Monday, March 31, 2014

Redemption Race - Ice Breaker Take 2

Last year I did the Ice Breaker Triathlon at Folsom Lake. It was my second triathlon ever. It was also my worst triathlon performance to date. In fact, it was so bad that even after my race report, I wrote/whined about the race in 10 more posts! This post brings the total to 11.

Last year, in one of my many Ice Breaker posts, I wrote...
"During the transition clinic, Coach James presented me with a cap from his Ice Breaker Swim. This Saturday was the official end of the pity party (over my swim) and the cap was a great way to end it!  I am looking forward to my next swim and I swear I am going to relax and not race!"

I guess the pity party is over, but the race has not been forgotten. This coming Saturday, I am doing the race again. It is a redemption race. My one and only goal is to finish feeling good about my race.

The difference between having a bad race and a great race!
I want to be smiling like my sister is in the picture above. This was her at her very first triathlon and she looks like she's having a on the other hand, know...LOL

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What to do? Swim? Run? Bike? (or More Thoughts on My Sucky Run)

Tuesday night’s crappy run really got me thinking about my training I doing too much, am I not doing enough, or am I doing the right amount, just not in the right disciplines. How much should I be swimming, running, and biking? 

I did a little comparison between February and March (to date):

So far this month, I have logged 45 miles on my bike more than last month. Note, we were on a 7-day cruise in February, so I had one week without any structured workouts. I am sure that by the end of the month my running totals will exceed February's.On top of that, this chart doesn't account for the time I spend strength training now.

I guess my biggest concern is that I maintain the proper balance between all three disciplines. This balance must also focus on my weak areas. Last year, swimming was definitely my weak point and James did an incredible job getting me up to speed (literally LOL). When given a choice, I would often pick swimming just to get more yards in. After Barb's Race though, I would say that the bike is my weak point. I also need to work on riding and running hills.

Unfortunately, in order to get miles in on my bike, I sacrifice miles running and vice versa. If I am running, am I still improving my cycling? If I'm riding, is my running suffering? I found an interesting article on by Edmund R. Burke, Ph. D. that doesn't directly answer those questions, but it does offer a formula that allowed me to convert my running miles to cycling miles and vice versa.

Based on the formula, Saturday's 47+ mile ride would be the energy equivalent of a nearly 16 mile run and Sunday's 20+ mile ride would be the equivalent of a 7 mile run. When I factor in the 10 miles I actually ran on Friday, I expended the same energy as running 33 miles. No wonder my legs were so tired last night!

Now, does this mean I am going to give up running and only ride my bike from here on out? Not a chance. What it does mean is that I am going to cut myself a little slack when I'm feeling a little tired and run down. I think because my legs don't take a pounding on the bike like they do when I'm running, I discount how much effort went into the ride.

My Sucky Run

Last night’s run SUCKED!  It was just one of those runs that just never felt right from beginning to end. I’m not sure of the exact problem, but I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of possibilities. First, it was a vendor night at Fleet Feet and I was testing out a new pair of shoes. Second, my legs were a little tired from the weekend. Third, I think my favorite aunt is getting ready for a visit. And last but not least, I may have been a little under fueled.

March 18 vs March 11 Run
The Shoes

I’ve never been a big New Balance fan, but I’m usually willing to try out a new pair of shoes…just in case.  The New Balance sales rep said the Fresh Foam 980's would be similar to the Brooks Pure Cadence I was wearing. He also said they were soft yet responsive. Ok, I'll try them.

Wish they felt as good as they looked.
Prior to the start of the run, I told HS that it felt like my toes were touching the end of the shoe. When I checked, however, I had enough clearance. It may have been the rubber on the toe, or it could have been my foot moving forward in the shoe when I walked...I don't know. What I do know is that I should have listened to my feet and changed back into my own shoes.

The run started off OK for me, but about half way through the run I developed a hot spot on the ball of my right foot and two of my toes on my left foot were complete numb. On top of that, my Achilles started aching and it hadn’t bothered me for several weeks. I considered running through the pain but decided to be smart and just walk/jog back to the store.

The Legs

Last Friday I did strength training before work and then ran 10 miles when I got home. I followed that with a 50 mile ride on Saturday and a 20 mile ride on Sunday. Monday was strength training in the AM and swimming in the PM.  I think all of this finally caught up with me on Tuesday and contributed to my poor performance.

The Other Two Issues

My favorite aunt is increasingly becoming a problem for me. Not only are her visits becoming more erratic, but they are physically taking a toll on me. About a week before she shows up I get a bad case of insomnia. This means I go from about 7-8 hours of sleep a night to about 5-6. This is not good! I also retain a ton of water and my motivation drops to about zero. All I want to do is sit on the couch…ugh.

In terms of fueling, I really don’t think I ate enough yesterday and probably should have had more carbs. I had an egg white omelet at 4:30am…probably about 250-300 calories. My morning snack was a 240 calorie protein bar, followed by Shakeology with a banana for lunch (around 260 calories). My afternoon snack consisted of a prepackaged bag of trail mix from Trader Joe’s (170 calories).  When I got home from work I had a couple handfuls of Mary’s Gone Crackers, unsure of the calorie count. Prior to the crackers, I had consumed 970 calories. Even if I ate 500 calories work of crackers, I would still be on the low side considering I was going to go run 6+ miles.

Plan for Next Week

Next Tuesday is another vendor run at Fleet Feet. This time the vendor is Salomon...which probably means trail shoes. They are also going to be serving ice cream. My plan is to skip test driving the shoes. I already have a pair of Salomon trail shoes and don't really need to replace them. The other part of my plan is to eat the ice cream first to ensure I have plenty of fuel for the run and to quiet the possible sugar demons set loose by my aunt! As for the leg guess is that they are going to be tired again. LOL

Monday, March 17, 2014

Clean Eating - Take 527

I don't know how many times I've vowed to clean up my act, but it's Monday and I am once again swearing that I'm going to clean up my diet. Of course, this past weekend was HS's birthday so we had birthday cake on Saturday at his party and again last night just because...UGH! Ok, no more birthday cake for a while!

Tried to have a healthy spread at the party...the cake was
the worst thing we served


Saturday morning, before his birthday party, HS and I headed to the New Horizon Church in Galt to participate in a fundraiser for their Mission 360 ride (I would love to organize something like this for our church). As we were leaving the house, I realized that I had left my Garmin on overnight and that the battery was nearly dead. Crap!

I grabbed the USB cord and figured I would charge it in the truck on the way to the ride. HS realized that he also needed to charge his Garmin, so we grabbed his cord too. I plugged my Garmin into the truck's USB port and it immediately started charging. Once I got up to 70%, I unplugged my watch and plugged in HS's bike computer. My watch chirped on, which seemed odd, so I shut it off and forgot about it until the start of our ride.

A few minutes before we were due to head out on our 48 mile journey I turned my Garmin on so it could locate the satellites. The initial screen popped up...and stayed up...and stayed up...and stayed up...hmmm, something is wrong. I tried shutting it down. Nothing. I grabbed my phone and Googled "910XT locked up". I found a few suggestions and tried them, but nothing seemed to work. At the same time, HS noticed that his back wheel wasn't spinning freely. As he and Paul tried to figure out what was wrong, I went back to the truck to plug my Garmin back in and hopefully "shock" it back to life. Unfortunately it didn't work.

I watched as all the riders, including our teammate Nancy, headed out of the parking lot, leaving the three of us to fiddle with malfunctioning equipment. I gave up trying to get my watch to work and headed back over to Paul and HS. Apparently HS had a loose spoke, but they fixed it and he was ready to go. When I  told them that my watch wasn't working, Paul offered to let me wear his Garmin 910XT because he knows how anal I can be about recording my rides. I thanked him, but said I would be fine just getting his data from him after the ride. Of course this meant I was going to have to keep up with him!

The rest of the ride was uneventful in terms of equipment. I hung on Paul's wheel for about 95% of the ride, but he said he was fine with taking the lead. HS hung with us until Kost Rd...which was so rough I thought my bike was going to break apart. I wanted desperately to stop at that point. I even checked with Paul to see what our distance was (I was worried we were on the wrong road).  He said we had about 5-6 miles to go at that point, so I kept going.

Unfortunately, I was so thrown by my Garmin not working right that I didn't take any pictures of the ride. The only shot I got was of the lunch afterwards, which by the way, was EXCELLENT!

Some of the best pesto I have ever eaten!

Sunday Funday

My best time on James' Speedstar route is 1:13. James said a good time would be about 1:05. Ok, challenge accepted. Even though my legs were a little tired from Saturday's ride, they felt no where near as bad as they did last week following the Lake Camanche to Valley Springs ride. I knew that in order to improve my time I was going to have to average around 19-20 mph. This meant I could not dawdle during the initial part of the ride. I was going to have to push myself from the beginning.

As soon as we left the parking lot of House of Coffee, I was on it. My time for the ride was 1:03.21. Next time, my goal will be to get the same time without stopping at the bank in Lockeford. Once I reach that goal, I will focus on dropping the time.

The whole point of all this is to increase my speed for Barb's race. Last year I averaged 17 mph…this year I want it to be about 18-19.

March 16 Speedstar Stats

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Triathlon 101 - Spring 2014

Well, we are about 2 weeks away from the start of the next Triathlon 101 class. The 101 classes are always an exciting time for me...I love meeting all of the new people and watching their progress throughout the program.

Triathlon 101 - Event on Facebook (please RSVP)

It seems like it was ages ago, but it was actually less than two years ago that I found myself walking on to the pool deck at Tokay High School for my first triathlon class. I wish I had a picture of that day... Coach James  had his full "tri-freak" set up on display for everyone. Seeing the fancy bike, the race helmet, and a bunch of other strange stuff almost sent me running back to my car. Thankfully I stuck it out and overcame my fear of trying something new.

The very first Lodi Masters Triathlon training group (Fall 2012)
WARNING: By taking this class, you are exposing yourself to the possibility of become hooked on triathlons!!!

Here's a bit of info on our team and what sort of equipment you will need to do a triathlon...

Graduation Race

To celebrate the end of the training program, our group participates in what we call our "Graduation Race".

Look how we've grown! Spring 2013 graduation race

The graduation race for the spring 2014 class is the Father's Day triathlon on Sunday, June 15, 2014. It consists of a 400 yard swim, an 8 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run. The cost for the race is separate from the class fee and is $70 before April 30. After that it goes up to $75 until the day before the race, and then $80 the day of the race, so save some money and sign up early :-)

Signing up for the race is also a great way to stay committed and motivated.

2014 Father's Day Race Info

2013 Father's Day Triathlon - My Race Report

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Strength Training - Take 2

Back on December 18, I wrote about strength training and how I was going to do P90X3. I had the best of intentions and a very compelling reason to try and incorporate a strength training program into my triathlon training.

According to "The Triathletes Training Bible"...
"...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.
Most women duathletes and triathletes are relatively stronger in their legs than in their upper bodies. Especially in need of strength are the abdominal muscles and arms. This weakness impacts climbing hills when on the bike." 
Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to incorporate P90X3 and my triathlon training. So I shelved it after a couple of weeks and tried to focus on my base training.

My New Strength Training Plan

As a Beachbody coach, I have had the opportunity to try out most of their workout programs. There are definite standouts and each program has its strengths and weaknesses. One of my favorites is Les Mills Pump...I don't know why I didn't consider this program sooner as part of my triathlon training.

Les Mills uses lighter weights (barbell) at a higher rate of repetition to create lean muscle not big, bulky muscles. On top of that, the strength training routines are only 3 times per week. It's hard to see in the calendar below, but on the first 3 weeks the weighted routines are Mon-Wed-Fri. This works perfectly with my schedule...Les Mills first thing in the morning, swim in evenings (Mon & Wed) and run on Friday.

Much easier to incorporate into my triathlon training

Plan for Success

Working out first thing in the morning can be a challenge. I start work at 6am so I need to be up by 4am in order to workout, eat and shower. This really cuts into my screw around time...making lunches, picking out something to wear, playing Candy Crush! LOL

In order to be successful, I have to plan ahead. UGH. Not exactly my strong point. However, I am so serious about this endeavor that I am really making an effort. In fact,  if I know I'm going to be doing a workout in the morning, I have started making our lunches the night before.

Today's lunch...prepared last night :-)
Right now, I am doing the Les Mills "Pump & Burn" routine. It's only about 30 minutes, so my timeline is still working. However, eventually I am going to have to do some of the harder (read LONGER) workouts. This may require me to get up 10-15 minutes earlier...which will probably mean that I need to get to bed just a tad earlier so HS can tolerate me the next day ;-)

More Info

Here is a short promo video about the Les Mills workout.

What makes LES MILLS PUMP so exciting?

  • Beachbody® and Les Mills International teamed up specifically to bring to the world the best trainers, the best chart-topping music, and the best body-changing PUMP moves, so the same results can now be achieved at home that millions of people get in gyms every day.
  • Done three times a week, this barbell-based rapid weight loss and accelerated strength-training program reshapes a person's entire body extremely fast!

Why is LES MILLS PUMP so effective?

  • It's all about THE REP EFFECT™. Unlike traditional strength workouts, which feature heavy weights that bulk people up, this program features light-to-moderate weights used at a higher rate of repetition.
  • The constantly changing tempo, body position, and speed of THE REP EFFECT breaks down more fat reserves, targets more muscle fibers, and burns more calories than traditional weight training.

What are the workouts like?

  • Muscles reach fatigue by performing 70-100 repetitions per body part. That's about 4 times more reps than one would typically perform in a standard gym workout.

Do people really have to work out only 3 times a week? If they want, can they work out on other days too?

  • We encourage anyone to engage in non-resistance training workouts (such as cardio or cross-training) on days that they're not doing LES MILLS PUMP.

LES Mills Challenge Pack Special (March 2014)

Message me if you are interested in learning more about Les Mills.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Words of Encouragement

Let me preface what I am about to say with James is a great coach…he has taught me so much about riding and swimming and triathlons. That being said, I don't get a lot of compliments from him...maybe he doesn't think I need them…maybe it's a guy thing...I don't know. Anyway, this weekend, the compliments were flowing!!!

Last minute instructions from the coach

The first compliment came during our ride on Saturday. After we left Valley Springs, there was a nice long stretch with small rolling hills. It begged for a burst of speed. As soon as I had a chance, I took off. Before long I could hear gears changing behind me and I knew I had some on my tail. At that point I had no idea who it was because they weren't saying anything, so I just kept going. When I came to the end of the road, I stopped and turned to find coach James right behind me.

"That was great! You're a lot stronger rider than you were last year."

Wow! Really? I didn't know what to say :-)

Honestly, I don't think my riding has improved at all...maybe that's because I can never catch the Bull.

On Sunday, we met to do the Speedstar ride. Before the ride, James had invited a lady to come speak to our group about a charity ride for her church the following Saturday. She really liked my bike and made a remark about how I must be pretty fast riding it...then came the best compliment of the weekend...Coach James said..."It's not the bike".

I was floored! Such a simple statement meant so much. It also turned my "recovery" ride into a sprint and gave me a new goal.
Speedstar stats
New Goal

While I matched my best average speed for this course, my top speed was a bit slower. My goal is to get my average speed up to 18 miles per hour...which is also my goal for Barb's Race this year.

The good news is that when I watch the "player" on Garmin, I averaged over 20 mph coming down Highway 12. If I can pick up the pace early on during the ride, I should be able to raise my overall average as well as my top speed.

Looking forward to next Sunday's Speedstar ride ;-)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Anniversary Hot Stuff

Today is HS's and my 26th wedding anniversary and all I can think is “WOW!” It’s not that I didn't think we would be together forever… I don’t think anyone gets married thinking that it’s not going to last. However, how can you not help but say “Wow!” when you look back at over a quarter of a century together. Wow! Wow! Wow!

This is why I call him "Hot Stuff"
Because it’s our anniversary and because I’m starting to think about Barb’s Race, I wanted to take a minute to say how thankful I am that my wonderful and loving husband supports my racing habit. Not only did I pick one of the more expensive sports, I picked something that requires a LOT of time…and not just my time, but his too!
A little break for romance
I love the fact that he is willing to ride and swim and run with me. I also love the fact that he puts up with my pre-race meltdowns and how he tries to lift my spirits. But what means more than anything to me is that he is willing to wait at the finish line for me...long, boring waits. He has patiently endured two marathons, a couple of Olympic distance triathlons,and one half Iron distance triathlon (and several shorter races). Words cannot express how happy I am to see his face at the end of a race! I pray we have many, many, many more finish lines in our future.

Thank you for being there for me, HS!!!