Sunday, August 30, 2015

No one gets in the way of my training, not even Erika

Wow!  This week went by fast!!!!

Another week of building and for the most part all things went well.  I had the "joy" of a new distraction this week with the threat of a hurricane.  I spent some of the week educating Jenni what it's like living in the cone of uncertainty.  The big question mark for training was the weekend and what, if any, adaptations I'd have to make.

The Cone of Death: AHHHHH!
As the week progressed my storm anxiety got me to a little, but by Thursday night, things were looking like we were not going to get a hurricane.  That being said, still a tropical storm and still preparations to be done.

I had a bike run brick scheduled for Saturday with a 2 hour bike and a 40 minute run off the bike.  I decided to do the bike on the trainer at 4:30 am so I could be completely done with training by 8 am should we need to do prep work for the storm.  I'd never done 2 hours on the trainer...the last 30 minutes  I got a little punchy, but I was fortunate to have several friends in my phone waking up as I was riding to chat with to make it go by.  The run off the bike felt great.  I really hadn't don't one since the half iron, so didn't know how my legs would feel and they felt great.  By the time I was done though at 7:30 am, the feels like temp was 93!!!  So glad I started when I did!

By Saturday afternoon, we started getting rain squalls from what was left of Erika.  I had a 1:45 long run on the plan tomorrow and was trying to figure out what to do.  I sent Jenni this picture and asked her, "when can I run???"  The smart ass she is, said, "3 am"
Sub optimal training conditions: WTF!

Somewhere I had the crazy idea I would be able to run outside.  I set the alarm for 4:51 and went to bed.  Holy wrath of Khan!  From about 3 am to close to 7 am, it stormed with crazy lightning and thunder.  Woke us all up.  We were in the kitchen at 5 am, when my husband said, "come on miss badass, go for your run!"

So...took the 1:45 and spent the longest 1:45 on a treadmill at the gym and got it done.  And why do the people with the BO always go on the treadmills next to me?  For the record:  it didn't rain one damn drop when I was on that dreaded thing.  Argh!  Not done yet, still had a 2000 yard swim to get done.  Had the fun(?) of swimming through a squall.  Waves in the pool...weeee!
So, not even a tropical system got in my way this week.  Boom!

Biggest week this week.  Four (4) double workout days and the weekend looks scary.

How was everyone else's week?  Good results?  Forward progress?  9 weeks to Challenge Florida. 
As always, here are this week's stats:
Total Hours: 10:50
Swim Hours: 2:30, distance 7000 yards
Bike Hours: 3:25, distance 27.5 miles (there were miles that didn't get captured dang sensors)
Run Hours: 4:25, distance 20.1
Strength: 1:00
No Missed Workouts!

Hope to see you all mid week!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just a bump in the road

It's a long road to my next 70.3...11 more weeks to go and I'm bound to have a few bumps in the road along the way.  This week I ran over one hard, the kind of hard that you hope you didn't mess up your car hard lol.

But that's old news and after 2 days of rest and lots of hydration, training resumed.  By Friday night I was preparing bottles, nutrition and packing up gear bags for my weekend ahead.  

Tomorrow...we ride!

Saturday, FINALLY, I was able to ride with my Team Amazing Day teammate.  She just recently moved back to Florida and we had yet to hook up.  It was fun to actually ride with someone and have someone to chat with from time to time.  I had a "planned workout" and she had "just ride for 2.5 hours".  Little did I know her instructions from our coach were "make Chris do all the work: ride her wheel".  Jenni I love you, you evil woman.  We had a good time and we actually had a few people drafting off us, which we subsequently dropped their asses.  BOOM!

One set done and I was getting ready to start the next when my teammate told me I was on my own for the rest of the workout.  That's fine,  it was great to train with someone.  By the end of the 3:09, 52 miles logged in the saddle.  I'll take it.

Super Cool Teammate Tiina

Saturday night was date night and the hubs and I went out for a nice dinner and had show tickets to Circque De Soleil.  Nice night, but I was pooped!

Sunday came and I had anywhere from a 1-2 hour easy ride to recover from the hard work from yesterday.  Took the opportunity to sleep in and bike my own neighborhood, even stopping to pet a few dogs.  I opted to end the ride just shy of 20 miles as I anticipated that my husband would be waking up about then and I try to cook him breakfast at least one time on the weekend.  I try to show him, I'm not all about training and that he's very much a priority.

Oh and I cleaned!!!!!  Some of my longer distance tri friends will totally get this.  With work, commuting, training and resting, cleaning goes by the wayside.  I had tumbleweeds of dog hair that I had to address.  Win for me!!!

So there went another week of training.  Life should be calmer this week and I should have better training, so here's to a new week!  Here are the numbers for this week and I've added a new metric: "number of meltdowns!"

Actual training hours: 5:40
Swim hours: 2:30, distance 5,632 yards
Bike hours: 4:25, distance 71.20 miles
Run hours: 1:30, distance 7 miles
Missed workouts: 2 
Meltdowns: 1

Have a great week people!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Perfect Storm

The perfect storm was a true story about the sad fate of some north east fishermen who lost their lives in the convergence of multiple storm systems.  Well, The perfect storm has hit my training this week.  For me, it was the convergence of work stress, hormones and wrecked legs from what was supposed to be a relatively easy weight workout. 

The week had started out great, but things started to deteriorate Tuesday afternoon.  At times, my job requires me to teach classes to my peers.  I enjoy it, mostly, but lately its been stressful because the most recent topics were not fully ‘baked’ yet and I don’t like teaching when I don’t know all the answers and my peers can be a tough audience.  It’s also physical for me.  I’m very active during the class running from desk to desk, jumping around to keep their interest. Tuesday night I did my strength workout a little tired which was probably the mistake of the week.  I wasn’t warmed up enough and half assed some of the work.  A bad combination right there.   I got home, was very irritable and quiet most of the night.  The hubs said I was “Pissy” (oh I hate that word).

The storm is brewing…

Wednesday came and I was supposed to do an easy spin.  The alarm went off at 4 and I stood up and walked over to my clothes.  I was exhausted.  Made the decision to skip that workout (now I regret it bigtime) and sleep in so I could have a quality swim.  Yeeeaaaaahh.  Oh and Wednesday also marked the first day of my, well, you guys can figure it out.  All day Wednesday my legs were killing me, like “Everything hurts and I want to die” pain.  Had I done that easy spin, I could have worked some of that lactic acid out.  I felt rested overall, but in pain.  Fast forward to my swim and I felt fine.  Jumped in the pool and started swimming.  2700 yards on the plan.  First turn off the wall, “wow, my quads are STILL killing me”.   My warm up was slower than normal but didn’t think into it too much.  Then the kick sets started.  “OK, this is not good”.  I can go on and on about how much of a suck fest that swim was.  I only had one gear: Slow.  I completed the entire workout, but changed some of the focus to just get through the distance and swim with good form.  It’s yardage in the bank. 

This morning was to be my long run.  I love my long runs.  It’s my zen.  Woke up with still very sore legs, but I’ve run on sore legs before and usually a mile in they get better.  Usually.  Not today.  At the end of my 2, I was defeated and emotional.  I was thinking about the class I have to teach this afternoon, and the all-day class I have tomorrow and worrying about how that would impact my legs even more.  For a moment I cried from frustration.  Shut it down.  Today is not the day.  My internet friends are probably wondering where I am as I’ve ‘gone dark’ since last night with a messaged saying “Suck-tastic swim of epic proportions”.  Even as write this I’m seeing messages flash in about their runs this morning, how great they were.  I just don’t have it in my to react today. 

I have a planned rest day tomorrow and early morning texts to Jenni, we mutually agreed to skip tonight’s strength workout and to try to rest up.   Hopefully the skies begin to clear up as the day progresses.

This happens.  I know.  It’s that balance that we all write about.  I’m not a professional triathlete.  I’m a recreational one that has to fit all this in, in between work, family and life.   I’ll live.  And I’ll kick ass this weekend.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Victories do not have to be Epic

Hi Everyone!

Well, another week of training has gone by and I’ve lived to tell about it.  Actually, this week, all things considered, was an easy week for me.  It was a “Drop” week where my volume and intensity intentionally drops to allow my body to recover from the previous weeks’ build cycles.  This week I saw 2, yes 2, rest days!  This was a testing week for me; meaning a swim time trial and a MAF test. 

The swim TT
I was so ready for the swim TT.  It was a 1000 yard TT.  I made sure I rested a lot the day before and did really well on my eating and hydrating.  I wanted to best my previous TT and I had some goal numbers in mind.  The night before I texted Jenni with the initial goal I had in mind.  It was achievable. I’d have to work, but it was  within reach. The day of, I sent her a much more aggressive goal, along with a scribble of the that “comfort zone” graphic and arrows pointing to the magic part.  I told her I was going to go for it.   The way Coach Jenni does my TT’s, it’s never, “warm up and go”, it’s swim a ton, then finally do the TT.  So I got in the pool, and started my warm up.  Everything felt great and I was very fluid in the water.  Confidence building.  When I finally got to the TT portion of the workout (some 1800 yards in), I was ready.

Off I went. 
Leave the comfort zone. 

Fifty (50) yards in, I knew I started too hard, my breathing was crazy and I had to try to regain control to save the TT overall.  Slowed down a bit, but still a little harder than I normally swim and kept going. I looked at my watch at 400 yards and the time was :30 faster than my 400 Yard TT best.  Hang On.   Recorded my 500 split and kept going.  Still feeling steady, but it was getting harder.  The kind of harder where you look at your watch more frequently to see how many yards you have left hard.

Finished.  Looked at my time.  I did better than my last TT, but not as good as I had wanted and nowhere near the aggressive goal.  I was disappointed.  And tired.   I struggled that evening at home processing that workout.  My orders from Jenni were to snuggle with the pugs…so I did:

my sweet Dash (pug #3)

The MAF test
So, I haven’t talked about this yet, many of my readers already know that I train under the Maffetone Method.  It’s a flavor of Heart Rate training where I do almost all my bike and run training at very specific heart rate.  We gauge improvement by periodically doing “MAF tests”.  We run a specific number of miles at our MAF heart rate and compare to previous tests.  The conditions on the day of my test were sub optimal. 

Yikes...I'm going to melt

Heat and Humidity instantly raise your heart rate.  I was in for a doozy of a morning.  I don’t get hung up on my runs when I run (most of the time).  I just try to focus and enjoy the quiet time.  I don’t run with music so it’s me and the night critters (I run at 4:30 am).  This day was no different.   I also decided to have a personal goal within this test.  For as long as I can remember, I have been a run/walk person.  Currently I run a 7 minute interval with a :15 walk break.  I have been experimenting on my runs lately to run for longer time.  I think I’m trying to get to a point where I run each mile and at the mile mark, take my walk break.   So the sub goal was to do just that.  I had a 4 mile test.  For the first 3 miles, I ran the duration of the mile, then walked for a few seconds then resumed running.  I was able to do it for 3 miles, but mid 4th, my heart rate was too high and I needed to walk to get it back down to MAF.    
Finished the run/slog and actually walked my cool down back to the house.  I was struggling a bit at this point with the climate.  My numbers were not as good as my last MAF test.  Jenni told me not to fret as the temps were 10 degrees higher.  I was fine.  Really.  The conditions would not have allowed a good result and I know my fitness is improving, so I brushed the split times off.    I was more happy with the fact I ran each of the miles completely with no walk breaks.

Saturday and Sunday came with the usual long rides and runs.  The long ride was tough this week.  No set intervals, just instructions to put some work in some areas.  I was hit by very heavy rain 2 hours in and sought cover for a bit.  Once I got restarted, I was very cold and just wanted to go home.  But I had to focus and realize this could happen come race day, so best learn how to deal with this experience. 

Sunday's long run was 90 minutes.  One hour at MAF, 30 minutes at MAF + 10.  My win from the run today was my MAF pace was better than the MAF test pace and more importantly, I only took walk breaks at the mile splits and I had no problems doing it!

Which brings me to the title of this post.  Victories do not need to be Epic.  After processing both tests and the weekend's workouts, I had several small victories that will pay dividends later.   

I left the comfort zone in my swim.
I recognized I was in trouble early and made a course correction and salvaged the TT.
I still improved my overall TT time.
I ran full miles without stopping and with no collateral damage to my body.
Dealt with bad weather situations

As always, here are this week’s training stats…a new build week starts tomorrow!

Actual hours training: 8:05
Swim hours: 1:00 distance 3000 yards
Bike Hours: 4:25 distance 63.3
Run Hours: 2:55 distance 13.1

How about all of you?  Do you recognize the small victories in your training?  Do you see how they will help you in the long run?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What did you just call me?

For as long as I can remember I had more names / labels than my given name.  Growing up as an identical twin, I spent the first 18 years of my life as "one of the twins" or "Kirch" (an abreviated version of my last name).

When I went off to college, away from my twin, I was mostly known by my full last name or yet another abbreviated version.  I guess they defined me at the time, but not sure if I ever liked being called them.

Then post college life came and I joined the workforce.  Then my label changed to, "this is Chris, she's a <insert job title here>.  Again, these labels were not defining who I am.

For a while I was known as cruisechic cause I always went on cruises...okay...

In the past few years I did earn a name through my running club that I love and honestly partially defines me..."Awesome Girl".  It started from a joke about a super hero swim suit I bought, but I became "Awesome Girl" through my hard work and dedication to coming back from an injury.  To me, "she" doesn't let anyone or anything get her down, or if it does, she wipes off the dirt and gets back up.  ( this day, when I have a particularly scary hard swim, I wear it - it gives me super powers)

But...things changed in the last coworkers began introducing me as "this is Chris, she's a business analyst and she does triathlons"...then all things changed after my half ironman...

"this is Chris, she's a triathlete (and she's one of our analysts  😊 )."  I did a double take the first time.  I loved it.  For the first time in my 47 years...I had an identity I was proud of...THAT was me...THAT IS ME.

Hi, my name is Chris and I'm a triathlete.

Who are you?   Who do you want to be?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Made it through the first build cycle!

Woo hoo!!!  Just wrapped up another amazing week of training and week three of my first build block for Challenge Florida!  All in all it was a pretty good week, with some great results.  It was hard though. Middle of the week I was feeling it and was getting tired.  Mother Nature cancelled a swim on me and a home conflict got in the way of another.  Still, I'm really happy where I'm at right now.

Obligatory trainer selfie

This weeks highlights:

Jenni is starting to give me a little speedwork on the run and it's paying off. Miss hard, but I'm enjoying it.  
I'm also playing around with my run/walk process.  Nothing to speak of yet, but so far, so good.
I enjoyed a lovely, quiet, isolated swim Friday morning in the 50 meter at 5 am.  No swim teams, no other regulars, just me under the lights.
Saturday's EPIC bike ride!  I had a planned 3 hour ride and the best I've done at hitting 50 miles during a 3 hour ride was 3:02.  I hit the 50 in 2:52!!!   Woo hoo!!!

Things I still have to work on.  My diet.  Gah,  middle section...hrmmf.  Not going to self hate.  Just making a note to improve.

This weeks numbers:
Planned training time: 12 hours, actual 10:38
Actual swim hours: 1:05, distance 3440
Actual bike hours 5:45, distance 71.9 (should be higher but my computer decided not to log distance on an indoor ride GRRRR. )
Actual run hours: 3:17, distance 15.7
Strength: 30 minutes
Missed workouts: 2

Have a great training week readers!  I have a very down week, but there's a time trial and a MAF test to do!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The emotional life cycle of a training plan

As a triathlete, I get my training plan on a weekly basis.  My week is a Monday to Sunday and I usually get my plan late in the current week.  I'm wondering if you all go through a similar emotional cycle as I do.

Below is a pretty accurate description of what goes through my head:

Upon first looking at it:

The third time I read it; usually with a glass of wine in hand...

As I start completing workouts...
By Friday:

And finally on Sunday afternoon:

How about it folks?  Anyone have the same emotional cycle???