Sunday, May 22, 2011

Triathletes, Please Don't Play With the Snakes on the Swim

Pictures from Peachtree City International Distance Triathlon - May 14, 2011

You think I'm kidding on the title but I'm not. That was actually one of the announcements right before our swim start. I heard it and was laughing when someone asked me what he said. I told him and then he said, 'Oh yeah, that's true, but usually when everybody gets in and starts splashing they swim away'. Um, okay, good to know that the lake is full of snakes...Guess what I did - splashed a lot just to make sure it was clear to the snakes that I had no interest in playing with them.

This week was a complete rest week so NO TRAINING AT ALL. What? Really? Yes, really. We were told not to do anything tri related so my entry this week is the week leading up to my first triathlon in 7 years, the Peachtree International Distance on 5/14/11. Race report is under Saturday - tapered as you'll see below:

Monday - 1700y swim

Tuesday - 17 mile bike

Wednesday - 1800y swim

Thursday - 4 mile run. Had an appt at the bike shop that night to change my cleat placement and adjust my fit if necessary. If you remember, I've been having massive knee pain on the bike so when I was evaluated, basically everything was wrong. He added a shim to one shoe (one leg shorter than the other), changed my cleat position, told me my bike was way too small for me (great...) and that I lean to the right when I cycle so unless I correct my biomechanical issues, he forsees more injuries as I increase my mileage. Lovely. He changed just about everything you could on the fit, seat height and tilt, stretched me out more in my upper body and moved my cleats so I was completely freaked out about what would happen during the race since I had no time to ride with all of the adjustments he made pre race.

Friday - off, drive to race to check in and spend the night. First Ironman nightmare since I've started training. In my dream, I didn't finish the bike portion in AZ. It was never revealed in my dream why I didn't finish the bike but I was out of the race, crying on the sidelines as everybody was finishing. I blame my anxiety over my radical bike changes and knee pain pre-race for the nightmare. Had a blast otherwise, with two of my hilarious team mates, Rachel and Karen. So glad to be with them and laughing!

Saturday - RACE! As I mentioned, I hadn't done an open water swim, triathlon or had my wetsuit on for 7 long years so I did have some nerves going into this race. Particularly when I saw that it was the Southeast Regional Chamionships so there were lots of fast looking people and bikes competing to make Nationals. I was a little out of place with that crew. Here's how it all came together:

Swim - .93 mile 33:37 minutes
This was a rectangle Lake Swim. Water temp was 72 so I wore a sleeveless wetsuit. On the swim, I felt pretty good right when I got in (no warm up, just into the water as the time started). Had a minor panic attack about 2 markers in. Don’t really know why but I just started to get the gasping feeling and really short breathing. Did some screaming in the water and then worked through one of my affirmations, ‘all that I need is within me now’ and just kept repeating it until I calmed down. It actually worked and I didn’t have to stop swimming to calm down, just kept trying to stroke through the panic and repeat my affirmations! Finished the swim but definitely need work on sighting. Was WAY wide and swam a good amount of extra distance I suspect.

T1 3:26. Did a hammer gel and water pre bike.

Bike - 25 miles 1:29:38
I tried to hold back since I had no idea what my new fit, cleat position and body would do. My knee hurt a little bit on some of the climbs but really not bad at all. It was a rolling course with a few good climbs but nothing horrible. I’m still a bit hesitant in saying the problem is fixed though as my knee didn’t start hurting the last time until 35-40 miles into the ride. This was obviously shorter. When I used to do tris several years back I would go out way too fast on the bike and then have nothing left for the run so I tried to stay a little reserved for this reason too. Drank Perpetuum aero bottle on the bike (finished it) but nothing else.

T2 2:21. Another hammer gel and water pre run

Run - 6.2 miles 1:01:36
Run was really nice, all on golf cart paths so closed to traffic. Again, hilly but I don’t think there really are any flat courses around GA. Took me the first mile to get my breathing in a normal range. I tried to follow an old guy that seemed to be paced evenly and not too fast, not too slow. I stuck with him for the first couple of miles to keep from pushing too hard since I was breathing so hard and needed to get my HR down. Definitely didn’t get enough bricks pre race which I think was part of my breathing issue in addition to some good hills right off the bat. Drank water at mile 2 or so, Gatorade at 3.5 or so and water again around 5ish. Can’t remember exactly where the aid stations were but I did 3 drinks (about half a cup each) total on the run. Skipped one of the stations they had. I felt pretty comfortable on the run for the most part. I walked quickly while I drank the fluids but other than that, ran the entire course. Knee felt fine on the run!

Race: 3:10:37

Driving back from the race I had on some Nicki Manaj, 'Moment for Life', some of the lyrics that made me smile:

This is my moment, I waited all my life I can tell its time
drifting away I'm one with the sunsets, I have become alive

I wish that I could have this moment for life, for life, for life
Cuz in this moment I just feel so alive, alive, alive

What a gift it is to be able to physically compete in triathlon, no matter where you place, how long it takes, it's just an amazing feeling to be out there doing it. All in all I think it was a good day, especially for my first tri in 7 years and breaking the ‘nothing new on race day’ rules with all of my bike changes and no open water/wetsuit swims. It definitely could’ve gone the other way rolling the dice like I did. The only soreness I had was in my calves which I’m not sure if it’s from the race Saturday or running around all day on Sunday volunteering at Iron Girl triathlon. Knee is hanging in there so we'll cross our fingers. Tomorrow training ramps back up!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Are you in the pain cave?

Paige and Me right after the Lula Ride

Up until Saturday, this week had been great for training, mentally and physically. Not sure what switched from last week but all of my workouts were much stronger than they had been, whew!!

Monday: 3000y. Pool was packed today. Rarely have I had to split a lane at 5:30a but this week it happened. I think everybody is getting ready for tri season! Here was my workout - W/U: 400 SW 300 PULL 200 K,1 x 400 IM race pace (:20RI),2 x 200 (:15RI),1 x 400,Half IM race pace (:20RI),2 x 200 (:15RI),1 x 400 Olympic distance race pace,CD 100

Tuesday: 22miles bike, 2 mile run brick. Did the star trac spin bike followed by a 2 mile run on the 'mill. I'm probably getting too used to riding the spin bike with the ipod attached but it sure is fun I must say. Hit up on an 80s mix with a little Journey, Wheel in the Sky to keep cranking -

Sent a letter on a long summer day
Made of silver, not of clay
I’ve been runnin’ down this dusty road

Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’
I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow
Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’

Wednesday: Had a stomach ache so not looking forward to Wed night group swim. Met the team and we convened outside in the grass at the swim center to talk about practice and recommitment. Had the hood of my hoodie up trying to get myself mentally into the swim when our coaches told us we weren't going to swim but were going to grab dinner, drinks at Taco Mac. Can I get a woohoo?! Had a beer and appetizer and just laughed with the team. GREAT! No swim!!

Thursday: 7 miles. By the time I got home and finally fell asleep Wed night, I got about 5.5 hours of sleep before I had to get up to run. Forgot my gel so had my doubts based on past history with lack of sleep and food prior to run. Turned out it was a really, really solid run. Heart rate under control, felt good. I think I'll write a book now that I've discovered this new training secret. Less than 6 hours of sleep, beer and cheese sticks and you'll improve your run performance - it worked for me!

Friday: 2600y. Lots of kicks, lots of pulls. Swim was much quieter today. Funny how the gym really clears out by the end of the week.

Saturday: 52 mile bike. Was supposed to be 66miles and a run but here's where my title comes into play. Had a great ride planned with the team and my Ragnar Relay best partner and friend in the whole world, Paige. Couldn't wait!! We headed out to the North Georgia Mountains in Lula GA. Knew this would be a challenging but fun ride. First thing that happens is Paige's spoke breaks about 20 miles in to the ride. So we tape it like MacGyver and keep going. Now it sounds like she's got a deck of cards in her spokes, just making a ton of noise as a piece is stuck inside her wheel banging away. About 35 miles in, my left knee twinges (did it last week too but with only 5 miles to go) and I feel it hurting but not horribly. We stop at 40miles at a rest stop and as we're leaving my knee really hurts now. Keep going, focus on something else. We go past the 50 mile turn off and I get another sharp pain that brings tears to my eyes. We stop for a second and decide to turn back around and join the last bit of the 50 mile course. I really didn't think I could pedal anymore, let alone up the final climb that was 5 miles long and crazy steep. Felt like a weenie and was so disappointed to bail out prior to 66 mi but now know it was the right decision. Paige looked at me and said, 'Are you in the pain cave?' which just cracked me up. We finished up at 52 with a broken spoke and a jacked up knee. Ice bath when I got home but no improvement.

Sunday: Was supposed to run today but my knee is still really tender so took Brooke to the park and that was it. Last week when it twinged at the end of the ride, it felt totally fine by Sunday so I have to admit I'm a little worried that it's still in pain. Doesn't hurt when I walk, it's really on the bend and it's the medial side, mid to upper knee. Thankfully this is a step back week so I'm going to take it easy and just baby it a bit to make sure I don't damage it any further and it heals.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Head Games & an S on my Chest

The amazing Iron Nun, Sister Madonna Buder

This week is all about head games - remember the Foreigner song by that name?
Head games, it's you and me baby
Head games, and I can't take it anymore
Head games, I don't wanna play the...
Head games

It is the epitome of my week really. I hit a mental slump this week where I really didn't want to work out most days. It's interesting to me that people think that I just can't wait to work out every day and just love it all of the time when really, I've got to haul my lazy bones out of bed fighting the same mental battle of staying in bed or going to get it on at the gym just like everybody else. I won the get out of bed battle this week but had a pretty bad attitude with my workouts until Saturday when I was named the weekly spirit cape recipient for our team. Check out Saturday below for more on that. About 12 hours of training again.

Mon: 3000y. Main set was 12 x 50 swim descend 1-4, 5-8, 9-12 (:15),6 x 100 swim as 50 easy/50 moderate (:20), 3 x 200 swim moderate (:30), 1 x 600 swim, every 4th 25 fast, the rest swim moderate. Thank goodness I had this written down and remembered my paper. Never would've remembered all of it.

Tue:22 miles on spin bike. Again, probably not 'real' miles since I did the spin bike again so compensated with a 2mile run afterward.

Wed: 3100y with main set - Man oh man does it take a long time to do this when you're an average swimmer. I need to get faster just to get to work on time. This upcoming week I'll be at Group Swim again, it's time for us to sign our recommitment papers to continue training and fundraising so I'm going to have to put on my big girl pants and stay up late and swim (late being til 10pm).

Thu: 6 miles hill repeats and strides. Yuck. Hung in there with a little Snoop From the Church to the Palace, Fa shizzle dizzle!

Fri: 2400y. Thankfully this was a short swim, there was a swim meet at my club starting at 6:30a which I had no idea that was happening. Swam quickly to get the heck out of there.

Sat: 62mile ride, 3 mile run brick. I really didn't want to go this morning. Over and over in my head while I was driving I kept thinking about how much time I've missed with my family and I was tired and it was cool and I hadn't brought any warm riding gear - pretty much any reason I could think of to turn around. I kept looking at the clock thinking I would be late and they would ride without me so I should just go home - head games... I was about 10 miles away and one of my teammates passed me driving. At that point I knew I was going. No way I could turn back since she saw me, :-) Got to the ride and started unloading, still in a bad mood then we all came together for our quick meeting and I was honored with the team spirit cape this week. It's was such a surprise and really it couldn't have come at a better time mentally as I was feeling so down and then that happened and things just started to brighten up! Great ride and run after that. Weird thing was that I had an allergic reaction with my right eye sometime after training. I didn't notice it until I got home but I had a big fluid lump under my right eye and it was swollen. I iced it the rest of the afternoon and evening but it didn't go down much.

Sun: 6mile run. Was supposed to do an open water swim and 9mile run but I woke up and my eye was still swollen so definitely didn't want to put goggles on it and didn't want to make the swelling get worse by running so just settled on 6miles.

I'm looking forward to a fresh week and hopefully a more energized mental state. I got the Iron Nun Sister Madonna Buder's book, The Grace to Race' and am hoping it gives me some new inspiration.