Sunday, August 18, 2013

Misery Does Not Love Company

Today's sermon in church touched on the topic of control freaks. It wasn't the main point of the sermon, but when the pastor mentioned control freaks, HS started elbowing me and snickering. I responded by stabbing him in the hand with my pen!

Not content to let sleeping dogs lie, HS brought up the topic again during our trip to Costco. I told him that I wasn't that bad. I then added that perhaps that is why I like endurance training so much...for those couple of hours that I am working out, I am in charge. I can run as far and as fast as I want, I can swim a 1,000y or I can swim 2,000y. When its time to get on my trainer, I choose the DVD. HS added that my need to control my workouts is why I don't like running with people. Ugh! I can't win, but he's probably right.

My Training Partner

Whether he likes it or not, HS is my training partner. It is not always easy because I think neither one of us wants to disappoint the other. He may not have my drive to compete, but he genuinely likes the workouts. I, on the other hand, love having him workout with me, but I don't want to pressure him or make him think I'm expecting more from finishing an Ironman ;-)

I have to admit, things were much easier in our P90X days. If one of us didn't feel like working out, the other one worked out alone. It's a lot different when the workouts are 3 hours long instead of 1 hour, or when you have to drive to another location to workout instead of going into the spare bedroom. 

I started reading a new triathlon book (shocker!) last week titled Unlikely Finisher 140.6 by Dale Petelinsek. The book chronicles Dale and his wife's journey to becoming Ironman finishers. In the beginning of the book he writes:
"I was told early on that it (Ironman training) can put a huge amount of stress on a marriage if only one person is training for such a grueling race. I think that this is an understatement. Because all you really do for a year is train, sleep, or work. I don't know how you would ever keep in touch with your spouse if you were not training with him or her."
I think this can be true for any kind of training...whether it's a sprint distance race or an need the support and understanding of your spouse.  I consider myself EXTREMELY fortunate that HS trains with me most of the time. It doesn't matter that he's not training for the same race that I am. I am just as happy having him trail me on his bike while I plod along on my long run as I would be if he was running next to me.


About 18% through my Kindle book I came to the chapter "The Arrogant Athlete Psyche". Just like the sermon today about control freaks, this chapter also cut close to the bone.
"While generalizing is dangerous, full-distance triathletes generally come from engineering or technical backgrounds. They also love to measure data about themselves. They would rather spend an afternoon training alone than spend it engaging in social activities. Also, they have an intense desire to compete and win. A friend of mine says that triathletes are the geeks of the sports world."
Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!  Thankfully, HS knows I'm this way and he still loves me :-)

My Run

I programmed my Garmin today so I would have a nice easy run. Warmup was going to be a mile at a 9:30 to 10:00 minute per mile pace.  After that, I was going to run 10 miles at a 9:00-9:15 pace. The Garmin kept chirping at me to slow down during my warmup. I did the best I could to bring the pace down but it kept telling me to slow down. After the warmup, I made it through the next four miles at my programmed pace and then disaster struck...I hit the wall.

I'm not sure if it was the heat or the speed workouts I did this week or possibly my low calorie intake today, but whatever it was, I was miserable. I was sweating so much that it was running down my face and burning my eyes. I only had a little bit of water left and I didn't want to waste it trying to wash my face.  

On top of that, I got stopped at a traffic signal. The auto pause on the Garmin took its sweet time stopping so my pace dropped into the "unacceptable" zone and the watch started beeping to speed up. I then made the mistake of pressing the "lap" button on my watch and that put me into the "cool down" even though I was still in the main part of my workout. I pressed the button again and the Garmin flashed "Workout Complete".  NO!!!! I still have many more miles to go. I restarted a new workout (this time without a set pace) and just tried to move.

The "second" workout was horrible...much more walking than running.  It was all I could do just to keep moving forward. Oh well...on a positive note, I didn't give up :-) 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wish List

Once I read what this trainer could do I knew I wanted one. What I really like is the iFit technology. Apparently, you can draw a route on console and then it uses Google maps to show you your ride and adjust the incline and decline to match the actual road. This means I could do Barb's Race every week if I was so inclined.  Watch out Chalk Hill!!!
The bike that goes nowhere yet everywhere :-)
This little dream machine is a bit out of my price range, so I will probably opt for a Garmin speed & cadence sensor for my bike.
I love gadgets!
The sensor is only $60 and will monitor my pedaling cadence as I ride. This would be helpful information because I have no idea how fast or slow I am pedaling. 

5150 Brick

Not only is 5150 the title of the BEST Van Halen album, it is also the police code for crazy person or someone that might be a danger to others or themselves. Interestingly, 5150 is also my time on my 10k run this morning following 45 sweat inducing minutes on the bike trainer.

Does this mean I'm a danger to myself? LOL


One of my main goals this coming year is to turn into a hill lovin', hill climbin' machine. Two tools I plan to use are my bike trainer and Spivervals "Uphill Grind".  In an attempt to make this workout a little more "tri" like, I attached my bike shoes to my pedals and used a rubber band to keep them from moving.

I then tried to mount my bike and slip on my shoes like the pros.  Not bad, but then again, I didn't have to worry about falling over. At the end of the workout, I slipped my feet out of my shoes and tried the dismount. It's going to take a little more practice but it should save me some time in a race!

With time in mind, I set up a mini transition area next to bike. That way, when I was done with the ride, I wouldn't waste time looking for my hat and my glasses and my shoes and the spare key, etc. ;-)

Transition area ready!

Brick Workout - Bike by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

I don't have the Garmin bike attachment to record my cadence, so all I have is my heart rate. I may not have been riding real hills this morning, but my heart rate looks like hills.


I'm not sure what got into me today, but when I got off the bike and started running, it felt great! Maybe it was the fact that I've lost a few pounds this week, or maybe it was because it was still early and cool (I've been training in the heat of the afternoon). Whatever the reason, I felt strong through the first four miles.

When I finished mile four, I made a decision to ease up a bit. I wasn't feeling particularly tired, but I wanted to save something for the rest of the weekend. Mile five was about a 9 minute mile pace. Towards the end of the fifth mile I looked at my watch and realized that I was on pace for a PR. No way!

The next mile plus was back up to my original pace and I got my PR. The previous 10K PR on my Garmin was also set during a brick workout (52:17).  Hmmmm...what is up with that?

Brick Workout - Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


Ok, maybe I am a little bit crazy. After I got home from my run, I popped in P90X Shoulders & Arms and went through about 20 minutes of the DVD (skipping the warmup).

In-and-Out Bicep Curls
HS came home a couple of minutes after I turned off the DVD. I had to go pick up the wedding photos and he offered to go with me. Once that task was done, he asked if I wanted to go look at bikes. What a sweet guy! I suggested we take the boat out instead. We haven't had much time this summer to use it and the weather was beautiful.

Why are you taking my picture?
It was a great day to be out on the water...besides, we always have tomorrow to look at bikes ;-)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Planning Continues

As I continue to figure out my annual training plan, I am also thinking about what that means for me on a weekly basis.  Obviously my swim workouts are fixed because I have limited access to the pool. This means I will always swim on Mondays and Wednesdays unless the pool schedule changes.

Mondays will be speed/endurance and Wednesdays will be endurance/technique. Tuesday nights are the Fleet Feet run. Usually I just go and run.  However, after talking to Emily, she suggested that I make Tuesday nights "tempo" runs.

Run Like a Kenyan

I wasn't sure how to do a tempo run so I Googled it and found a "Runner's World" article that proved to be really helpful. In the article, the author discusses how an elite track coach trained with the Kenyan "A" team for several months. The Kenyan's tempo runs consisted of "a slow 15-minute warmup, followed by at least 20 minutes at a challenging but manageable pace, then a 15-minute cooldown--as often as twice a week". (Hanc, 2007)

Simple. Simple. Simple.

What?...Ladders, M-Pace, FTP test?????
I have no idea what they are talking about. I just want to run!

I need simple! I need measurable! I need something I can program into my Garmin and head out the door and just run. Besides, I don't have access to a track close to home and I'm not especially keen on trying to get a track workout in immediately before swim of the workouts is going to suffer. I want to run like a Kenyan!

Back to my Plan

This is just a tentative plan. I'm still trying to work around my fixed workouts and figure out how to work strength training into my routine. I am going to play it by ear for the first few months just to see how I feel. If one day feels like too much, I will change things up a bit. Obviously, as the year progresses workouts will increase in intensity. There will also be periods of rest and recovery as well.
  • Monday - Swim (speed/endurance), Strength (P90X AbRipper-X or Core)
  • Tuesday - Run (tempo)
  • Wednesday - Strength training (core), Swimming (endurance)
  • Thursday - Rest / Active Recovery (P90X Yoga)
  • Friday - Brick, Strength training (P90X Legs & Back, Shoulders & Arms, or Chest & Back)
  • Saturday - Group workout (bike or swim)
  • Sunday - Run (long)

Time for a Physical

One of the recommendations in The Triathletes Training Bible (and therefore part of my planning process) is to get a complete physical at the start of your training year. Since it's been a while since I have done this, I am going to schedule one this week. Besides, I've got to figure out what is going on with Aunt Flo.

Not only did Aunt Flo make two race day appearances this year, but this month she decided to show up an entire week early! Apparently intense exercise and stress can throw off your schedule. "Women who are constantly anxious, tense, tired or overworked are more likely to have an early period because stress causes their hormone levels to fluctuate" (Langham, Ph.D. , 2011). I'm blaming Barb's Race!! (But I'm still going to get checked out).


Hanc, J. (2007, May 23). Your perfect tempo. Runner's World, Retrieved from

Langham, Ph.D. , R. Y. (2011, March 20). Causes of an early menstrual period. Retrieved from 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Year Two - Developing a Plan

My first year of triathlon training could be compared to Forrest Gump's feather. I sort of just did whatever I wanted and floated along. If the group was riding, my workout for the day was on the bike. If we were swimming, then that's what I did. From what I've read, a first year triathlete can get away with this sort of training because ultimately you are gaining fitness and the increase in fitness is going to help you improve. However, if I want to keep improving, I am going to have to get a little more serious and I am going to have to develop a plan.

Earlier this year, +James recommended that I read The Triathlete's Training Bible. I ordered the book and gave it a quick thumb through and decided that it was WAY over my head. There were too many references to VO2 Max and lactate threshold so I decided to hold off until I got through my first year.

If you've got one book you won't read, it's a good
idea to get it a it doesn't sit alone on the shelf :-)

If you have one training book that you haven't read, what is the sensible thing to do? Did you say "Buy another training book". If you did, you are correct! Last week I ordered Swim Workouts for Triathletes. My pool workouts for the last year have been relatively unstructured. I would just get in and swim. If I was feeling lazy I would distract the person in the lane next to me (usually +Stephanie) and start a conversation. That has to change in the coming year. The swim workout book is water proof and I am going to keep it in my swim bag. It will get used!!!

Getting Started 

Yesterday HS and I moved our oldest daughter to her new apartment in Santa Rosa. It takes roughly two hours to get there from Stockton. Since I had a captive audience (and because he volunteered to help me develop a training program) I took the opportunity to start the planning process.

One of the first things I had to do was figure out my strengths and weaknesses in terms of triathlons. This included completing a triathlon natural abilities profile and a mental skills profile. HS was very helpful during this process because if I had any doubt about a question, he would tell me what he thought the correct answer was. Usually we agreed.

Proficiencies in Swim, Bike, & Run

Profile results
  • Swim  =  5 
  • Bike  =  4
  • Run  =  4

Natural Abilities

  • Force = 2 
  • Speed = 1
  • Endurance = 5

Mental Skills

  • Motivation = Good 
  • Confidence = Average
  • Thought Habits = Good
  • Focus = Fair 
  • Visualization = Average


After identifying my strengths and weaknesses (these are going to help determine my training plan) I had to come up with my goals for the coming year.

Trying to keep goals specific and measurable

  • Goal #1: 5:45 next year at Barb's Race. 
  • Goal #2: Boston qualifying time at CIM.
  • Goal #3: Top 10% in my age group for USAT

Originally, HS and I came up with getting on the podium at Barb's Race (actually that was his). However, in reading the book, it says not to set a goal based on what other people might do. Since, I cannot control who shows up to a race, my goal for Barb's is now time based.


This is a partial list. I'm sure there will be 5k's added to this list as well as some Olympic distance races in the summer. In order to reach Goal #3, I have to complete three sanctioned events, so those will definitely be added to my annual training plan.

  • Crazy Eights #3 (C) Hill training
  • Women's Triathlon (C) Train
  • Central Valley Triathlon (B)
  • Golden State Triathlon (B)
  • Salmon  Duathlon (C) Hill training
  • California International Marathon (A) 
  • Ice Breaker Triathlon (B) Get the monkey off my back
  • Angels Camp Triathlon (C) Hill Training
  • Avenue of the Vines (B) 
  • Barb's Race (A)

The Next Step

My next step is developing my training calendar. Based on my strengths and weaknesses, I decided that I need to incorporate strength training and speed work to my plan. I will probably go back to P90X2 because it mixes strength with balance.

In terms of strength training, I've got a double-whammy begin a master and a woman.  According to the book The Triathlete's Training Bible:
"...many athletes in their twenties and even into their early thirties stop weight training. Most masters men and all women, however, are well advised to maintain their strength gains from the winter months throughout most of the remaining season."
"Although I advise many athletes to stop strength training during the racing season, women in particular benefit from year-round strength training. Unlike men, women tend to lose muscle mass more quickly once they stop working in the weight room."
So, it's strength training for me!!! The good news is that HS will benefit from this too!

To Be Continued...

That's as far as I've gotten with my planning...tonight I will work on my weekly plan...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Renewed Focus

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I had slipped into a funk over my loss of focus following the completion of Barb's Race. Today I have a new focus...the California International Marathon...a perfect off season goal!

What have I done?
This morning, HS and I were discussing my funk and how far I came in my first year of triathlons. He said he was still surprised about how well I did (even though he never doubted my ability) . He then added that I need to focus on my running and biking this coming year because they were the weaker two disciplines at Barb's Race. I agreed.

Out of my Funk

So, before I could come up with 100 reasons not to sign up, I registered for CIM. Now I'm committed. There must be something wrong with me because I loved the little rush I got at that freak out moment when my body asked my mind "OMG! Are you insane? Do you realize what you just did?" Love it! Love it! Love it!

Now I have four months to get ready for this race. Once again I have focus. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up triathlons during this time. I still have a few tris and a du planned. I'll still be biking and swimming. However, I am going to use CIM to help improve my running speed for Barb's Race 2014 (and maybe Monterrey, Mexico).

New Goals

Last year when I did my first marathon, which consisted of running around McKinley Park in Sacramento 33 times, my time was 4:08:47. The Boston qualifying time for my age group is 3:55:00. I want to meet or beat that time.

Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of going to Boston. The only race I would do, if I qualified, would be Kona. However, given the fact that you have to actually do a full Ironman in order to qualify, I think my chances are nil.  LOL