Thursday, May 26, 2011

flowers and figurines

Third post this week! WOW!

Just a couple fun things to write about!

I got an email yesterday morning from my creepy blog friend Kevin (AKA IronmanByThirty) which contained a Bazinga ringtone for my iPhone! It would be PERFECT as a text message tone but unfortunately, Apple doesn't allow for custom text tones yet, so I had to add it as a ringtone for now. I'm so easily amused that I just like to make my phone say "Bazinga!"

Mary feels betrayed that I changed my iPhone wallpaper image from one of her and I after a race to a photo of Sheldon Cooper. Yes, sometimes I become a little obsessed with something. :)

I was just starting my easy recovery run yesterday afternoon when a car pulled up to me with the window rolled down, and a guy (probably late 20s or early 30s) in the passenger seat handed me a flower out the window. He said something which I didn't hear, so I said "what?" and he replied "I was looking for a pretty girl to give this flower to." It's a little odd.. but I haven't gotten flowers (or even A flower) from anyone in probably 5 years. So I don't care if the guy is crazy, or if it was a line, or whatever, I got a pretty pink flower! And someone thought I was pretty.. while I was RUNNING!! (Granted - I was wearing a running skirt, a pink tank top, and pink sneakers which is probably the girliest I have looked in a year). I carried it for the entire 30 minutes of my run and then put it in a cup of water when I got home.

I do not know what kind of flower it is!

I then proceeded to do some cleaning around my apartment, made a Wegmans trip to get food for my Lake Placid weekend, and did the majority of my packing!

It's kind of funny.. a teammate of mine (Don) has this Ironman action figure that he takes to races with him (and training camp) and it's sort of a team thing - apparently it has left Mary a voicemail and it went to Triple T with the guys. I decided that I wanted one too, because none of my teammates are coming to Coeur D'Alene with me and I know I am going to miss them and their shenanigans. I could take pictures of the Ironman in Idaho and Wisconsin, kind of like the garden gnome in those TV commercials (or in the movie Amelie). Don offered me his Ironman but it's really big (it's like a foot tall) and I think I am going to have zero free space in my suitcase! And then oddly enough, someone actually bought me a smaller version of the Ironman action figure! So now I have my own and it was purely coincidental!!
I.. am.. Ironman..
I bet Mr. Ironman is excited to come to Idaho with me in merely 4.5 weeks! :)

On the triathlon front, Mary has me working on my nutrition plan for IMCDA. She had me fill out this crazy spreadsheet which details my grams of CHO, protein, and mg of Na over each section of the race and then total numbers. Of course I did this in the middle of the night because that's the only time I have right now, so it was kind of ridiculous trying to divide and add and whatnot during an overnight. But I got it done!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This pseudo-recovery week is amazing. I have done laundry. I have gotten in some quality time with my couch. I have SLEPT! The weather is finally nice! I don't think I realized how thin the thread I have been hanging by has been for the last several weeks. (Did that sentence even make sense? It is 4:30 am as I type this).

I have watched this clip at least 20 times and laughed my ass off every single time. (I am getting The Big Bang Theory through Netflix; currently I am on season 3 and I am LOVING IT! How did I not watch this show before now??).

I am heading up to Lake Placid on Friday for a Memorial Day weekend training camp with some friends! Because I was a late addition to this trip - they are all staying at a condo while I am staying at a B&B (it is all the same place.. the B&B is in front and the townhouses are in back). I go back and forth between being bummed that I am not in the townhouse with everyone else and thankful that I don't have to share a room or a bathroom with anyone.

I have made a giant list of things to bring (broken down into categories) and I am packing later today (after I sleep and do my workouts).

The bad part about this is that I have to work an overnight from Thursday - Friday morning and then drive 5.5 hours on only a small amount of sleep. The other bad part is that I have to drive home on Monday and then go into work that night. :(

The good part is.. well.. I get to go to f-ing LAKE PLACID for the weekend!

Mr. Mike's, you'd better watch out because I am going to eat the shit out of you!

I am not so excited about doing the climb past Whiteface (my least favorite part of the course) twice. Nothing invokes fear in me like the last 11 miles of the bike course does, but in my opinion - the 3 bears? Easy-peasey. Riding past Whiteface? Not so much. I also hate the climbing once you make the turn towards Wilmington (between the 2 out and back sections for those of you familiar with the 2010 course).

To anyone who is going to be up in Lake Placid (I know there are at least 2 of you), shoot me an email if you want to meet up!

Monday, May 23, 2011

pics or it didn't happen!

I have been so busy between work and training that I have barely had time to post. I know I say this every time. However, I believe that I have now *crested* over the peak volume of Ironman 2011 training Round 1 with the weekend that I just completed. Hopefully I will have a little more free time as Ironman Coeur D'Alene is a mere 5 weeks away!

Even while going full throttle at max volume, I was able to get Hedwig into the bike shop for a tune up and some new pink-ification: new hot pink bar tape and new cables/pink housing (the latter courtesy of my brother!). Instructions to the mechanic when I dropped it off: I don't care what you have to do to it to make it work better, but DO NOT take that Ironman sticker off! :)

Next weekend I have a big training weekend up in Lake Placid with Kim and a few other people, but I am on a rest week Mon-Fri.. with some big miles on Saturday and Sunday. That's atypical but I just finished week 4 of my 4 week build so a rest week was needed! And let me tell you.. I AM F-ING TIRED!

The short-ish version of this weekend:

scenic overlook of Canandaigua Lake
(one of the NY Finger Lakes)
 Saturday I did a 5:45 ride with Kim. We rode around the lake (typical) but we detoured from our usual route and rode her boyfriend's route (the big boy route) instead. Now I'm not big on "hey everybody look at my Garmin files" but this file is definitely share-able. Not because I did awesome on the ride (hello slowness) but because of the climbing that we had to do! According to Mary, I didn't do too badly with the HR for this ride. There was a lot of up, down, up, down, up, up, up! At least it was a gorgeous day for riding - FINALLY! Kim and I both got COMPLETELY sunburned on Saturday, but it was almost worth it because it was so beautiful out!

The more times that I do these long rides (5+ hours) the easier they seem to get - mentally, not necessarily physically. I am not intimidated by a 5 hour ride anymore. I don't go through super low points like I have in the past. I feel like I am riding better as I progress this season (thank god) but it's just so early still! It's freakin' MAY! I HAVE AN IRONMAN IN 5 WEEKS!!!!!!


I'm not sure what the point of this tree was..
Saturday night I actually had fun. (Wait.. weekends are supposed to be fun? I thought they were for getting up at the crack of dawn and cramming in as many hours of training as humanly possible before collapsing into bed at 9 pm?) I showered (for the first time that day). I put on real clothes that didn't include yoga pants (underwear? what's this??). I left my apartment (not headed for the gym. or work. or anywhere with my bike.). I drank a beer (apparently beverages other than Powerbar Endurance, and Coca-Cola are in existence).

What was all of this for?!? I went to the Lilac Festival with my British-accented, German friend/teammate, Matthias (British accents are so fun!). It's pretty self-explanatory. There are lots of lilacs, carnival foods, bands, kids, dogs, white trash, etc. The park that this festival takes place in is pretty nice (I had never really been there. I have run past it before). So we wandered around. We may have stood in line for an hour to get funnel cake. (I know - this is absolutely ridiculous. But I was half-starved after over 6 hours of workouts, Matthias raced that morning, AND he had never had one).

..but I fit inside it much better than he did!

Sunday I may have regretted that funnel cake-eating decision as my GI tract turned against me 2 hours into my 2.5 hour run. Being 30 minutes away from the closest bathroom, I did what any truly dedicated runner would do.. I went into the swampy wildlife area that I happened to be running alongside of and.. is more explanation really necessary? I don't think so.

Damn you greasy food.

Despite the "issues" I had in the tail-end of my run, I had a little self-confidence boost earlier in the run. You see, I am tired. My legs are tired, I am tired of waking up early to go to work or to train. Just in general I am very fatigued and running for 2.5 hours was the LAST thing I wanted to do on Sunday morning (especially having to go into work later that night). So the first hour of my run, which was with other people, was hard, but when Kim left me (she had a shorter run than me), it got infinitely harder. I wanted to turn around and say f- this and go home. Put my legs up. Eat lunch. Instead I walked for a minute, collected myself, ate my emergency mini Snickers bar, turned on my ipod, and started running again. It wasn't instantaneous, but 2 or 3 miles later I felt ok. Maybe not great. But ok enough to keep going. And maybe even smile a little. :)

So all is good. My weekend training is complete, and today is workout free!! Tues-Fri are recovery days, and then I head up to LAKE PLACID for a long holiday weekend full of friends, big hills, lots of miles, other crazy triathletes, comfy clothes, and the amazing Adirondack scenery!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

flatten that line

After owning and training with my Garmin Forerunner 305 for 3 years, and being coached by Mary for 1.5, I FINALLY learned how to upload the data from the Garmin onto my computer. Previously, I just used the Garmin to keep track of distance and pace, and then average HR once I started with Mary. I would report this stuff for every workout but seriously.. what kind of information am I giving her when I tell her my average pace over 100 miles was 17 mph and my HR was 151 bpm. Two data points from an entire day's worth of training? That's ridiculous and essentially useless.

I decided that I wanted to learn how to upload the files onto my computer a while ago, but I just could never get it to work. After basically having instructions given to me step-by-step by a friend, I FINALLY figured out how to do it! (That process was not without its frustrations though). Being a scientist (I <3 charts), this influx of new data was really exciting to me!

Now, after seeing Garmin files for the past few weeks of workouts, I can see how much work I really need to do. My HR and pace files look like an EKG monitor. These major inconsistencies in my heart rate and pace are NOT good for Ironman distance events. Every unnecessary heart rate spike I have will affect me later on in the day - probably at mile 18 in the Ironman run. Since one of my major personal goals in my upcoming Ironman (5 weeks, bitches!) is to run a really solid, evenly-paced marathon.. I have a lot of work to do in order to get my HR and pace lines smooth as possible in order to make this goal a reality.

I have noticed that I do a little better in races (I did pretty well in the Flower City Challenge) and in endurance runs than I do with cycling. In long Saturday training rides especially, I am ALL OVER the place. My background: running. So this is not shocking to me at all.

Good Example:
my HR data from Flower City Challenge half marathon.. good upward HR
trend, not a lot of spikes.. that bit in the middle was in the very hilly cemetery
Bad Example:

Note ALL of the spikes in both HR and pace. I am very, very inconsistent on the bike.

It's a bit discouraging and frustrating to look at this data, but I also think it's a really, really good thing because it gives me a concrete goal to work on. Before, I would just do my long rides with no distance or pace goal in mind - I just wanted to finish. Now I can still leave those pace and distance goals alone (since they are sooo dependent on environmental factors that change daily) but I can really focus on my heart rate and keeping it from spiking - and then I can actually look back on my data post-ride and see how well I did.

Mary has given me a HR cap of 155 for bike rides (I spoke a little about this earlier in the week). I have found that it's easy enough to do when the hills are small and I can spin up them, but once I have to utilize my "granniest" gear, I am screwed and my HR skyrockets. What I am also supposed to do is not let my HR dip down super low either, so I have to work hard to not coast down small-ish hills or let myself slack off when there is a tailwind carrying me along.

Just some more things to work on in the upcoming weeks! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

rain rain go away

Anyone else who lives in the NE can understand the horrible weather for training that we had this weekend. It has been raining nonstop since Friday evening. There are puddles, dead worms, and squished snails EVERYWHERE. Rain is forecasted to continue like this through Thursday.

I had a large weekend on tap: 5.5 hour ride/30 min run on Saturday and 3 hour run/1 hr recovery ride/30 min recovery swim on Sunday. One of my regular riding partners was on a rest week and the other is tapering for Triple T this coming weekend, so I was on my own for the majority of the weekend.

Becuase it is mid-May and because my first triathlon is in 3 weeks and my first Ironman is in 6 weeks, I was training outside come hell or high water. People (non-triathlon people.. yeah.. those freaks) keep saying "oh I guess you didn't get outside on your bike this weekend, did you?" Hell-to-the-YEAH I did!! Rain.. does not stop me!

I had some company for the first part of my long ride on Saturday from my German friend, Matthias. True to form, it was raining when we headed out (as it was last time). At least it was in the 60s on Saturday so I was just wet and dirty and NOT cold as well. He rode with me for 90 mins or so and then he headed back and I forged on alone. My main goal for this ride was to work on capping my HR at 155 (per Mary - more on this in a later post) even when climbing hills. I chose a route with a lot of big rollers (the dreaded 5/20) to try to simulate what I think I am going to see in Coeur D'Alene. (Because I have never been to Idaho, I am just doing guesswork based on what I have read on slowtwitch). The HR cap worked fine when I could spin up the hills, but failed miserably when I hit hills that maxed out my gearing and I was stuck wobbling up the hill in my smallest gear. I ride a 12-27 cassette so I guess my only option here is to just suck it up and get stronger.

My main issues with riding in the rain is just being soaking wet for so long. It's gross and it promotes chafing in unpleasant areas. Also, I dislike drinking out of water bottles when they are covered with grit because god knows how much cow crap I ran over (5/20 goes through cow country) and then subsequently got in my mouth because it was on the water bottle. GROSS. Everything that went on the ride with me was disgusting by the end, and I cleaned my bike off using a water bottle and water from a spicket in the park where I left my car. Apparently Matthias put his bike in the shower to clean it off!

After riding on Saturday, I had to turn around and run for 3 hours in the rain on Sunday. It was colder on Sunday!! I wore shorts, a base layer, a tech t-shirt, gloves, and a running (baseball) hat and was ok but not great temperature wise. Thank god for base layers was my mantra over the weekend! I was worried about this 3 hour run because when I did it a month or so ago, I had running partners, my legs were fresh, and the weather was ideal. This time around I was going solo, in a windy rainstorm, on tired-ass legs. However.. I managed to run the same exact course FOUR MINUTES FASTER than last time! I am PSYCHED about this! I ran 19.4 miles in 3 hours, which I believe translates to a 9:17 pace!

This is my testament to Mary. It's all about patience. In my year and a half with Mary, I have PRed at the half-IM distance, PRed at the half marathon distance, had the race of my life at the mini-Mussel sprint triathlon, have successfully completed a full Ironman, and I am now confidently running (and pacing myself) for 19 miles with no issues and no dying at the end of runs. Could I have done that without her? Doubtful.

So here is a giant middle finger to this weather. You can't stop me stupid rain! I will ride though you and run through you!

the cookie conundrum

F-ing blogger lost this post so I am RE-POSTING it!

Wow, I have not posted a blog in almost a week because I have been working and training like a maniac!

18 hours and change last week, 5.5 hours (89 miles on the bike) on Saturday, a little over 2 hours of running on Sunday, plus the usual extras. My quads are still not recovered from the half marathon I did a week ago - which was proven to me about 9 miles into my long run yesterday. My long run did not go well and I was disappointed with it, but.. it happens. I also forgot to wear sunscreen because it was only 55 degrees out when I started, but I got FRIED.

The ride on Saturday actually went pretty well. Ken, Kim and I rode 'round the lake (as per usual) and we got rained on pretty heavily about halfway through and subsequently froze until we got to Canandaigua. I am so freakin' SICK of this rain and we were ALL frustrated with the stupid weather! After "warming up" in the Hess Station we headed back out - luckily the sun had come out. For once, I felt halfway decent on the last half of the ride. I did fine on 5/20 and was even able to get some quality tempo work in for about an hour (I was supposed to do 90 mins). Then.. I died. It happens. Overall, I'm pretty happy with 89 miles in 5.5 hours.

Other than the normal things in my life: being busy at work, not sleeping, and training lots.. I only have one thing to write about.

Last week was not a good week. Partly due to working evenings and therefore being unable to see or really talk to any of my friends, partly due to not sleeping well all week, and then just some other stuff. Wasn't really the best week ever. On Thursday, I went to Wegmans to buy lunch after doing my workouts and also bought an iced sugar cookie from the bakery.

how could this not be delicious?
Wegmans makes the best iced sugar cookies EVER. So I was SUPER excited to eat this cookie.. it was basically the highlight of my day - perhaps even my week (is this pathetic?).

I got home from Wegmans (which, btw, is about 100 yds away from where I live) and ate my lunch. And then I went to eat my cookie, and I couldn't find it! I looked in all of the shopping bags, all over my apartment, in my car, in my purse, in the trash can (yuck), on the ground outside the apartment, EVERYWHERE. It was gone. And I was REALLY upset. Bad mood all week was made worse because of the lost cookie. I posted on facebook and got mocking answers such as "did you check your stomach?"

Yes, this is a bit sad, but you know what.. sometimes, the small things in life are what count!

I resigned the cookie as being lost forever, got ready for work, and then realized that I was running a little early. So I went BACK to Wegmans to buy a replacement cookie, and when I reached the register, my original cookie was there! I guess it had never gotten placed in my bag. So I left Wegmans happy and with TWO fish sugar cookies! (Which I then ate at work).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flower City Half Marathon race report

This is the 2nd annual running of this race, which is run entirely within the city limits of Rochester. Remember when I posted about this last week and said it was flat except for a hill in the middle? I lied. It's flat in the beginning and the end, with the exception of THREE MILES of hills before and throughout that %&*#-ing cemetery. I forgot how hilly horrible that shit was.

Anyways, I came into this race well rested and tapering. I did not have a long ride on Saturday; instead I had a 1.5 hour recovery ride. I chose to do this ride outside because it was sunny and beautiful out. Although I had good intentions at doing this at recovery pace, I didn't. I didn't hammer it, but I didn't go easy like I should have done.

My race plan for Sunday was to run the first 10 miles with the 1:40 pace group and then try to drop them for the last 5K. Goal time: sub 1:40. This goal time has been on my radar since my last half marathon in 2009 where I ran a 1:41 on a nice flat course. I pulled that 1:41 out of my ass and I KNOW that with some legit training I could go sub 1:40 for sure. I was skeptical that I would be able to do it for this race given the fact that I have done no speedwork whatsoever and my running has been lagging behind where it was last year due to time off for my hamstring injury. So I went into the race drooling over the sub 1:40 but not super cocky that I could get it.

Sunday, I got up at 5 am, ate the typical breakfast of banana, protein shake, toast, and applesauce. My gear was all laid out from the night before so I just put on my race gear and grabbed my bag. I parked in a parking garage downtown where I immediately ran into Solveig. We walked inside and found Ken, Greg & his fiancee Amanda, and a few others. I did a quick warmup and lined up practically on the line so I could be right behind Andy, the 1:40 pace leader/exboyfriend/pacing buddy. You think that would be awkward, but it's not. I set my Garmin to show "average pace" so that I could keep track of where I was (I needed to maintain a 7:37 pace) when I was slowing down through the cemetery section.

can you find me?

The gun went off and we started running. The first couple miles wind through a not-so-nice part of Rochester that I would probably never run in by myself. I had talked to Andy on the phone a few days before the race and we had discussed pacing strategies, since he had never been a pace leader before. We both knew that the course slows way down at about the halfway point, so he had a plan to bank some time in the first half. This is exactly what happened. For the first 6 or so miles, my Garmin showed an average of 7:30 pace. This pace was easy for about 5 miles, and then the 6th mile I really had to work to keep it up.

Once we hit the hill on Goodman, I knew I wasn't going to be able to maintain that pace because the hill is pretty long, and that's exactly what happened. I fell right off the back of the pace group on that hill. My average pace fell to about 7:35 going up that hill. I regrouped and brought my pace back to where it needed to be once I got into the cemetery because those hills are rolling, but I just could NOT catch Andy. The cemetery was awful. It has steep rolling hills, lots of twists and turns, and I had to go to the bathroom. Oh wait, that happened last year too! Mother f-er. Last year I stopped at a portapotty, this year, I was just going to hang on and RUN. I felt like I was going to die, which was appropriate since I was running through a bunch of graveyards! I managed to get my average pace back down to maybe 7:33 through the cemetery by working the downhills hard.

down the finish stretch
K-Dub passed me at mile 9. We exited the cemetery and I got a slight 2nd wind at mile 10. I passed K-Dub back and was running right with one of the Fleet Feet guys named Robbie. I told him I was trying for a 1:40 and I was right on pace, but I was slowly slowing down the last 3 miles. I could see my average pace drop from 7:35 to 7:36 to 7:37. I knew it was going to be right down to the wire. The last 2 miles were torture. We headed over the Ford St. bridge and down the long stretch through Cornhill that I HATE. You know the finish is so close, yet so far. Robbie was running right in front of me and told me to pick it up because I was almost done. I turned the corner and saw the finish. I knew at that point that I was not going to come in under 1:40. I saw Greg on the left and he started running me in, yelling at me to sprint in.. thank god for Greg. What a great guy!

I finished in 1:40:55.

That's a PR for me by about 40 seconds. It's hard not to be happy with that. The course is harder, it's early in the season, and I PRed! I may not have hit my ultimate goal, but I was only 55 seconds off. Mary told me that if I had done my recovery ride the way I was SUPPOSED to do it the day before, that I could have gone under 1:40. For the record, I ran this race in a 1:50 last year. So.. 9 minutes faster.. NICE!

I guess that sub 1:40 is for another day!

I ended up 8th in my age group out of 199 women, and 35th woman overall. Everyone else had a great day as well!

Nutrition: I ate 1 shot block every 2 miles. I almost choked on a shot block once, and I did not eat one at mile 12 (thought it was pointless and I was too tired to chew by that point).

Greg, me, Solveig, Kenny - the lovely members of Train-This post race!
I have fantastic teammates. Thanks for everything you guys! And now.. over 48 hours later, my quads are STILL WRECKED!