That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Saturday, October 27, 2012


29 days. Out of the 30's. Eep!!

Lots of things have layers. Lasagna has layers. Fancy shots have layers. (Fun fact about me: I went to bartending school. I learned how to make layered shots.) Onions have layers. So do parfaits. Yes, that is a Shrek reference.

I'm gonna be lazy and not find and post a picture of Shrek and Donkey here.

Workouts also have layers, particularly when you are a triathlete. Brick workouts - one sport followed immediately after by another sport - are a pretty normal part of triathlon. But since triathletes are all about taking the crazy to new levels, there is, apparently, this thing that people do sometimes when training for an Ironman. It's called a triple brick. Bike/run/bike/run/bike/run.

A somewhat standard IM training triple brick is 40k/10k x3. I would love to do that, except the weather has gotten crappy and the amount of daylight and warmth available is shrinking. I did some research and discovered that triple brick lengths can and do vary, and that more non-competitive IMers (like me) decided that distance was not worth the recovery time.

There was not a triple in my training plan, btw, but since I extended the training plan back when I switched to Coz instead of Rev, I've been following this 30 week training plan for about 40 weeks now. I'm bored with it. I hit my longest ride early (because I wanted to get it in while I could still ride the whole thing on the road) and my longest run distance early (because I'm impatient.) So this weekend, I switched it up.

Due to the aforementioned crappy weather, I did all the biking indoors. I decided to stick with the 2.5 hour run on my training plan (ironman training is SO DIFFERENT than standalone marathon training ya'll - you won't find a 20 miler here) and planned the workout around the two spin classes, 1 hour apart, at the local Y. End result: 1 hour spin class/45 min treadmill run/1 hour spin class/1 hour run/2 hours on the bike trainer at home/45 minute run in my 'hood.

 It went fantastically well. I'm shocked at how well it went. Oh sure, it was hard. Spin classes are definitely more intense than riding on the road. I did, umm, adjust them to my particular needs. :) And just the sheer volume and the "I have to run AGAIN after this?" and the boredom and the "OMG I NEED FOOD" and etc. was tough. I took a break before the 2 hour ride to eat inhale two english muffins with pb and j because I didn't fuel well enough during the first 4 workouts. But when I did that last run, I felt like I could've kept going aaaallll day long baby.

The point of said workout? It's not just to practice running with dead legs off the bike; it's to practice working through fatigue and fine-tune nutrition intake. Well, I have gotten slower than I was when I was just focusing on running, but I am getting this working through fatigue thing DOWN. Fatigue ain't got nothing on me. I really and truly am feeling 100% capable of having a good first-time Ironman experience. I am beyond stoked about it.

For the moment, I am basking in the endorphins in comfy clothes, compression socks, and wet hair, happily eating everything in the fridge.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Final Countdown

T minus exactly one month.

I feel good. I'm getting used to tired as a default state. I'm too tired to have crazy mood swings anymore.

I did a 100 mile bike ride this past weekend, all by myself. I did 91 the weekend before. I even rode from home, meaning a 300 foot climb in the last few miles of the ride, both times. Both times were a challenge, but surprisingly doable. This past weekend, I had run 16.5 miles the day before.

I stopped and got homemade cherry pie and fountain pepsi in a small river town in the middle of my 100 miler. It was amazing. The only time I drink pop/soda (I'm midwestern, my husband is from the east coast, it's a constant battle in my house) is when I'm training but it has surprising benefits. Just don't fill your water bottle with coke. The pressure from the carbonation will make the nozzle pop open and it will squirt all over you and you will be sticky for the last 6 miles of your run.

This morning, I really didn't want to ride or run, and I did both, an hour of each, and once I was out there, I was loving it. Well, I was loving the bike. I was a bit grumbly during the middle of the run but that's kind of my default setting. Overall, it was good. Really good.

I run more slowly these days and I'm amazed at how much that doesn't matter to me, just as long as I'm running.

I'm continuously amazing myself with what I can do. Not just the swimming, biking, and running, but my ability to juggle my work schedule, keep the house from falling apart, and regularly prepare healthy from-scratch meals and sleep 8 hours a night, because I have to do those things to stay healthy enough to train.

I'm feeling a bit like superwoman, albeit a tired superwoman these days.

One month and counting.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

boost of confidence

In between laps at master swim the other night, the coach came by and tapped me on the head. "What's your name?" he asked. "Because you are NOT the same person I saw swimming here over the summer."

Later on, we were doing breaststroke drills. I would love to learn to do the breaststroke comfortably, since I could see it being a valuable tri stroke (and I already quasi-breaststroke around buoys), but it's my nemesis. He gave me some tweaks and by the end of it, I was getting it down. He said, "Keep learning at this pace and you're going to have to give up that triathlon shit and just be a swimmer."

What's weird about triathlon, at least in my experience, is that at any given time I have one sport I feel great about, one I feel ok about, and one that worries me. As long as I've been training for this race, it's rotated pretty consistently and it's been every combination in the world. Right now I feel most confident about swimming, which rarely happens. (Only other time it was like that was when I was recovering from the flu and swimming was the only sport that did not send me into spasmodic coughing fits.) Running is ok, and I'm a bit nervous about the biking. But that'll change a few more times before the race, too.

36 days to Coz!!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm still here!

I'm just ridiculously busy and tired. Gee, I wonder why??

Work has been insane. I have a LOT going on at work and it's both mentally stressful and time-consuming, but I've made some progress in getting it under control and still carving out time for training. It's getting trickier, what with some very cold mornings and earlier sunsets (BOO!!) but so far, so good.

I surprised the crap out of myself by doing a 75-mile group ride that started at 8:30 AM last Saturday. It wasn't even 40 degrees. 50 is my threshold for comfortable biking, and that's in all-out winter gear. 19 miles in, at the first rest stop, I was THIS CLOSE to quitting. I was cold, and I HATE being cold. I was miserable. I was super slow because my muscles would not loosen up. But either way, I had to ride at least 19 more miles, so I kept going. I warmed up about 40 miles in. The sun came out and the rest of the ride wasn't bad, even though there were some evil hills at the end. It was a slow ride, but I conquered it. I did NOT give up.

Cold on the bike is turning out to be my worst enemy right now, right as I need to be doing my longest rides. This weekend is supposed to be warmer, though. I'm planning to bike my heart out.

Coz is going to feel like a freaking OVEN.

Master swim was on hiatus for a month while they put a dome over the outdoor pool. That month SUCKED for me. I had so much trouble motivating myself to swim that I was lucky to get in the pool once a week and I wanted to die of boredom most of the time that I was in there. 1.5 weeks back into it and I love swimming now. We've been doing mostly drills, but I think that's helping a ton. I have mad endurance now, but my form suffered during that month. A few things have clicked again, and the coach even said I've improved in just a few practices. At this point, I just want my swim to be as efficient and zen-like as possible. I feel more optimistic about the swim than the other two disciplines - how funny is that??

I did a trail half marathon 2 weeks ago. While it was fun and gorgeous, it was NOT smart. I ran it in my Five Fingers, which may also have not been smart. The combination of the hills and uneven terrain and the repeated tripping and snagging of feet (I actually fell three times) resulted in some awful foot pain. I had myself terrified that I had a stress fracture, but it got better, I'm able to run on it now (albeit with some discomfort, but it continues to improve in the aftermath) and I'm pretty sure I'm looking at extensor tendonitis instead. So now I have to run slowly, which I have to do anyway because I'm tired pretty much all the time.

Yeah, this Ironman training isn't easy at all. Go figure. :)

But....there are only 6.5 weeks left until the race. 3 of that is taper. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN. The training gets crazier, but the closer I get to the race, the more motivated I am to stick with it because it's almost over.

I have my bike transport all arranged. I even have my number. #2327. This is real, ya'll.