Ironman Florida- The Last Two Weeks….

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Well not the LAST two weeks…

More like the PAST two weeks, because there’s still 2 more out there…

and let me just say, WOW!

The past 2 have been rough. I’m not sure if it’s been more of a mental or physical battle, but after Augusta EVERYTHING has seemed ten times harder.

The give a shitter has just about given out.

Each and every workout has been minute by minute bargain with myself.

“Just make it to 15 minutes and see how you feel. Ok, now 15 more…..ok, not so bad, now another…” and so on, until the days work is finished. Nothing really HURTS physically, but I’ve reached my saturation point, for sure.

1383144_680189891998635_451716297_nToo late to quit now though, right??!!

It’s like riding up a hill. You get to that point where you just put your head down, push a little harder, and FINALLY you get to the top!

And so today, things look and feel pretty good from the top of Ironman Hill.

The gradual taper has begun, the hard part is behind me, and it’s all downhill from here.

A pleasant change indeed.

A few highlights from the past couple of weeks…

Swim: Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve swam between 4200-5000 yards almost every time I’ve gotten in the pool. It was ridiculously exhausting and a smidge boring. At one point, I was so tired I couldn’t even muster enough energy to hold myself on top of the water. I was basically sinking. I could feel it, but there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to correct it. Very frustrating. Thankfully, it only happened once during this whole training cycle because it’s this kind of crap that really messes with your mind and causes all sorts of questions to start popping up.

Bike: I am so sick of being on the bike. I can’t even begin to express my displeasure at seeing a cycling workout in Training Peaks right now. Last weekend was the last of the really long rides and I finished things off with my first century event (102 miles technically). Thankfully, I’ve done so many 6+ hr rides it was a piece of cake, aside from constant climbing involved. I think the elevation tallied right around 2000 ft, which isn’t a lot for some of you, I know, but for me it’s a helluva lot!  At least I know I’m ready for IMLou should I decide to ever go that route though!

Run: I’ve gotten the 3 hr long done and think I have a solid plan set for the marathon portion of the race. Having never run one makes things interesting to say the least, but I’ve gotten several runs over the 2:30 mark accomplished and feel pretty good about my pacing. If the weather is co-operative then it will be that much easier, if it’s not….well, I’ve got that down to a science too.

This next week, as recovery/taper starts, the volume begins to come down. Things seem to level off a bit later in the week and that pattern continues for the next 10 days or so, until race week. At that point there is quite a bit of downtime to assure the body is both fresh and rested.

And so now….

The waiting begins…

Wish me luck!

Train Happy, My Friends!

thumbs_up_happy_face

Alive and Well…

8

It’s a good day!

I’ve made it through the biggest build phase for Gulf Coast 70.3 and so this week I’m rewarded with some well deserved rest….plus a little sprint tri on Saturday.

My last event was back in May, but March 2012 was actually the last time I took part uninjured. This was also when things began to fall apart. 2103 has been a year of change in effort to keep this body in motion!

images-2The most monumental thing I’ve done is hire a coach.

When I decided to race IMFL, I felt like I needed the help to get through the year uninjured. I really believed I trained fairly hard and so maybe a little help backing off would keep me in the game, so to speak.

Time would show I wasn’t REALLY working as hard as I thought!

It was fun and games through base training.

Then we began the building blocks. Every day was harder than the next and I started to quickly see where I had been slacking in the past.

I quickly learned it was a bad idea to look more than 1 day ahead in Training Peaks. It was just better NOT to know!

Amazingly, as hard as it was though, I was able to complete each session, recover, and get up and do it again. Most evenings I went to bed feeling like I’d been in MMA fight, but by morning I was ready, willing, and able to repeat the process. The ability to absorb what she was giving me was simply remarkable.

I wasn’t carrying residual soreness or on the brink of injury.

During this last week, which naturally contained the highest volume and intensity to date, my hips started to get a little snarky. I have to believe a 4 hour bike/run brick followed by a 2 hr run the next day would do that to most of us mere mortals though.

It was a very manageable snarkiness and as I come up for air (and coffee) today, I’m realizing how vital it was/is to have an experienced coach to guide me through the process.

The race results will be what they will, but to make it through these workouts successfully after the year of injuries I’ve had speaks for itself.

Everything happens for a reason….

If I hadn’t been graced with the stress fracture, I would’ve never understood how much day-to-day help I needed. I would’ve never made that step to align myself with what will, no doubt, end up being the most valuable training tool I have…..

My coach…

Yesterday, as I finished up my run…hot, exhausted, and with sore feet…it truly felt like the end of a long race.

It didn’t matter how fast I was going only that I was still able to go….

I knew the hardest of the work was done and my body had held up. I was so happy and so grateful to have been able to complete every single bit of it because you just never know.

Sometimes we take that for granted…

injury…illness….it changes perspective a bit.

So now it’s race week and ohhhh it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to chase that carrot!!

Time to pick a tri kit (blue or red??), get the pedicure, pull out the wetsuit, and grease the chain…

Good times are ahead!

Race Happy, My Friends!

racer

Wacky Wednesday

5

Since I’m sitting here “resting” all week, I have a bit of free time on my hands. As I was surfing the internet, I came across these amusing folks over at brotips. I’m sure they’ve been around since the earth cooled, but I’ve been a little preoccupied until recently and not really doing a google search for “bro” all that often, I’ve missed them until now (not that I googled “bro” today…really, I swear).

They have a fairly amusing advice bank. Between baking cakes and watching my eBay items, I decided to make a quick little collage to share with y’all.  There are many more “tips”  just like these over at their website, so if this has peaked your curiosity go take a look. Especially, if you too, are finding that you have some extra time on your hands this week!

How people survived a taper week before the internet I will never know.

And the madness continues….3 days and counting.

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Train Happy, My Friends

Here We Go Again!

6

 

 

Folks there are a lot of us racing lately. Things are gettin’ kinnda crazy out there as we all enter into the deep, dark realm of tapering.

Tapering effects each and every one of us differently. For some it borders on a pathologic illness.

I’ve been told, by some, that I sometimes fall a tad on the pathologic side.

How about you? A bit neurotic when it comes time to reduce the volume of your workouts?

How can you tell if your “that” kind of athlete, you ask?

Well, luckily I had some free time on my hands and did a bit of research this afternoon.

Here are a few tell-tale signs of an individual who could be diagnosed with Taper Madness:

  • Out of Control Phobia of Germs.  Even if you have never been a self proclaimed germ phobe before your taper, you find that your eye sight is accurate enough to now see possible viral and bacterial infection lurking around every public surface.  No infection, flu, or cold will stand between you and the starting line.
  • Self Proclaimed Expert Meterologist.  Through your training, you rarely studied weather except to decide how much sunscreen to wear.  You withstood all temperatures, wind gusts, precipitation – hell even a tornado and hurricane.  But now with weeks to go, you have your email, Twitter, IM and cell phone set up to provide up to the minute reports on the 3, 5, 7, and 14 day forecast for race day.  You have enacted a “no talking” zone during nightly weather and find yourself switching to the Weather Channel ten times a day.  Some will even go so far to try to strike up a relationship with the local meterologist to get the inside scoop.  And others will channel ancient forecasting methods to forecast the weather themselves using moon position, clouds and the path of birds.
  • You can’t get enough of the details.  The race website you glanced at a few times before signing up you now visit regularly in the lsat few weeks.  You have a minute by minute schedule mapped out for the days before the event through the starting gun.  You have studied the maps to figure out bathrooms, parking, meeting spots, and more.  You have doubled checked your confirmation number, hotel reservation, and your bib number.  Every other day of the year you let the little things go but for a few weeks each year, the details are everything.
  • You wonder if you are losing your mind.  In the same hour you think to yourself, “I  can!”  “I can’t possibly..”  “I will!”   “What the heck was I thinking…” “I can’t wait!”  “Am I really ready?” “I am going to rock that race!”  “What if I am last?”  “I can’t wait to cross the finish line!”  “What if I don’t finish?”   “My training has gone so well.”  “I should have pushed harder on the miles in the middle…”.    You flip flop between positive energy and mental anguish in the blink of an eye.  Every other month of the year you are a rational, logical human being capable of dealing with complex emotions.  But for these few weeks, you can’t seem to get seem to talk sense into yourself.
  • You see people talking and hear words, but you really don’t care what they are saying.   And that’s not like you.  Most times, you try to pay attention in those boring meetings.  You can usually remember what your better half told you last night.  You can even stay lucid in a conversation with your kids about video games and cartoons.  But not during Taper Madness.  Not a chance.  You hear people talking.  You see their lips moving but you can’t focus on the message and you really don’t care.  During Taper Madness you would you really like to stand up and scream, “Can we talk about what I want to talk about….MY [FILL IN RACE}?!?!?”
  • Your race gear achieves high status.  Instead of being throw on the floor, in the laundry or stuffed in a bag, your chosen race gear is clean, folded and perched on a shelf, chair or other place of high honor a few days/weeks before the event.  Family members are instructed not to touch it, move it or refold it.  It has a purpose.
  • Excursions require safety reviews.  Someone casually mentions going out for a meal, drink, shopping, whatever, and you do a mental scan of the route, the establishment, and company before deciding if it is worth the risk of a sprained ankle, chance of eating the wrong food, or picking up a stray germ.
  • You think about the race – A LOT. When you get up you think about what you will  be doing that time of the day on race day.  When you go for a run you think about what it will be like to start or finish the race.  You have visualized the finish line so many times you have your never-to-be-used finish line speech to perfection.  You have practiced, secretly, the fist pump, jump for joy, double arm  ‘yahoo!”, etc that you will do for the picture that really counts.   And smiles….you know which smile you will try for and at which miles – instead of the death snear – even if that is how you feel.  You think about the race at every meal, walking to your car, brushing your teeth, while watching the news, singing your favorite songs (but with new taper related lyrics)… with every step or breath you take.
  • You know you are dying … or at least facing a race ending injury.  You held off minor and major injuries throughout your training, but now in just a few days you have aches, pains, tweaks, tight spots all in places you haven’t before and in ways you haven’t experienced before.  You wonder how your body could betray you now!  You spend time on www.webmd.com and www.sportsinjuryclinic.net hoping to find the answer to your mystery illness – only to find that there is nothing that specifically covers what you are experiencing.                          *information courtesy of runnerslounge.com

 

Have no fear if this sounds like you. Taper week is short and all for good reason. Come race day things will return to normal.

Inhale and exhale…..we’ll make it through!

T minus 5 days and counting…

 

Race Happy, My Friends!

  

                                                                                                                                             

To Swim Or Not To Swim

1

5 days and counting, which means…

Yup, it’s TAPER MADNESS. So excuse me if I’m off topic and rambling a bit today.

I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m bored. I hurt. I’m nauseated and have no idea how I’m suppose to race on Sunday. I’m sick of hydrating and all I really want is a tall mocha latte from Starbucks…or maybe a Bud Lite Lime.

Man I love this week! 5 days left…did I say that already?

Luckily, there’s a lot going on around here.

Yesterday was the 5150 in New Orleans, which turned into ANOTHER duathlon/biathlon (whatever..) thanks to the wind and choppy water conditions of Lake Pontchartrain. Some of you may recall 70.3 being converted into a 69.1 for the same reason.I swear some triathlete, that hates to swim, put a curse on this lake.

SIDE NOTE: I need to give a HUGE shout out to my BFFs husband, and therefore my BFF by marriage, for finishing the 5150 1st in his division!! YES HE DID!!! With that stellar performance he earned a spot at the Hy-Vee championships in Des Moines, Iowa over Labor Day weekend. Way to kick some ass and take some names!! I am in awe of your hard work and discipline! I hope to be just like you when I grow up!!! 🙂

CONGRATULATIONS TRENT!!

Now, Sunday my swim is also slated to be in Lake Pontchartrain. I don’t know if y’all were aware, but there’s been a little issue with the Mississippi River rising and flooding everyone in its path over the past few weeks.

Geography Lesson: The Mississippi River flows south, originating in Minnesota and terminating in the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles south of New Orleans and the lower Louisiana parishes (we don’t have counties in these parts…we like to be different ya’ know). These areas are well below sea level and tend to flood with heavy summer rains or hurricanes (ahem!). After the catastrophic flood of the 1920’s (similar to recent events) levee systems were built to protect the citizens and their property, but as mother nature would once again show us all…there really is no way to effectively protect all the people, all the time. See, some lucky government official got to make the call last week to A) open the levees, save New Orleans and Baton Rouge (Geaux Tigers!) by sacrificing the folks in the lower parishes by flooding their homes or B) keep the levees closed and turn New Orleans into a great big fish bowl.

Decisions, Decisions…Can you guess what’s happening right now in the great state of Louisiana?

The water is a flowin’…..

And it’s most likely already made it into Lake Pontchartrain (do you see where I’m headed with this yet?), altering the conditions of the lake, quite possibly making it unsuitable for swimming.

Which means my triathlon Sunday could very well end up being a duathlon. Which just plain SUCKS!

Not as badly as having your home flooded, or having someone decide to flood home, but sucks none the less.

I’m hopeful the water will test clean and all will be a “geaux”, but I’m also realistic. I KNOW what that river water contains and so I’m starting to mentally prepare myself for the swim being cancelled.

Friday’s email from race officials said all was fine and the swim would go on as planned, but it was one of those generic PR statements that went out to the 5150 racers as well so I’m not overly optimistic.

For now, I sit, rest, meditate in attempts to contain my hostility, and wait for updates.

5 days and counting…

Swim Happy, My Friends!

A Word On The Taper

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Tick Tock.. Tick Tock ..Tick Tock

I can hear every second, of every minute, of every hour pass right-on-by…

It’s race week ’round here so things are on cruise control and there is not a whole lot of stimulating activity to report.

Well, unless you count the hours of internet shopping (Visa actually called to ask WTF was happening with our spending habits) and consuming my weight in almonds (Habanero spicy bbq flavor) as productive activity. 

It’s all in how you look at things. Some call it lazy, other’s call it:

TAPERING

Tapering, prior to an event, is necessary to repair, rebuild and refuel those battered, abused muscles. It’s how PR’s are set, goals are met, and age group awards are won. Most importantly, it allows it the body and mind to perform to the best of its ability. Tapering is one of the most important aspects of training and unfortunately, many times, one of the most ignored.

Following a proper recovery and tapering plan has, in the past, been something I typically ignored. Similar to my post workout/recovery nutrition, it only took 1 time to try it, see the results and I was sold. I’m still lousy at it though. It messes with the mind, it jacks with the body and makes me a less than stellar lunch date. Hence the forced solitary, the droves of online shopping and almond binging. Yup, only the brave can stand me right now! Luckily, this too shall pass.

It’s not an easy task to go from 90 to nothing (ok,ok, exaggeration ) in just a few days. Drastically reducing training load, while upping the intensity ante, can create panic, doubt, stress, feelings of anxiousness, as well as various aches and pains as the body repairs itself.

Then there is the mind-numbing, beat your head against the wall boredom (note this may only be an issue in the great metropolis known as South Mississippi). Mine may actually drive me to clean a toilet or vacuum up WonderDog’s undercoat, as he has been so kind as to deposit it throughout the house ….MAY, I said. Don’t get too excited…I did it last week after all. Now that I think about it, if the weekly policy is a reduction in the overall volume of energy expended, then toilet cleaning and vacuuming is definitely off the list of possible activities.

So here is a little depiction of my fun and exciting week: 

 

(created by the folks over at SweatLab and done just perfectly I might add)

 

I need the rest. There is no doubt or question about that. I’ve been chronically dehydrated and as a result, I’ve lost 5-6 lbs since the heat picked up a few weeks ago. In addition, my legs have felt like bricks and my entire upper body feels like I’ve been hauling a toddler around 24-7. I have been feeling generally exhausted, sore from head to toe, and was starting to suffer some mental roadblocks as well. 

So it’s all good and the timing seems to be falling into place as well. When my volume peaked two weeks ago I felt quick and light. All my workouts were effortless and I was nailing my times perfectly. My attitude was spot on and I wanted to race right at that moment. Then as I gradually began to back off the volume, I started feeling like crap. This was my sign, my smoke signal if you will, that things were going PERFECTLY… just as designed!

So even though I’m incredibly bored, sore, tired, bankrupt and now best friends with the local UPS driver, I’m confident race day will be great since all is going according to plan (see scientific data above :)).

Today is a fast 4 mile run and transition bags get packed.

Thursday is a quick mile swim followed by packet pick-up.

Friday is a short workout on the race course followed by a great dinner, movie and a good nite’s rest.

3 days to go…

breathe…

Train Happy, My Friends!

Houston, We Have Lift Off!!!

2

OK, so I’m not a blogger…let’s all be sure we all know that. I’m doing this as a school project/favor because that is just the kind of person I am.

So here I am in the blogosphere of hell…stressed, tense and eating carbs like the president is gonna start taxing them tomorrow…AHHHH!!!

I should be resting…It’s my taper week you see…Sunday is The Big Day

So I SHOULD be living a stress-free existence. Not panicking about why my widgets and fonts are not behaving as I demand. As you can see, fonts are boring and widgets are non existent. All in time my friends, all in time…why have all the fun in the 1st 96 hrs right???

So anyway, today was the last run of training. I did it naked….get your minds out of the gutter…without technology naked…which is HUGE for me b/c I love my gadgets!! It was a pleasant 5 mile jaunt, which if I could get the Daily Mile widget up you would already know that! So now I wait for AquaDoc to return from his swim so we can pick up BoyGenius and head to the city!!

Best of luck to all who are participating. Hopefully the combination of good weather, months of hard work and a touch of luck will pay off in the end. Most of all, I hope to simply enjoy the day, the process, and run with a smile!!

Ok well… this has been, uh..interesting in fun kind of way. Now lets see if I can post it without deleting it…the true test!

And some parting thoughts for the weekends festivities:
Sweat is the cologne of accomplishment.  ~Heywood Hale Broun

Run Happy, My Friends!