGLIDE to use under my wetsuit. It made getting out of it SO easy!

Heading out to the bike I was happy to be out of that ocean!

There is one short tiny little hill just before you head out onto the bike course. I needed to get my blood flowing so I stood up & just as I did that one of my bottles popped off my bike. UGH…. here we go again. I even grabbed my favorite camelback bottle that NEVER pops out. The only thing I could think of was that I didn't have it pushed in all the way. It was my gatorade bottle and about 150 of my planned calories, but at least I had my water to wash my food down with & I could grab the powerbar perform on the course.
I quickly settled into aero and grabbed my little box of my magic pills. I had emptied out a mentos gum thing that had a pop up lid and put my e21 in there. My plan was to take 2 right at the beginning of the ride and 2 every hour after. I grabbed my first 2, put it back into the bento box just as I hit a bump and the entire thing went flying out behind me. I looked behind me and considered stopping and going back, but there were just too many people and it would be too dangerous. I almost cried. Those little electrolyte pills have done wonders for me in my training and I was COUNTING on them. I remembered that last minute I had taken 2 pills out of the box and put them underneath all of my nutrition in the bento box. I re-evaluated and came up with plan B. I took 2 pills already, I would grab the sports drink at every aid station to get in as many extra electrolytes as possible and I would save my last 2 e21s to take at the 2hr mark on the bike. I had also given Shane a little emergency bag with 2 tylenol, 2 e21s and my inhaler so I figured I could get those pills and take them right away on the run.

Plan B in effect. The first 30miles on that bike ride were amazing. They were mostly flat and I was able to stay above 20mph the whole time. I started stuffing my face with my nutrition and staying hydrated. The first of 3 hills came and it was just like everyone said. Looked like DEATH from afar, but before you knew it you were up and over. And yes, there really were people walking up this hill. People with aero helmets and $6k bikes. I looked at my Garmin and saw a couple of low speeds of like 5mph but nothing that I would even for a minute consider walking for.

After that first hill things started getting tough. I had been told to expect strong headwinds for the last flat 10mile section, but the wind in these hills was STRONG. I was working hard but my pace was so slow. I wasn't getting passed (except as the strong 35-39M group that started after me came cruising by) so I figured I was doing fine relative to everyone else? But, I did start to do the math and saw my bike time slipping. Not knowing the course, other than it was hard I didn't know what to expect. I did a little research and came up with a bike time of 2:50 for myself. It seemed doable, but that was slowly slipping away and I did get a little down. As I ended the hilly section and the flat started I was expecting a crazy headwind and my pace to slow me down to about a 3hr bike finish and I was frustrated.

However, as the road flattened out my speed went WAY up! I was flying past people and loving it. I managed to keep my pace around 20-24mph the entire time and booked into T-2 happy again! I got ALMOST all of my 800 calories in (maybe 700?) and was not the least bit hungry.

Bike time 2:54 27/140 T-1 a super fast 1:40something!

As I headed out on the run I yelled to Shane I needed my "baggy." Bless his heart he started running through the crazy crowded road to try to get to me, but I didn't want to slow down and wait. I yelled that I would grab it on the next loop & settled in. My legs felt AMAZING. I was running right at 8min miles effortlessly with my HR around 165. The only problem is I had had to PEE for the entire bike ride yet couldn't make myself go. I wasn't about to get off my bike so I saw the first porta potty at less than a mile and it was open so I hit a lap on my watch to see how much time it took me (yes I am a nerd) and was in and out of there in less than :40seconds!
I couldn't believe I was running so well. I felt fantastic (thank you very much coach for making me stuff my face on the bike). I was even passing people! What a great feeling. I ran through every aid station taking in some water or cola and wiping my face with a wet sponge. I was bound and determined not to walk at all so half of the stuff went all over my face and body, but oh well. I kept thinking about what Michelle said, that I needed to keep fueling my body and the minute I was feeling like I NEEDED something, it was too late.

My run time was my real goal. I had the number 1:50 in my head and I had no idea whether or not I could actually do it. The course was mostly flat with a few bumps here and there so my plan was to try to stick to running as close to an 8min mile on the gamin and hope that with some of the little hills and turnarounds and aid slowdowns it would even out. I hit the first loop at just over 54mins right on target, but I was a little worried I might slow. My stomach was a little uneasy from all the crap I had consumed, but I didn't want to bonk so I kept taking stuff in. Mostly coke and water.

Having the 2 loop and out and back course was pretty cool because you could see a lot of people out there. If you were looking for a certain person you wanted to beat you certainly had the opportunity to find out where your competition was. I did spot someone that I had kinda been looking for all day. I knew that person would come out of the water way before me, but I thought I could maybe catch up to on the bike. The first time I saw this person I realized I was down about 3 or so minutes. I felt strong and made it my GOAL to somehow beat them. It wasn't until about mile 8 when I could actually see their race kit in front of me. I dug deep and slowly started gaining time. I FINALLY made the pass at mile 10 and force fed myself one last gel to get my through the last 3 miles. I never looked back, just kept on moving.

I hit the finish shoot with a BIG FAT smile on my face just shy of my goal at 1:51:11 (but I'm telling myself it was in the 1:50s cause I had a 40second pee)! I was full and tired and full of joy for having the BEST triathlon run in over 9 years of racing!!!! RACING.. I actually RACED :-)
Thanks to everyone out there for the amazing cheers and support and encouragement to believe in myself. Thanks go my hard core, bad ass and brilliant coach for getting me a 17min PR.
Finish time 5:25:57, and I RAN myself up from 27place to 24th out 140! A first for me :-)

Such a great weekend with some great people…. Here's a pic of our little group outside of our very own "Clerks" style convenience store (frequented WAY too often by some..)

And of course, Baxter was ready and waiting for his race medal pinning ceremony… Juliette's first! Next time she'll get a new one of Shane's to wear :-)