Welcome to Race Week!

 

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Welcome to Race Week!

Tomorrow I’ll be driving the 6+ hours through northern New England to Lake Placid, New York! So far taper has been treating me well. Last week was super hot and humid in Maine and made for some difficult training weather, but I hydrated like a boss and completed my workouts well. Friday night was the worst with the temperatures (plus the heat index) into the 100’s! Rare, rare occasions for Maine. My running partner and I headed out to Pine Point beach for some cooler running in the later evening. He wanted to run on the beach; however, it was high tide (thank God because I wanted pavement 🙂 ). We ran from Pine Point to OOB and back for a good, hot 6 miles then a dip in the ocean.

I took Saturday off and got a massage, which definitely helped with some lingering IT-Band soreness. Sunday was a 2 hour ride plus a 45-minute run. Azul got a new chain and a 11-28 cassette last Thursday and all I have to say is… why didn’t I put on a 11-28 before!?! My cadence is a lot better and I feel more comfortable with it! However, Azul needs a bit of a tweak on the front derailleur because she threw her chain twice. Back to my favorite bike shop today, Allspeed!

I rode one of my favorite routes on Sunday in reverse (because I forgot where I was going, opps!). Whaleback Road in Standish/Baldwin is a good climbing road, especially from the reverse direction I found out. I wanted to really test the new gearing for all the climbing that I’ll be doing on Sunday. I crested the final hill and just started my descent when all the sudden there was a damn DONKEY in the middle of the road! WTF! It took me about 15-20 seconds to process what was going on and brake. Luckily the road conditions in the area were pretty dicey so I wasn’t going very fast. The donkey just looked at me as I made a very wide arc around him. Out of all the things I have run over, hit, or gotten chased by this training cycle I would have never predicted a donkey in the middle of the road would be one of them!

Hello Donkey!

Hello Donkey!

This week has been pretty low-key. Mentally and emotionally Monday wasn’t a good day because I was dealing with some personal and professional stress. Luckily, things are on the up now. Last night was spent writing lists of everything I need to remember to bring to Lake Placid and doing laundry. Today I will spend the day running around doing last-minute errands and packing the car for tomorrow’s early departure.

The other exciting news going on in my life currently (other than Ironman) is the fact my dog is a bird murder. In the past 72 hours she has managed to catch and kill 3 innocent little birds. We recently put an addition on our house and a couple of birds nested in the eves before my father could finish the roof. The adult birds have managed to fly into the house instead of outside. Reagan has loved every minute of the ordeal. I especially enjoy finding half eaten dead birds on the floor. NOT!

When I'm lounging around... I enjoy murdering birds...

When I’m lounging around… I enjoy murdering birds…

For those of you at home, you can track me on race day via the Ironman website. I am number 552! Or better yet, if you’re in Lake Placid then let’s meet up! Tweet me at BigSkyTri and hopefully I’m smart enough to figure out how to tweet you back! 🙂

~ Happy Training!

Welcome to the Taper!

 

Sooo… taper for Ironman Lake Placid began on Monday! Wahoo! It’s almost here…

At the lake...

At the lake…

As in 9 days!!! (Insert OMG I’m shitty my pants face)

Surprisingly, I’m not super nervous at the moment. I know come next week when I start packing for the big day things will start to set in and the butterflies will begin their high dives in my tummy.

Many people have asked me what my time goal is. Well, I don’t have one. Okay, maybe I do have a secret time goal and no, I will not tell you. I had a good time goal back in January when I began base training, but all bets were off when my knee/IT-band/Hip issues flared up in early May. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it to race day in one piece.

A lot of people told me I should stop training and not race. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? (Have you met me? I’m one of the most stubborn people you’ll meet.) Yes, these people were not tri people. Most of my non-triathlon friends think that I’m crazy for swim, bike, and running 140.6 miles on July 28th in Lake Placid, NY. Yes, I might agree with them. Only slightly though.

I knew the beginning of last year when I began training with the goal to become more competitive in my age group and competing at the 70.3 distance that the Ironman was in my future. It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but in the end, I know that it will be worth it. I can’t wait to hear Mike Reilly tell me I’m an Ironman. I don’t care if I finish sub-12 (haha, in my dreams!) or 16:59. This race is just to finish and finish with a smile. (and not in the medical tent)

And then party my behind off afterwards! 🙂

I LOVE training. I love triathlons. I love being active. But, I know physically and mentally I need a bit of a break. I miss my friends. And I miss my poor neglected dog.

Tough life huh?

Tough life huh?

Other than that, I’m ready to race! Azul (my tri bike) had her race tune-up yesterday. She’s a thing of beauty at the moment. New tires, new cassette (decided to put on a 11-28 for IMLP), and a new chain. Let’s see how long this lasts…

I got in a good open water swim earlier this week and will finish up with a couple long (like 2 hours now!) ride this weekend. My running is finally coming along. I’ve been running with a new friend lately and he’s motivating me to run fast, which hasn’t occurred since May. I know my marathon at IMLP is probably going to be a slow crawl. If I could finish under 5 hours it would be a miracle! My goal is to run as far and long as I can until the knee decides she is done for the day and then continue with a run/walk method. Maybe some crawling too… hmmm, I think I’ll put knee pads in my special needs bag.

Story of my life...

Story of my life…

In other news, I am number 552 for the day! So for all you at home, you can track me via the Ironman website and send me good vibes throughout!

~ Happy Training!

I Lost my Mojo…

 

With less than 30 days until Ironman Lake Placid, I managed to lose my mojo…

No bueno. As of today, Ironman Lake Placid is 16 days away. Holy shit! (commence anxiety attack)

Build was going good. Week one was solid. Week two was good. Then week three was the holiday week. It was a good week, but it was rather lackluster compared to what it should have been.

I spent most of the week at my best friend’s camp on Little Ossipee Lake, which is really one of the highlights of my year. Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Okay, maybe it’s tied for Thanksgiving. I love me some turkey! 🙂

Last Monday night I did 4400 yards in the pool and it went really freaking well. I swam partly with a couple local swim team girls that definitely kept me working and then partly on my own. I haven’t swam that many yards in one sitting since high school and I was pleased how well it went.

Tuesday night was spent at camp. I got in a short 3 mile jaunt before it was booze cruise time. We took a quick cruise around the lake then J’s mom decided she was going to drive the boat until to boys and J’s sister arrived. And, by driving I mean it was more or less gunning the boat and circling around. I was definitely hanging onto my beer with white knuckles!  Once everyone arrived it was back to the normal booze cruise speed and the rest of the night was history… and I ended up staying up way past my bedtime!

A borrowed picture of one of my favorite places!

A borrowed picture of one of my favorite places!

Wednesday I got up early to swim before all the boat came out of their boathouses. Somehow my wetsuit has gone missing so I had to swim sans wetsuit. I didn’t swim very long, but enough to get comfortable in open water again. Later that morning I got a call from a woman I had interviewed in early June for a position that I really really wanted. I didn’t get the job. I was second choice, which is bittersweet. She gave me some great feedback and said that she believes that I will go far in the public health field, but I just need more experience. No shit. That’s my problem, trying to find a job to get said experience. That news definitely set the tone for the day for me and really the week.

I got a good pep talk from the girls and tried putting the bad news aside and focused on having some fun. I managed to get out on my bike for an easy 20+ mile ride and then ran home to grab my dog to bring her to the lake. Reagan LOVES to swim. Plus, she makes me feel better. Except when she decides that she needs to sleep with me on the tiny little cot I had! At least this year I didn’t have to carry her down the stairs like the previous years. My dog has some sort of irrational fear of wooden stairs and refuses to go down them unless I carry her. A 50 pound hairball gets quite heavy at times. I can’t judge her too much though, I have an irrational fear of bologna…. don’t ask…

Some of my favorite girls!

Some of my favorite girls!

Thursday. Happy 4th of July! It was a perfect day. Sunny and hot (unlike most of the Maine summer weather thus far). I got up early and headed out for my long run. I attempted to run around the lake, which I estimated would be about 10 miles. However, I’m a bit directionally challenged and got lost. The first 90 minutes went well. Knee was holding up well and I was content with my slow ass pace. I got honked at by some creeping old man. Awesome. The rest of the morning was spent drinking mimosas by the lake until everyone rolled in. Lots of adult beverages were consumed along with lots of food that I probably shouldn’t have eaten. Oh well. So worth it.

I ended up missing a couple of key workouts. However, at the end of the day I don’t think it’s going to matter too much. The real work as been done. Ironman athletes are truly made in the winter. All those long boring miles on the trainer and treadmill build the endurance you need for race day. My training has not gone as planned. Many people have asked me about my estimated finishing time. When I first started training back in January I had an idea of what time I wanted to finish by. However, with all the roadblocks I have hit over the course of the past 7 months, I just want to finish (preferably in one piece).

Oh yea, I rode my bike 109 miles on Sunday...

Oh yea, I rode my bike 109 miles on Sunday… The turn around point of my ride

This week is going much better training wise. I’m back on the ball. Mentally I’m in a much better place too. Now that I’ve had a week to digest the fact that I didn’t get the job I really wanted, I’m beginning to think about what’s next. I started to put a plan in place and I definitely feeling good about it. The mojo is coming back! Time to get this Ironman thing done with! 🙂

~ Happy Training!

Ironman Build Week One Recap

 

Last week was my first build week for Ironman Lake Placid! T-5 weeks to ago till the big day! The reality of the event is starting to kick in. On July 28th I will be embarking on a 140.6 mile journey of swimming, biking, and running in order to hear Mike Reilly tell me I’m an Ironman!

This past week was a big week for me and overall it went well. My swimming is coming together nicely. My yardage has increased and I’m feeling stronger than ever in the water. However, I have noticed that my left arm is weaker than my right when pulling. Something to work on in the off-season I suppose. I just hope this new strength and speed will translate to the open water. I was supposed to swim in the lake on Sunday, but severe thunderstorms changed that plan. I’m hoping the weather will be a bit more cooperative this week.

Quality time in the pool!

Quality time in the pool!

My bike fitness has seemed to have suffered over my Fall injury break from running and cycling. I feel good on the bike and my handling skills have definitely improved, but I lost a lot of power. I know this is my first Ironman and I shouldn’t get too caught up in finishing in x amount of hours, but in my head I have this time frame for the bike and I know that I’m not going to head it. The best I can do right now is to believe in my coach’s plan and follow the pacing. I had a good lesson on Saturday’s 90 mile ride on pacing. The first 21 miles of my route hit some pretty big hills and I trashed my legs a bit pedalling up them. It showed me the importance of pacing, especially at the beginning. 112 miles is a long way

Okay, not from my rides this week... but from the Patriot Hald Aquabike

Okay, not from my rides this week… but from the Patriot Hald Aquabike

My running is so/so at the moment, which is a total bummer. Last year I improved leaps and bounds in my running capability and I was hoping that it would translate over to this year. I took all Fall off from running to heal my hip and plantar fasciitis issues to come back with more hip and this time IT band issues. I guess it’s my body’s way of telling me next year is going to be an “off-year” to fix my muscle imbalance and build aerobic endurance.

I ran twice this week. Wednesday I did 45 minutes of zone 2 running. The first 20 minutes were relatively pain-free and then the IT Band issues started to flare up a bit. However, I can run through it at this point. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be the question. Thursday I had a 30 minute T-run off the bike and had an awesome run! No pain and I was actually able to run a sub-10 minute mile in zone 2 and pain-free. Still way slower than I should be, but it’s a victory none the less.

Friday night dinner!

Friday night dinner!

One thing that I have noticed is my appetite has picked up. My lunches have now turned into 5-course meals. So much so that my supervisor had to comment about it. However, despite the fact that I want to eat everything in sight, I have managed to lose several pounds. Yay! This coming week is sure to be a big week in terms of running and cycling. Thursday night I have a 4 hour brick workout. I just hope the weather is good because I certainly don’t want to be stuck riding in the middle of a thunderstorm! I also  have a 2 hour run on Saturday. That will be the real test…

Weekly Totals:

Swim: 2:10 (6943 yards)

Bike: 8:25 (120 miles)

Run: 1:50 (9.41 miles)

Strength, Core & Yoga: 1 hour

~ Happy Training!

90 Mile Solo Ride

 

This past week was week one of my Ironman build to Lake Placid. Holy crap this little thing called an Ironman is happening in almost a month! This past weekend was my first BIG ride of the year. My coach gave me the workout as 6:15 or 110 miles, which ever comes first. I laughed when I first read this in TrainingPeaks because I knew 6:15 would hit on my Garmin before I hit 110 miles. The only way I would hit 110 miles with my current bike fitness is if I rode a pancake flat course with little to no headwind. Since Lake Placid is a pretty hilly course I knew I wanted to mimic the course the best I could and thus ride the North Raymond hills…

Ride Nutrition

Ride Nutrition

Originally my ride was scheduled for Sunday, but I had to work in the lab on Sunday for a few hours and I moved it to Saturday. Thank goodness I did because we got some pretty bad thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon! I wanted to time my ride on Saturday to start around a similar time I would start riding during IMLP. I started around 8:30ish, which give or take 10 minutes or so should be my tentative ETA on the bike at LP.

I headed up towards Raymond and hit Route 85. All I have to say about that road is the road conditions suck! The town did some road repair, which probably made the road worst than it was. The shoulder was full of pot holes and sand. I had about 4 inches on the white line to ride on and even there was pretty bad. Needless to say, I took my time on this road not wanting to get hit by speeding cars and/or get lost in a giant pothole.

A view from the top of Valley Road

A view from the top of Valley Road

Finally I climbed my way up Route 85 to Valley Road. This is where the real fun happens. I took Valley Road to Spiller Hill Road to Mountain Road to Route 11. I hit up at least 4-5 cat 5 climbs. My quads were quite trashed going into this ride and those hills did not help one bit. I took my time and spun up each hill, but I still spiked my power quite high. Not good. Around mile 21 I came close to a mental breakdown. My quads hurt. My bike fitness sucks. I can barely run. How the hell am I suppose to do an Ironman in 5 weeks? Not to mention a tough and hilly bike course Ironman?! Why didn’t I sign up for Ironman Florida? All these thoughts went through my head as I climbed, climbed, climbed. Once I got to Mountain Road I stopped for a few minutes to check where I was and also to calm down a bit. I can do this. 

I rode LP last year and thought the course wasn’t that bad. Yes, I believe my bike fitness was a lot better last year, but I know I can handle LP. Once I figured out where I was, I was back on course. Well, actually by this point I nixed my original planned route. I initially was going to ride around Sebago Lake and then head up and over Douglass Mountain. Yeah, I was being a bit ambitious…

Instead, I decided to head up Route 302 to Bridgeton and then go from there. The sun was out and the route had very little shade. I was starting to get hot, but I was being good with my nutrition. Around the 3 hour mark I turned into the Dunkin’ Donuts in Bridgeton to refill my now gone water bottles. I was feeling a little dizzy at this point even though I was taking salt pills and my gels. I sat down for a bit and had a couple of bits of my Bonk Breaker. I’ve been testing out solids on the bike because around the 11:30-1pm mark I get hungry and my body wants food. I could only get two bites because I wanted to puke it up. Hmmm… back to the drawing board?

Finally I hopped back onto my bike and headed towards Shawnee Peak, where I worked as a ski instructor and ski patroller during my high school and college days. Oh the memories… I forgot how long it takes from downtown Bridgeton to the mountain it takes. At this point the clouds where rolling in and I thought I was going to get poured on. I was a bit nervous at this point. The roads were mostly flat at this point, but the wind picked up and mentally I was fading a bit. Are we there yet?

A view of Shawnee Peak (and some lovely clouds) from the Causeway

A view of Shawnee Peak (and some lovely clouds) from the Causeway

Last year my first ever triple digit ride was done at LP where some of my fellow triathletes. Long rides are definitely way more fun with other people. However, doing these long rides solo is probably good for me mentally. If I can handle the distance all by my lonesome then I’ll be fine on race day!

Finally I hit Shawnee Peak around the half-way point. I headed home the back way through Denmark, Sebago, and Standish. I started to rally around this point knowing I was heading home. Most of the way home was all rollers that weaved through some of the lakes in the area. It’s pretty and the roads are quiet and in good condition. At one point I came across a black lab in the road. He scared the crap out of me at first because I thought he was a black panther! Obviously, we have black panthers in Maine! Duh! Then his friend cross the street and for a split second I thought about stopping and playing with the doggies. Way more fun then a long ride.

Where I spent a lot of my time during high school and college winters..

Where I spent a lot of my time during high school and college winters..

The rest of the ride was rather uneventful. My neck was getting sore from being in aero. I got off to pee and stretch out at one point. I ate the rest of my bonk breaker at this point. It actually tasted good. Hmmm… Back on the bike and almost home. I knew I was going to run out of time, but I really wanted to hit at least 90 miles so I had to get a bit creative in my route. I did an out and back lap on Route 114 and then rode a couple of side roads around my house through a housing development to finally hit that magic even number of 90!

Off the bike and a quick 30 t-run! And then an ICE BATH!

Ice Bath!

Ice Bath!

And for comparison…

My 90 Mile Route on Saturday!

My 90 Mile Route on Saturday!

Lake Placid Bike Course! Yikes!

Lake Placid Bike Course! Yikes!

~ Happy Training!

 

Race Report: Patriot Half-Ironman Aquabike

 

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Patriot Half!

I signed up for this race back in December hoping that I would have a good solid race before my final build to Lake Placid. However, sometimes life throws you curveballs and you just need to change your plan. I decided a month ago after my knee/hip issues started that I would drop down to the aquabike. I didn’t really want to, but I decided to be smart and not do anything stupid… like run a half-marathon with an injured leg. 

The week before the race I managed to come down with a nasty cold (again). I succeeded to do absolutely nothing last weekend in order to get rid of the cold. It helped, but my nose was still pretty runny and I pretty much lost my voice. I hadn’t been in open water yet either. Luckily, one of my co-workers offered (okay, maybe I bribed him) to kayak for me Thursday night so I could try on my wetsuit and get in the water for a bit of swimming. This week was pretty crappy weather-wise. Lots of rain so the lake was freezing. It was also windy and choppy. I lasted a whole 7 minutes in the water. Yikes! Hopefully race day will be much better!

Excited to swim in Sebago Lake

Excited to swim in Sebago Lake

I headed down to Massachusetts on Friday night and stayed at my coaches house. I got to see her herd of puppies. They are completely crazy and lovable at the same time! I had a pretty good night of sleep. Going into this race I wasn’t really nervous. At this point, mentally I was considering this more of a training day than a pure race. The ultimate goal is Lake Placid so I treated this as a day to a) complete my first real open water swim of the year, b) get nutrition timing down, and c) work on pacing throughout the bike course.

Pre-race:

I got up at 4:15 and had a quick breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and applesauce. No issues with breakfast going down. Guess I really wasn’t that nervous. Got in the car and turned the GPS on. Had issues with the GPS losing satellite the entire drive to Freetown. Awesome. I made it with plenty of time. Got my race packet. Racked bike. Set up transition. Felt like I was missing everything since I didn’t need my running shoes. Took Azul (my bike) for a quick spin. Used the porta-potty. Put on the wetsuit. Quick warm-up in the lake. Water temperature was about 60 degrees. Waited about 40 minutes until my swim wave went off.

The Swim:

I was in the last wave with both men and women aquabikers and the relay peeps. I seeded myself in the semi-middle third row back. The gun went off and so did we. I found open water pretty quickly. I didn’t have any major issues of anyone swimming over me or kicking me. I kind of wish that they did in a way so I could “practice” for Lake Placid! The first third of my swim was rough. I couldn’t settle in. My stroke was horrible. I’m sure I looked like a dying fish out of water. Finally, I was able to settle into my swim stroke and was making my way towards to first turn buoy. It felt like it took forever to get there! As you got further out into the lake it got a bit choppy. I made the first turn and headed for the second one. I could see that I was passing a few people in the previous waves so I was feeling okay about my swim, but I knew that I was slow. Before I started the race I set my watch to beep every 10 minutes during the swim so I had an idea of the time. The second beep went off shortly after I rounded the first buoy. I made it around the second turn buoy and started to pick up the pace towards “home.” The third beep went off and I knew I was looking at a 40+ minute swim. Definitely very slow for me, which I was slightly bummed about. However, I guess that’s what you get when you haven’t swam open water since last August. Finally I made it shore!

Swim: 42:02 (2:00/100 yards) 5/12 AG; 20/49 OA

T1

Did my hair. Did my make-up. Just Kidding. I had a hell of a time getting my wetsuit off. It took forever. Best part of it was the fact that I managed to strain my left calf muscle while taking my suit off. Awesome. An hour later…

T1: 3:53 min

The Bike

The course is a two loop 28-mile course that is relatively flat with some rollers. It was a pretty course with views of lakes and nice houses. It reminded me a lot of Pumpkinman and a little bit of the Maine Rev3 course. It took me a bit to settle into the bike. My head was still a bit cloudy from the swim. The first couple of miles had a bunch of turns so it wasn’t very fast, but I did managed to pass a few people right off the bat. I concentrated on staying in my power zones and riding the course smart and consistently. My goal was to do the first loop a bit easier and then pick it up for the second loop. About 10 miles into the course I passed a woman and she asked if I was on my second loop. I laughed and told her I was only on my first loop. She said “oh, you have a pointy helmet so I thought you were on your second.” Thanks for thinking I’m super fast lady! I just might have to wear my aero helmet from now on. Ha! Shortly after that I came upon two tom turkeys trying to cross the road. Both were running around in the middle of the road like deer in headlights. Great! Luckily, they moved quickly to the side of the road and I was able to pass them without coming to a complete stop. At this point I started to play cat and mouse with an older woman named Shirley. This would go on throughout the entire ride. I would pass her and then she’d get a second wind and pass me only to have me pass her later on down the road. Great fun and a great motivator! Around mile 15 or so we came up to a road between two lakes. Just as a came around the bend a flock of Canadian geese and baby geese were trying to cross the road. Seriously! Turkeys and now geese! I kind of made a “no no” sound to get them to stay on the side of the road so I could pass and one of them hissed at me! I didn’t think Geese could hiss! Yikes!

I kept moving and soon Melissa passed me like a rocket! I skipped the bottle exchange at mile 18 and kept plugging along. Soon I passed by transition and headed out for my second loop. I picked up the speed and started focusing on passing anyone I could. At this point the headwind picked up again. It was there on the first loop, but definitely picked up a bit more on the second. This time I passed both mile 10 and 15 without any birds trying the cross the road. I did see a turtle at one point. Around mile 45 or so Shirley and I started playing cat and mouse with a man named Craig. Right around this point the bike traffic started to pick up a bit and becoming a bit of a cluster-f***. The roads were a bit narrow and there were cars trying to pass. Things got a bit slow. At this point I was getting frustrated and finally when I had a chance I just put my head low and hauled ass by about 10+ cyclists. Shirley and Craig were long gone at this point. I passed the bottle exchange again and knew I had roughly 10 miles left. At this point I picked it up again. I passed a bunch of people knowing that I didn’t have the run. In the final miles I saw the elite men heading to the finish of the run looking strong. Then I saw transition and was done. It was a nice feeling knowing I didn’t have the run now. But, I sort of missed not being able to run….

Bike: 3:11:56 (17.5mph) 6 AG; 29 OA

Overall, I felt good during the race. I was a bit disappointed with my time overall. I was slow, but I haven’t been training much in my half-ironman zones. That coupled with my cold, I did the best I could on that day. I was just glad that I didn’t have any major coughing spells during the swim or bike. Looking at the results afterwards there were a lot of slow bike times. I was really hoping to go sub-3 on the course and it is definitely within my capability. I think the headwind played a role in the slower times. I compared how I did in the aquabike to my age group for the Half and I would have placed well there if I didn’t have my knee injury. But you never really know. I did accomplish my goal of the day – to have a good solid ride. My VI for the ride was 1.09, which is really really good for me! I was happy about that. My legs felt good at the end, minus the calf strain. Now, onwards to my final build to Ironman Lake Placid!

Overall: 3:57:48.6 6/12 AG (Women under 44); 10/28 Females; 26/49 Overall

My awesome Garmin watch tan lines!

My awesome Garmin watch tan lines!

Holiday Weekend Wrap-up

 

The weather for the holiday weekend wasn’t the greatest in Maine, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. At least we didn’t get 3 feet of snow like Lake Placid! Saturday was a bit of a wash-out. However, I had an extremely productive day and got a lot of things checked off of my to-do list. Some of those things included changes to this website! 🙂

The biggest part of my Saturday was my first official run in the past couple of weeks. As I mentioned yesterday that I was able to run/walk 3.2 miles relatively pain-free. The first mile was good, but I got a few aches and pains afterwards that caused me to take walk breaks. But… it was a huge improvement from the past couple of weeks so I took it!

Sunday’s weather was much better. Very little rain so I hit the road for my 2:20 ride. It was definitely early spring riding weather. I had to break out the gloves, toe warmers, and knee warmers for the ride and my toes were still frozen when I got home. The skies were overcast and it sprinkled a bit. There was definitely a bit of a headwind, but nothing compared to Monday’s ride! I decided to take one of my normal routes, since I knew it would have me ending around the 2:30 mark. However, with the wind I was a bit slower than predicted. Oh well!

Some interesting things I saw on my ride:

1. A most likely drunk redneck attempting to burnout in his crappy truck in the middle of Route 25 and failing. His drunk redneck friends were in the front yard laughing at him.

2. I saw long-haired, long-horned cows in a pasture. They made me giggle.

3. I saw multiple dead snakes on the side of the road, including a giant water snake. I squealed every time I saw a dead snake even though I knew they were dead.

Funny cows!

Funny cows!

Monday’s weather was a thousand times better! Although I still wore knee warmers, arm warmers, and toe warmers. I was supposed to do a 4-hour ride on Saturday, but decided that there was no way I could sit my ass down for 4-hours on the trainer. Thus, I moved my long ride to Monday so I could ride outside. It was a good decision. Minus the hellish headwind. The wind was pretty nasty. There were times when I was pushing a ton of watts and only moving about 10 miles per hour on the FLATS! It was mentally daunting at times and a few times I considered throwing in the towel. But, I kept moving forward.

I decided to ride up route 113 towards Fryeburg. My goal is to ride all the way to the New Hampshire border as my ride times progress over the next 6 weeks or so. The roads are pretty good for a majority of the way and the traffic is relatively low. The route is similar to Lake Placid although not as nearly as hilly. One of my coworkers lives in the area and told me about a really hilly route from Brownfield to Denmark that I can take to simulate some Lake Placid hills.

Welcome to Western Maine!

Welcome to Western Maine!

The ride went well. My Ironman fueling plan thus far is working well. I’ve been using Ironman Perform for my drink of choice because that’s what is served on the course. I’m not the biggest fan of it, but so far my tummy is handling it well. I’d rather not have to worry about carrying 10 bottles of fuel with me during the race. I was definitely well hydrated for this ride. I stopped twice to find a bush 🙂

I felt good off the bike so I decided to attempt my 25 minute T-run. I was hesitate at first, but wanted to give it a go. Originally I planned just to do 10 minutes. However, my knee felt great. Or as good as off-the-bike run could be. I focused on keeping my strides short and quick. It worked because I had no knee pain! I continued for the full 25 minutes. It was no where a speedy run, but I was a happy girl!

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Overall, a good long weekend of training! I got a good 100 miles in over a 24 hours period. My tushy is a bit sore now. Welcome to Ironman training!

~ Happy Training! 

IT-Band Updates

 

I left off last time stating that I was going to do my first run in over 8 days. It went okay. I made it a mile relatively pain-free and then the pain started in during the second mile. That Saturday I had a client early in the morning and then headed out for my 2 hour ride. I attempted my 15 minute t-run, but made it about a minute before the pain set in and this time it set in with a vengeance. My biotech job and my gym are right across the street from each other so I had purposely brought my keys with me to stop into the lab to grab ice. On my return to the gym both my bosses were in their office looking at each other and then at me. As I approached them, one of them asked the other who was going to spank me. I then succeeded to get a lecture on how I shouldn’t run on an injured knee. Opps! I guess at 26 years old “mom and dad” will still spank me for misbehaving. Yikes!

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Later that day I also got a Restore massage at Athlete’s Touch. The massage was focused primarily on my IT-band, Quads, and hip region. The therapist told me that my knee region and hip region were quite inflamed. I could definitely tell that my knee was. It was a bit swollen and sore. I had removed all my KT tape a few days prior because it was irritating my skin and I think it was irritating my knee too.

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Anyway, fast forward to this week. I saw my chiropractor on Wednesday and reported back to her my failed attempt at running. She  did some massage and stretching work on my knee region. She’s beginning to think that my IT-band is probably okay. We both agree that it is part of the issue, but the real issue is my quad muscles are overactive and causing all the problems. Of course, the root cause of all my issues is my right hip. Every time I go in to see her my pelvis is always twisted.

The past couple of weeks I have hit the gym hard with some rehab exercises to strengthen my hips. Lots of clam shells, lateral legs raises, mini-band work, and donkey kicks. I’ve started to slowly add in some hamstring curls and wide-stance squats to strengthen my hamstrings and adductors.

I’ve spent a lot of time icing, heating, and also self-grastoning my quads and IT-band. It’s been great fun. My boss asked me the other day why I was “scraping” my quad muscle with Biofreeze and the handle of a butter knife. I love Graston! At least I have the proof to show my chiropractor that I listened to her advice – a few lovely bruises.

Lot's of icing!

Lot’s of icing!

Saturday afternoon the nor’easter rain decided to take an afternoon siesta so I decided to test my knee out. I laced up my new Mizunos and hit the flat, paved trail behind my house. I walked down the giant hill to the trail and then succeeded to run. The first mile wasn’t bad. There was a little soreness, but no sharp pain like previously. I kept going. Soon enough the pain started to ease back into my knee. When it got bad I just walked. When I felt okay again then I jogged. I did this for 3.2 miles. My running was super slow. I’m pretty sure the turtle I saw crossing the trail was moving faster than I was, but I was running. And running relatively with no pain. Now that’s improvement and I will take it.

Yesterday after my 4 hour ride I decided to try out my legs by attempting my 25 minute T-run. I took my time transitioning from bike to run clothes. I started out slow and took short strides. I wore my IT-band strap this time too. Guess what? I actually ran pain-free!! Initially I was just going to try for 10-15 minutes, but I felt good and I continued the full 25 minutes. Granted it was extremely slow, but running pain-free was a blessing. I’m hoping that I am on the tail-end of this injury mishap and I’ll be back into the full swing of training ASAP. I will still continue with my icing, heating, and self-grastoning in hopes that I won’t relapse!

In other news, Ironman Lake Placid is exactly 2 months from today and they got 3 feet of snow this weekend! Seriously, what the heck Mother Nature?!

~ Happy Training!

IT-Band Woes

The IT-Band - eMedicineHealth.com

The IT-Band – eMedicineHealth.com

I spent the last 8 days swimming, biking, and doing core work. No running. Why? Stupid and annoying knee pain. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had developed knee pain in my right knee making running a very unpleasant chore. I managed to compete in my first tri of the season and actually place well, but not without facing the consequences afterwards. Perhaps I should have DNF? Nah….

After the PolarBear I had a 60 minute endurance run in my training plan for that Wednesday. I was feeling pretty good and really wanted a good run. I haven’t had a good run in a while. The weather was beautiful out and I was pumped. I laced up my shoes, turned on the Garmin and did my dynamic warm-up while my watch was searching for the satellites. I swear my watch takes forever to find the satellites. Then it was off. My house is situated on a hill. Either way I have to ride or run down before I hit any flat-ish pavement. I took the hill easy because I knew it would irritate my quad. The hill went okay. About two minutes into the run the sharp nagging pain returned on the bottom outside of my knee rendering me to my little hobble/jump run gait. It’s quite the sight to see I’m sure.

I stopped, stretched (maybe prayed a little) and then began again. I managed to jog very slowly for 10 minutes but still had that nagging pain. After about a mile I knew I needed to stop. The pain intensified leaving me in tears. I turned around and hobbled/walked myself back home crying. Yes, I fully admit that I cried. After my 18 minute mile home I sat myself down in the chair with an ice pack and my laptop. I succeeded to email my coach (while crying of course) letting her know that I could not run and I had no clue how the heck I was suppose to do an Ironman in 10 weeks! Perhaps I was being a bit dramatic, but I was very frustrated.

Not being able to run while training for an Ironman is not good. Normally I would be the idiot and try to run through all the pain. However, the past couple of years I really have learned the value of rest and listening to my body. My body was telling me to stop running and figure out what the root cause of my knee pain was. Mary quickly replied to me to tell me that I would take a full week off from running and let my knee heal. We would see how it feels the following week and slowly build my miles back up. I still have plenty of time till Lake Placid.

I saw my chiropractor again on Monday and we both agree that my knee pain is being primarily caused by my IT-band. My quad muscles are also suspect in the situation too. Along with that pesky little piriformis muscle that I strongly dislike. We’ve been taping my knee and IT-band with kinesiology tape for the past three weeks. It seems to be helping. I’ve been very religious about icing and rolling out with my foam roller, stick, and lacrosse ball. That has seemed to help a great deal too.

Sweet Taping Job

Sweet Taping Job

I think the most important aspect of healing my IT-band is rest. I’ve done some research online and most sports medicine professionals recommend anywhere from 3-10 days of rest from the problematic activity (i.e. running in my case). I’m lucky that swimming and cycling doesn’t bother my knee and/or quad and IT-Band. Tonight is going to be my first night running again. Just an easy 30 minute run. If the knee bothers me then I will stop and continue to rest again. When dealing with injuries you have to be smart. I’m going to be smart this time. Let it heal and then strengthen it. I’ve been discussing with my boss at the gym the ideal strength/rehabbing plan for my IT-band to ensure going forward I don’t have chronic issues with it. Hopefully I’m on the road to recovery!

Here’s to hoping my run goes well!

Anyone have any advice on treating IT-band issues? What’s your worst sports-related injury?

~ Happy Training!  

Race Report: The PolarBear Sprint Tri

PolarbearLogo3bearssmall

2013 PolarBear Tri (www.tri-maine.com)

Going into this race I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, I was about 90% sure I was going to DNF after the bike due to the major knee pain that I have been having. I saw my chiropractor on Thursday and she worked things out a bit and then taped up my knee to help with the patella tracking. I woke up Friday feeling great. After work I did my quick 20 minute bike and then 10 min run. Knee felt pretty good and towards the end a bit sore. I iced and rolled before hitting the sack.

Sweet Taping Job

Sweet Taping Job

Race Morning

Woke up with a stiff knee. Awesome. Ate my breakfast and threw all my stuff into the car for the 1+ hour drive to Brunswick. The race is a pool swim and thus only 32 swimmers could be in a wave at a time. I had to be there and set up in transition but 8:10am, but my swim wave didn’t start till 10am. Lots of sitting around and chatting time. My knee was definitely sore and I was visibly limping to and from my car to get my stuff. Not a good way to start a race morning. I met up with my fellow TriMoxie athletes and also saw some other athletes mingling about all waiting for their respective wave starts.

This was my first PolarBear Tri. It is considered to be the season opener for us Mainers who have to ride our trainers all winter long and swim in the pool until June when the lake water becomes tolerable (with wetsuits of course!). This race tends to bring out the big guns in the sport too so I was excited to see how I would do in a very competitive field. I was not expecting much at all due to my recent knee issue and the fact that my general fitness, and especially my speed, is pretty poor this year. My coach wanted me to race this race and I really wanted to. Of course, this was given to me before the knee became kind of a limiter. I told her before the race that if I felt good then I would race. If my knee was okay then I would just turn it into more of a training day. If the knee was causing a lot of pain then I was going to DNF after the bike. I was completely okay with a potential DNF too. It’s not ideal, but my ultimate goal this year is Lake Placid. A little sprint tri in Maine is not going to derail me from that goal.

The Swim

The swim is a 525-yard pool swim. I didn’t bother to warm-up because I would have just sat around from 90 minutes waiting for my turn. This definitely put me at a bit of disadvantage because I am the type of swimmer that needs a lot of time to warm-up to truly find my groove. I chose a lane in the middle of the pool and luckily ended up having the lane to myself. The whistle went off and I found a comfortable pace and settled in a bit. My intention was to keep track of my laps, but somehow I managed to forget after the first 125 or so. Typical. About what I estimated to be the 300 mark I tried picking up the pace a bit. I felt okay. It wasn’t my best swim, but it was not bad. I tried not to kick too hard because of the knee. I finally got the “last lap” sign and I pushed it to the last wall. I struggled a little bit getting out of the water trying not to somehow tweak my knee getting out. I hit what I thought was the correct button on my Garmin 910XT, but turns out it wasn’t. Opps. From looking at my data afterwards it appears I hit the 525 mark at about 8:42. I then set out on a half jog/ half jumping on one foot to the transition area. My knee was definitely sore, but tolerable. The swim time (I’m pretty sure) includes the run from the pool to the TA so my time is a bit slower due to my inability to “run” like a normal person. I can’t imagine what I looked like when the Capstone Photography person took my picture leaving the building…

Swim: 9:20 (1:47/ 100 yards)

The Bike

Transition went by quickly. I made sure not to dilly-dally around too much. I grabbed my bike and headed out on the long run to the mount/dismount line again with my awkward little attempt at running. I hopped on my bike and headed out on the 11-mile bike course. I hadn’t ridden the course before, but from what I was told that it was pretty flat with a few rollers. I had my Garmin Edge on my bike so I had turned that on in TA. The satellites took forever to find. I checked my watch to see my bike time, but didn’t realize that the watch was still set in swim mode. The course was relatively flat so I kept my power up and pushed it. The course was pretty empty, which was nice. I got passed by one speedy woman on a road bike and tried to keep her in my sight the entire time. I then got passed by some big guys flying on their tri bikes. I let them go since I had absolutely no hope in catching them. There were some upgrades at times so I ended up doing a lot of shifting to keep my power consistent and my cadence in a good range. My Power VI was 1.08, which is pretty damn good for me! 🙂 Even though the course is pretty flat, it has a lot of sharp corners. I’ve always been pretty timid going around corners, especially sharp ones, but I have made a good effort to get over my fears. I did super good today not slamming on my brakes and really riding the corners and then accelerating hard out of them. I’m quite happy with my bike performance. I was second in my age group for the bike split. I missed the top slot by 5 seconds. I probably lost those by trying to go the wrong way into the TA after dismounting. Opps! Knee felt good on the bike so I made the decision to run.

Bike: 36:06 (18.3 mph; 133 watts, 1.08 VI)

The Run

Transition went fairly quickly. I found my rack quickly, hung Azul up and grabbed my running shoes and headed out. The first 300 yards or so were very painful. I thought about just throwing in the towel, but made the decision to keep going. I made it this far and after having a great bike split I knew that I could be on my way to a podium finish in my age group. I just needed to keep my legs moving. The first part of the run was on the baseball field. My legs definitely did not like the long grass. I focused on taking short steps and moving forward. Then it was a quick jaunt on the trails and then onto the road. The further I got the better my knee began to feel so I kept moving. I passed a few people and a couple of people passed me. Finally I came to the first aid station and ran through it. I knew the first mile was almost done. During transition I realized that my watch was messed up so I was able to set it in run mode. Because of the pool swim I had no satellite data. Luckily I knew this would be a problem and put my foot pod on my shoes before the race. I hit mile one around 9:50ish. Not my fastest at all, but I was okay with it. I was running and that was what mattered. A 54-year-old woman cruised by me at this point so I picked up my pace. Funny thing was the faster I seemed to run the better my knee felt. Around the 1.5 mile mark we turned onto dirt trails. There wasn’t many people on the course so it was a bit lonely. I hit the second mile at a 9:11/mile pace so I know I doing better. My goal at this point was to negative split the run and also not get passed by Tammy, a super fast TriMoxie athlete who started about 20 minutes behind me in the pool waves. I knew since she was super fast that she might pass me in the run so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. Plus it kept me motivated to keep moving. The third mile was a bit mentally tough. We looped back on the same dirt trail again and I could feel my knee pain again. I just knew I needed to make it to the finish. I passed a 65-year-old man in the final yards of the run. I crossed the finish line and limped my way over to the Med Tent to get ice for my knee.

Run: 28:04 (9:22/mile)

Race Bling

Race Bling

Total: 1:15:44; 3/12 AG; 32/133 W; 111/257 OA

Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth - all taking home hardware after a great race!

Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth – all taking home hardware after a great race!

 

Overall, I’m pleased with the result. Obviously, I wished my knee would not have been an issue so I could have pushed it more, but it is what it is. I know my speed isn’t there and my general fitness is lacking. However, I had a good first race. My transitions were good. I didn’t stand in TA and play with my watch forever like the Y for the Tri race last year. I went in, did my business and left. I had a great bike split and I did manage to pull off a decent run split. My knee was definitely sore Saturday after the race and I spent a long time icing it. Hopefully, we can get this knee issue figured out so I can start running again without pain. Ironman Lake Placid is in less than 3 months! Yikes!

~ Happy Training!