Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Yesterday I had a hair appointment and didn't get home until after five. Could I have still dashed over to the pool and gotten some yardage in? Sure, but I would have felt rushed and honestly, HS wasn't even home from work (not a good sign) and after spending big bucks getting my hair colored, I just didn't feel like subjecting my new "do" to a chlorine bath.

Just a little more blonde :-)

This does not mean that I blew off working out completely. Instead of swimming, I came home and did P90X - Plyometrics. I've been thinking about this workout a lot...probably because several of the things I have been reading have stressed the importance of plyometric work for triathletes...especially where running and cycling is concerned. A quick Google search will return a ton on info on the subject, a lot of which includes plyometric moves to do. I prefer just to use my P90X DVD...it keeps me from cutting corners :-)

I miss the days of doing P90X in the warehouse
with our workout buddies
I can personally attest to the benefits of plyometrics. I started doing P90X back in the summer of 2008. Prior to starting this workout program, I had completed a handful of 5k races with my average time somewhere around 25-26 minutes. Because I was so wrapped up in my P90X workouts, I stopped competing and did not race again until the 2010 Great Spear-It Run at the Asparagus festival. My time at this race was 23:56. It should be noted that I had not been doing any kind of run training prior to this. My legs felt strong...springy even, and I can only attribute this to my weekly plyometric workouts.

Knowing this, I wonder why I haven't made more of an attempt to include plyo in my training program???

Speaking of My Training Program

Last year on the way home from the Angel's Camp Triathlon, HS took me to REI and bought me my Garmin 910XT. This has delighted the data geek in me for over a year now and I can finally start comparing what I did last year to what I am doing this year.

Prior to getting my new Garmin, I did not record my swimming workouts. So my comparisons have to be from mid-April 2013 forward. The chart below shows my weekly averages leading up to Barb's Race vs. March-April 2014.

My quick take-away from this is more workouts per week (I've been doing strength training this year), more miles per week, and on average 3 hours per week more training than last year. Hopefully this will translate to a faster time at Barb's.

Last Piece of the Puzzle

While specific workouts and my training plan will have a lot to do with whether or not I meet my sub-6 hour goal at Barb's Race, the last remaining factor is my weight. Through a combination of stupid experiments and lack of concern about what goes into my mouth, I had allowed my weight to slowly creep upward. 

While my weight fluctuates daily, the chart still shows progress
(Fridays are usually my low point of the week)

On Monday, April 7, I tipped the scales at 154. A couple of years ago, this would have qualified me to compete in the Athena division. However, starting last year, the weight for this division was bumped up to 165. Anyway, this was my starting point and I have continued, since this date, to weigh myself every morning and to record everything I eat.

I'm not recording what I eat in order to count calories. It is more of an exercise in accountability and also of being aware of what and how much I am eating. My math and measuring gets real fuzzy when I have an open jar of peanut butter in front of me...I'm just saying :-)

My race weight goal is 135. I got down to 145.5 last week, so I still have a good 10 pounds to go depending on which day I get on the scale. My goal is to get to my goal weight by July 4 and then maintain it up until Barb's Race.
...many endurance athletes are also interested in weight loss (although we euphemistically say that we are trying to "improve our power-to-weight ratio" rather than "burn some fat off our ass" - Ben Greenfield "Beyond Training - Mastering Endurance, Health & Life"
Correction...my goal is to increase my power-to-weight ratio by July 4 and then maintain it up until Barb's Race :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Recovery Week Wrap-up

Now that my recovery week is over its time to start training hard again...luckily it will only last another 3-4 weeks. I'm going to try and time it so that I have my next recovery week right before the June 1 "Tri for Real".

Friday was officially the last day of my recovery week. I had every intention of going out for a nice, SLOW, five mile run. However...about 1-1/2 miles into my run, the light drizzle of rain turned into a full blown RAIN...there was even thunder and lightening.  My first thought was to head for home but I would still get drenched. I thought about it again and decided to press forward and continue with my route.

It should be noted that I don't even like sitting in the hot tub in the rain because I hate rain drops hitting me in the face. So, for me to run in the rain takes a lot of effort. To test my will power, my mom even drove past me...she slowed a bit, and I know that if I stopped running she would have given me a ride home...but I kept going. I was completely soaked by the time I got home. Good thing my Garmin is waterproof :-)


Saturday morning was the first brick workout for the Triathlon 101 training group. For the rest of us, James had a long distance brick workout planned....I like to think of it as sort of an "olympic brick". The bike portion was roughly 23.5 miles and the run was 6 miles.

I can't believe how much our group has grown!

HS and I, in preparation for next weekend's century ride, rode from Stockton to Lodi...no sense in wasting gas and an opportunity to train. The ride to Katzakian park was about 12-1/2 miles. Paul was there, so I knew the ride was going to be spirited :-)  (and fast)

I hung on to Paul's back wheel the best that I could, but I was dropped before the turn around point. Knowing that I still had a 6 mile run ahead of me, I held my pace and let him go. I'm still very pleased with my average pace of 18.9 mph... now, if I could do that in Barb's Race I'd be a happy camper.

Brick Workout - Bike - Details

For me, coming off the bike and running is not too bad...maybe my legs are just numb and I can't feel anything. Anyway, I knew Paul was ahead of me somewhere...I just couldn't see him...but I knew I had to try and catch him. We had decided to do a three loop run. It wasn't until my third and final lap that I finally saw Paul up in the distance. ARGH! If only the ride was shorter and the run a little longer! Maybe next time :-)

Brick Workout - Run - Details  (Even though I couldn't catch Paul, I'm very happy with my pace)

Sunday Runday

Since James was going up to Folsom to watch a crit, the Speedstar ride was canceled. This was fine with me...I covered plenty of miles yesterday and I sort of missed my Sunday runs. I had planned to take it easy since I figured my legs were tired from yesterday. However, after about 4-5 miles, my legs started feeling better and I was able to pick up the pace a bit (not a lot, just a little bit).

Very happy with my 10 miles today :-)

Long Slow Run - Details

I also started reading a new training book today. I'll withhold judgement until I get through it, but so far, I really like what the author has to say about recovery and nutrition ;-)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Recovery Week

This coming week is the dreaded recovery week. It's one of the hardest things for me to do, especially when I'm feeling good. Before my last recovery week, I was feeling broke down and wiped out.  I was definitely ready to back off a bit. This time, I'm feeling energized and ready to train. This is pretty good considering that over the last 10 days I have completed nearly 21 hours of training.

However, as I promised Coach James, I will ease off the gas pedal for at least 5 days and give my body a chance to repair itself. I am also going to pay close attention to how I feel after this recovery week. Am I tired or lacking energy? Do my legs feel dead? Is my speed lacking? How I feel is going to help me determine how to approach my taper for Barb's Race.

In the September 2013 edition of "Triathlete" there is an article about the 70.3 World Championships. For this article, they interviewed three of the top triathlon coaches to see what they thought it would take to be successful at this particular race. The section about tapering caught my attention...most notably the statement by Lance Watson.
"I've always felt there are two different types of athletes: the diesel-type aerobic engine athletes and then the thoroughbred, the speed athletes. I either do a front-end taper or a back-end taper, depending on the athlete. We will observe how they come out of recovery blocks in training, when they feel good. If they take a rest week in training and they come back and they're on fire the first couple of days back, it means they will respond well to being rested, whereas some athletes will find if they take that recovery week, their first three to four days back feel terrible, but then after a week of training they start to feel good again, so we try to work out that routine and mimic that as they go into their A race."
So, after this brief pull-back, I am going to be paying close attention to how I feel and how I perform. I guess our upcoming brick workout will be a good time to see how I'm feeling.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monster Weekend

Ok, I realize that some athletes probably do this amount of training in one day, but for me...this was a big weekend. Since Friday I covered almost 120 miles, gained 3,200 feet in elevation, and burned 5,859 calories. All of this took roughly 9 hours to accomplish. I am officially, 100% tired!!!


The weekend started early. I played hookie from work and went to Windsor with Hot Stuff and James to ride the Vineman / Barb's Race bike course. It was a little foggy and cold when we started riding around 9am, but the fog eventually burned off and it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Barb's Race - Practice Ride by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Not heading to work

A perfect depth for a nice swim/run

Chalk Hill isn't so daunting after riding "The Wall"


Got to Tokay bright and early for a 2,500y swim. James gave us a 70.3 specific workout which I really liked up until I put on the ankle bands...I'll be working on that :-)

Part 1 - Swim by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

After the swim, I changed into my running clothes and headed out to the track. Coach Emily (Tokay High School - Track & Field Coach) put on a great clinic with a lot of useful info. I get the feeling that my running style is perceived as "different". I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong...I manage to get from Point A to Point B ;-) I'll have to check with Coach Em to find out what exactly it is.

Following the clinic we did a 3 mile run (3.25 miles if you count the lap around the track during the clinic). I was surprised how good my legs felt following yesterday's ride.

After the run, I changed AGAIN...this time, into my cycling gear.

The first 15 miles felt great...probably because the wind was at our backs. I did my best to keep up with the guys and we eventually reached Clements Road. Clements Rd was very narrow with almost no shoulder and the cars were flying by us as we rested at the intersection. I eventually decided to backtrack and take another, less traveled, road.

The final 17 miles were HARD. My legs were toast and the head wind was making things difficult...even tucked in behind Paul.

Part 3 - Ride by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


Today was not a day of rest. After church, HS and I headed up to Lodi...AGAIN...for the Speedstar ride. (We picked up Lockeford Sausage on the ride, so it was definitely worth the effort).

Worth the effort

Speedstar by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

After the ride we had coffee with James and Eric. When we got home, I changed and headed out on a short run. I felt great for the first 4 mile and then my left calf muscle started to cramp up a bit. At this point in the weekend, I thought it best to take it easy the rest of the way home.

Sunday Run and Done! by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Next Week

I think I'm actually looking forward to the next recovery week...which, unfortunately, is a week away. For the coming week, I am going to continue building my chain. I am also going to think positive thoughts and stick with positive people :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't Break the Chain

I don't want to jinx myself, but let me just say that after 3 full days of keeping a food journal, my weight is down enough to make me smile (just a little smile). However, the weekend is coming up and this is when I struggle. This is when I train a lot and eat even more. I justify what I'm eating because of my training.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I over estimate my effort and underestimate my consumption :-)

What am I going to do this weekend to make sure I don't undo all the progress I made this week???

The answer is simple...keep doing what I've been doing this week...keeping my food journal, making smart choices, and training.

Seinfeld Strategy

A couple of months ago I read an article by James Clear about Jerry Seinfeld's remarkably successful comedy career. 

How the 'Seinfeld Strategy' Can Help You Stop Procrastinating

Clear wrote...
(Seinfeld) said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. 
"After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain."
This strategy will work in any area of my life...triathlons...weight loss...you name it. So, taking Seinfeld's advice, I'm going to get a big wall calendar to mark up. Every day I do something to prepare for Barb's Race (including keeping my food journal) will warrant a big red X.

NOTE: Preparing for Barb's Race doesn't necessarily mean working out everyday. If it is my scheduled recovery day, then I make sure I take that day and don't workout. It also doesn't mean that I'm eating some super restrictive diet. It does mean that if I splurge and have a burger and fries that I write it down. My biggest problem with food (besides really liking to eat) is that I am not honest with what and how much I have eaten.

What I Do Matters

Along the same lines as the "Seinfeld Strategy" is the book The Slight Edge. Here is one of my favorite excerpts from the book...

My simple positive actions every day will get me across the finish line at Barb's Race. My simple positive actions will earn a red X on my calendar. Will skipping a workout ruin my race? No. Will consistently skipping workouts? You bet!

I've already earned 3 red X's for this week. I can't wait to get my calendar and start marking it up!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Time to Get Serious About My Weight

So far, 2014 has been a struggle for me in terms of my eating habits and weight. I started out the year with a plan (my experiment) to cut out sugars and grains, not weigh myself, and not count calories. This plan was adapted from a couple of books I had just read.

This so called experiment was supposed to be a liberating experience. I was going to drop weight while freeing myself from the daily roller coaster of watching my weight fluctuate up and down. My starting weight for the experiment was 150 lbs. Not good. Previously I had been hovering between 146-148. I chalked the weight gain up to the holidays.

On Valentine's Day, my official weigh in day following the conclusion of the experiment, the scale read 151
lbs. I gained weight! I concluded it was from all of the nuts I was eating along with cheese and butter and anything else I could stuff in my mouth that wasn't a grain or sugar.

Heavier than I would like
A couple of days later, HS and I boarded a cruise ship to Mexico. I knew I would end up gaining some weight during the 7 day cruise. When I came home, the scale read 154 lbs. Not a surprise, but I still wasn't happy. I was able to get my weight down to 151 by the end of that week.

Fast forward several weeks. I honestly felt like I had been doing a good job with my eating although my fear of the scale prevented me from knowing if I was right or not. Yesterday, after a lack luster showing at the Ice Breaker Triathlon, I decided that it was time to get serious about my racing season and more importantly Barb's Race. I got on the scale feeling bloated and yucky, and braced myself for the number. The scale read 154 lbs!!! OMG!

At that point, I decided that I was going to journal all of my food. I've have pledged to do this before, but usually give up late in the first afternoon. Today is the second day thanks to a handy little app called My Diet Diary. It is extremely easy to use which means I will be more likely to use it.

My Goal

Yesterday I read "Chris McCormack on the Triathlete Weight Debate". This article got me thinking about my desired race weight. Of course, when people hear that I want to lose 17 lbs (this will get me to 135 lbs), they think I'm nuts.


Do you really think a 5'7" woman that weighs 135 lbs is too thin? I don't. All I know is that if I am smart about my weight loss (I've given myself until July 4 to reach my goal), Barb's Race will be a lot better this year. Think of it this way, I will be hauling around 12-14 lbs less than I did last year.  That is huge over 70.3 miles!

For the next 3 months, I am going to work to stay focused on my goal. I am going to use all my races leading up to Barb's Race to judge if and how my weight is affecting my performance. I can tell you this, while my swim and bike legs were quicker than last year at the Ice Breaker, my run was slower and the hills felt much harder. Could it have been the extra 6 lbs?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ice Breaker 2014 - Race Report

The best way I can describe how I feel about my second attempt at the Ice Breaker Triathlon is ambivalent. I guess the reason I feel this way is because I met some goals and missed a few others. While I feel better about my race overall, my time was slower than last year...go figure.

am·biv·a·lent amˈbivələnt/
  1. 1.
    having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.
    "some loved her, some hated her, few were ambivalent about her"
    synonyms:equivocaluncertainunsuredoubtfulindecisiveinconclusive,irresolute, of two minds, undecidedtorn, in a quandary, on the fence,hesitating, wavering, vacillating, equivocating, blowing/running hot and cold; More


One of my goals this year was not to choke in the swim...and when I say "choke", I don't mean on water (although I did do that too last year). When I say choke, I mean completely freak out and blow the swim. Last year I did breast stroke, back stroke, side stroke, floated on my back and hung on the kayak (to fix my goggles). My official swim time in 2013 was 18:48. Not good.

This year, I focused on continuing to swim as well as not getting freaked out. As you can see from the picture below, I came out of the water feeling pretty good this year. I hit the button on my Garmin as I reached the TBF arch  for a time of roughly 16 minutes.

Ice Breaker 2014 - Swim by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

I'm glad I programmed my 910XT for transitions. This year TBF had chip timing. Although I'm not sure this was done in the swim. Last year, when I came out of the water, there were volunteers taking our tags off the wetsuit cords. This year, no one was down at the water's edge. In fact, my official swim time is 21 minutes, so I know it includes the long run/walk to my bike.

My sister snapped this pic of me and my happy face!!!


This year the water in Folsom lake was extremely low. This made for a .43 mile jaunt from the water's edge to my bike! I was going to bring flip flops to wear during transition but I forgot them and I didn't want to use my running shoes and get them full of sand, so I ran/walked barefoot through the rocks and sand.

Ice Breaker 2014 - T1 by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

I had to walk a bit just to get this shot of the lake


Another goal for this race was to actually ride my TT bike. Whenever I have raced this course, I have brought my road bike because I never felt confident enough to make the gear changes on the hills. This time I brought the Shiv and was glad I did. The gear changes were no problem and the bladder system made drinking during the ride so much easier than fighting to get my water bottle out of the cage.


The time for T2 is pretty quick because I forgot to push the button on my watch when I rolled into transition. It would have been quicker however, if I went down the correct row! Duh!

The run was hilly and my legs were tired. What more can I say. I caught myself walking a little too much past the crest of steep hills when I should have been running. No excuse other than I just didn't feel like pushing myself.

Ice Breaker 2014 - Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Final Thoughts

Not sure if this picture is correct...meaning I don't know if I actually got 3rd. Checked the official results and I am listed as 4th. The 1st place finisher listed in the results isn't on the podium. More ambivalence....