Thursday, May 30, 2013

Making a list and checking it twice...

or 147 times...

Only 2 days until my first 70.3, and I am legitimately freaking out.  I don't think I was even this nervous or obsessive about my first marathon.  By most accounts, a marathon is more difficult than a half iron, though given my trepidation about the swim, I am not so sure.  But I guess I am as prepared as I can be and there isn't much I can do at this point, so I keep telling myself to relax.  It's not really working though!

May was a good month training-wise, and this week has been relatively easy so I am not feeling exhausted or over-trained.  I was definitely ready for this taper though! 

I've studied the athlete guide and learned several important things about Ironman races, including "Public Nudity is not permitted" and my personal favorite from the run instructions: "No form of locomotion other than running, walking, or crawling is allowed." 

As of now, the race is wetsuit legal (barely), but it is going to be really hot for the next couple of days, so the lake temp might exceed 76.1 by Sunday.  If that's the case, I am going to have to start with the last wave of people who are wearing wetsuits anyway.  Fortunately the difference in start times is negligible since my age group is one of the last waves anyway (8:22 vs 8:10).  Having decided to wear the wetsuit either way has somewhat alleviated my nervousness about the swim, because at least then I know I can float.

I did a test ride of the course, so I am prepared for that (I guess), but am not looking forward to the steady uphill start.

I ran a preview of the course, though I am not sure if that was the best idea... it was really tough and I feel like I might have less anxiety if I didn't know just how challenging it was going to be!

I have also studied the weather.  Again, something I wish I didn't know, especially since I really can't do anything about that!

So I guess I've covered my bases preparation-wise, and now it's just a matter of execution... hopefully all of this obsessive preparation pays off :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

The hay is in the barn

Saturday:  Tour de Cure!  A few months ago Bex invited me to join her team (BD) and I happily tagged along on this ride - Big thanks to Rebecca and Team BD for letting me join them!  It was the furthest I've ever ridden, but with the rest stops and generally pleasant weather, it really didn't seem particularly difficult, which was quite surprising.  My watch was set to auto-pause so the rest stops weren't averaged in, but our moving pace 17.4 mph (80.2M, 4:42:17) - not bad at all.  I must say again (as I did after the MS 50), that I really love supported rides, and I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of those in the future (starting with the Velo for Yellow Century on July 20 and Five-0 Memorial 100K on August 24).  Once we finished the ride, Bex and I made the quick change to running shoes and ran a quick 20 minute transition run (2.5M, 19:46).  

Sunday:  Rise run with Sarah and Adrien (10M, 1:18:43).  The humidity was terrible, but despite being soaked we ran the last mile in 7:08.

Monday: It was supposed to be a rest day, but I opted for a nice walk on the indoor track with Nicole (2.5M in about 40 minutes) and quick swim (1K, including 6 x 50, 21:00)

Tuesday: 7 miles with Ellen in the morning and a 45 minute interval workout on the trainer

Wednesday: A little transition practice with Bex  - 5 x (10 minutes on the trainer + 3:30 transition run).

Thursday: Rise run with Sara (5M, 39:43) in the morning and open water swim practice at Jordan Lake (roughly 1.2 miles in about 50 minutes - not breaking any speed records...)

Friday:  Cooler temps made this a lot easier than last week's tempo, and I actually felt reasonably good through the working intervals (2 x 2 miles).  The splits were right on target, and my heart rate ranged from 160-172 through the faster miles (goal zone of 165-172), so I was pretty pleased with the workout.  It also helped to have company - so thanks to Ellen and Amy for that! (8M, 1:01:50)

7 day totals: Swim (1.77), Bike (80 plus two workouts on the trainer), Run (34.75); 12:41:41; 9,855 calories

Saturday: The morning started with the Doughman with team YODO (You Only Doughman Once) with Ellen, Caren, and Jen.  My leg involved eating a mac and cheese cupcake and then biking about 10 miles.  I tried to ride as fast as possible, but streets were not closed and we had to stop at lights and intersections, so it turned out to be basically an interval ride.  Results haven't been posted yet and I didn't wear a watch so I don't know the time or pace, but it took a lot more out of me than I'd expected.  Once Jen and Caren finished their eat-run legs, we ran over to the finish as a team and collaboratively downed 4 delicious desserts (with me caught on camera stuffing a cupcake in my face).

After the race I headed home and met up with Nicki and Noah (from the DTC) at Moonberries to ride down to Jordan Lake and check out the start of the race (47.25M, 2:54:35, 16.2 mph).  We put in a pretty good effort on the way out and averaged a little over 17 despite a pretty strong headwind.  Just before the turnaround, Nicki's shifter decided to stop working and she wasn't able to get out of the easiest gear, so I rode with hear at a nice leisurely pace (given all of the spinning on the flat and downhill sections).  It was actually nice to just spin it out a bit and get some time in on the bike without working very hard, so maybe her bike malfunction was a blessing in disguise.

Sunday: Test run of the Ironman Raleigh course with Ellen (12.2M, 1:38:40).  For the first few miles I thought, "well, this isn't too bad"... and then we got onto Reedy Creek trail.  I am not sure how accurate the elevation profile is because it was far hillier than it looks, and somehow it felt uphill both ways (though obviously it isn't).  Given the forecast of temps in the high 80s for the run portion of the race, I think I am going to have to throw any expectations of a decent time out the window.  Oh well, nothing I can do about it!  Hopefully the last couple of months of decent training and a nice easy taper week will be enough to get me through this!   ONE WEEK TO GO... AAH!

Friday, May 17, 2013

T minus two weeks!

Not much exciting to report.  My knee was bothering me a lot at the beginning of the week (I think it might be from swimming laps), but hopefully it's nothing serious.  These are my two highest volume weeks, and though I am starting to freak out a bit, I am mostly getting excited.

Monday: Bike ride with Bex on the ATT (14.5M, 56:41)

Tuesday: A little bit of speed work on the treadmill.  3.25M in 23:51, including 3x1200 (4:59-4:55-4:52), followed by 1250 in the pool.

Wednesday: Nice little 6 mile Moonberries run with Sarah (46:55) and 30 minutes on the trainer working on riding in aero and keeping a higher cadence.

Thursday: 1600 in the pool, mostly pull with a few 200s without the buoy.  My evening run was 5M on the ATT in 38:30, consisting of a 15 minute warmup, 20 minutes of 1 minute fast (between 5:57 and 6:26 pace, depending on incline/decline) - 1 minute slow.  About 3 minutes into my cool down I ran into a friend on the trail, stopped to chat, and didn't feel like running again after that so I walked the last mile home.  This workout didn't sound that bad when Allie described it, but was a lot harder than I expected!

Friday: AM - Short and easy Rise run with Ellen (4M, 31:52).  
PM - Test ride of the Ironman 70.3 Raleigh bike course with Bex.  We rode about 15 miles to pick up the course at mile 7, rode the middle 40 of the course, and then veered off in order to meet Monte at his office to catch a ride home.  Overall a pretty nice course, mostly rolling with no major climbs, but with temps in the 80s, it was quite a tiring ride (57.2M, 3:31:47, 16.2 mph).

Saturday: A very humid 8.65 on the ATT (1:10:11) with Caren, Karen, Jen D, and Nan, followed by cupcakes and another mile (8:02) in preparation for the upcoming Doughman eat-run relay.

Sunday: I wasn't going to run again, but couldn't say no to a Sunday Rise run with Allie, Ellen, Amy, and Alison, especially on a day with perfect running weather (9M, 1:10:00).  Had planned to ride in the evening but was pretty tired after traveling to visit my in-laws for Mother's Day, so I did a really quick, difficult pace/resistance half hour on the trainer.

Weekly totals: Swim (1.73), Bike (72 plus an hour on the trainer), Run (37); 11:53:43; 6,925 calories

Monday:  AM - Easy run with Ellen on the ATT (4.7M, 37:38)
PM - Walked the Al Buehler Trail with Nicole (3.1M) and then hit the pool for a 2200 pull swim (45:00)

Tuesday:  AM -Another lovely Rise run with Ellen (6M, 47:41)
PM - Quick out and back from American Village with Nicki, mostly me trying to keep up! 2M easy warmup (14 mph) and then 15 a bit faster (19 mph)

Wednesday: AM - Fourth consecutive day meeting Ellen (aka my PR twin) at Rise!  Liz joined us for something approaching real speedwork, which ended up as a 3.5 mile warmup, 5 x 800s in 3:20 (actual: 3:18-3:22, so pretty close to the target pace) with 400 jogs, and a 1.5 mile cool down (8.5M, 1:05:12)
PM - Nice leisurely ride on the ATT with Laura (18M, 1:10:56)

Thursday: A morning off!  It was a nice change to stay in bed past 6:00.
PM - Half iron-distance open water swim at Beaverdam with Bex.  It seemed like it took forever (it pretty much did, actually), but I made it without incident.  I may be the last one out of the lake, but at least I am confident that I can make it! (1.2M, approx 45 minutes)

Friday: What was supposed to be a 3 mile tempo run turned into 2 miles (13:44) plus a half (3:18), but it was warm and humid, plus I have an 80+ mile ride tomorrow, so I am ok with that (5M, 37:32).

Monday-Friday totals: Swim (2.25), Bike (35), Run (37); 7:40:45; 5,096 calories

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rockin Marathon Relay RTP

This morning I had the pleasure of running a marathon relay with Ellen, Allie, and Sarah.  I haven't done much faster-than-marathon-pace running in a while, and the few attempts to do so since Boston have fallen pretty flat, so I wasn't sure what I could expect of myself.  The race was supposed to be run on roads in RTP, and I thought staying sub-7 seemed like a pretty reasonable goal.  A last minute course change brought the race to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, and the loop was now a very hilly one on the cross-country course.  Though not excited about the change, there wasn't much I could do about it, so off to Cary we went...

We arrived at the race and there was plenty of parking, check in was a breeze, and there was more than enough room to set up our gear... I do appreciate the easy logistics of running a super small race!  After a short briefing, the race was underway.  The first lap was supposed to be 0.2 miles shorter than the rest (after which each lap was 1.65) to get an even 26.2, but the race started about 200 meters in front of the finish line, so I would guess it was a little long.  Allie took the lead leg because she had to take Z to tea with Miss America (isn't that what everyone does on a Saturday?), and came through in first overall right behind the lead bike.  Sarah ran the second leg and kept our lead, and so I was actually the lead runner until the guy on the team that would eventually win passed me about a quarter mile in.  I tried to stay with him as he went by, but redlined and pretty quickly realized that was a horrible idea.  After a flat/downhill section through a field we came to the trail and hit the steepest of the hills.  I passed some runners here already, which shows how fast our first two runners were!  After that it's pretty much rolling until coming back into the field, which is a .4 mile incline to the exchange zone.  I was definitely not a fan of the long, gradual uphill finish!  I managed to (barely) keep it under 7 minute mile pace, but it wasn't particularly fun!  Given our big lead over any other women's teams, I ran the next laps more like a tempo run than a race, so that really made it a lot easier and more enjoyable!  My pace for the last 3 laps averaged 7:10-7:08-7:02, so not setting any speed records and once again played the role of the team turtle, but it is what it is.  

We ended up finishing in 2:58:03 (turns out the mid-race team photo put us over 2:57!), good for 2nd overall and 1st among women's teams.  Our prizes: a very fancy medal (not really), frosted beer mug (which the victorious men's team was nice enough to fill with beer for us), and a box of Balance bars.  More importantly, of course, I got to spend the morning with my friends, who entertained everyone with a stellar rendition of Living on a Prayer (complete with dance moves). 

Now that my calendar is clear of marathons for a while, I am hoping to run more short stuff and incorporate more speed work and tempo miles in hopes of getting faster.  I may just not be built for speed, but I am at least willing to give it a shot... time will tell... 

Lap 1: 11:22 (6:56)
Lap 2: 11:45 (7:10)
Lap 3: 11:42 (7:08)
Lap 4: 11:36 (7:02)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ramping up the Tri Training

Though I would normally like to take more than one day off post-marathon, there are only SIX WEEKS until the Raleigh Ironman 70.3!

The optimist in me is hoping that this will go well, but the pragmatist has some doubts...  

+ I know I can swim 1.2 miles in a pool without much difficulty
- The lake is a different story... drowning is still a possibility
+ I can easily ride 56 miles on the bike
- Getting in under my 3-hour time goal will require riding much faster than I'm used to
+ Running 13.1 miles... piece of cake
- After almost 4 hours of swimming and biking and potentially in 90 degree heat and humidity... not so much

I imagine the reality is somewhere in the middle, but regardless, I have a lot of work to do!

AM - 4M Rise run with Ellen and Sarah (31:12).  Sort of progression-ish (7:52-7:41-7:37)

AM - Swimming (1400 yards including 3 x 100)
PM - 60 minutes trainer including 4 x 5 minutes fast

AM - 6M with Ellen (47:55), including 4 x 400 (101-95-101-94)
PM - 40 minutes trainer moderate

AM - 7M with Jen and Amy (56:50), including 1-2-3-2-1-2-3 minute ladder (intervals run at 6:30 pace)
PM - Swimming (2000 yards including 800 at race pace and 4 x 50)

Long ride at Mapleview (64M, 4:00:09).  This was my longest ride to date, and other than Lystra (200 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile), I fared ok.  The ride was a bit slower than what I'm hoping for in the 70.3 (16 mph; my goal is 19), but it was good to get in some extended time on the bike.  Bex and I followed up the ride with a quick 1 mile run (7:30).  It was tough to slow down my legs, and I definitely need to add more bricks to the schedule.

Long run with a great group of BCTC women (12.65M, 1:40:55).  
Legs were a bit sore from Saturday's ride, but I managed to make it through the run with most of miles 4-12 in the 7:40-7:50 range - mostly due to the fact that my training partners are all faster than I am and I didn't want to be left behind!

Weekly totals: Swim (1.94M), Bike (64 + 1:40 on the trainer); Run (30.7)

AM - 4M Rise run in the rain with Ellen (31:58)
PM - Swimming (1400 yds, mostly pull)

AM - 7M with Ellen, including 6 x 400 at 10K-half pace.  Not exactly speedy and my legs feel like lead.  Plus, the NC humidity is back in full force.
PM - Brick with some of the Duke Tri Club - 17M on the bike and a short transition run

5M easy run with Amy

Trainer - 40 minutes moderate with high intensity intervals throughout

2000 yard (almost Half IM distance) time trial (42:30).  Not fast, but it's the longest distance I've done without taking a break, so I am pleased, and feeling optimistic of getting through the swim and T1 in less than an hour.

Up next... another marathon relay!  Can't wait :)