Race Report: Ironman Lake Placid – Part I

 Spoiler Alert: I AM AN IRONMAN!

Okay, please don’t be mad, but I’m breaking this race report into two posts since it’s going to be a long one! 140.6 miles is a long way and thus leading to a lot of my ramblings of the day.


Packing for the big day!

Packing for the big day!

 I headed to Lake Placid on Friday. I made the long drive solo listening to books on tape to make the drive go by faster. I arrived in Lake Placid about 2pm. As I drove into town I could already feel the energy of the town as more and more athletes arrived. The energy prior to an Ironman event is amazing. Lake Placid is such a magical place during Ironman week!

I immediately found a parking spot on a top of a giant hill and succeeded to head down to athlete check-in. I showed my ID, signed my life away to WTC and the State of New York, got weighed in (totally should have peed first!), got my numbers and my wrist band. I was officially checked in! Ahhh! I then headed down to the Ironman store tent to pick up my backpack. Funny how WTC placed the backpack pick up in the store tent… not like they make enough money off of us or anything….


 I quickly walked back up the giant hill to grab my wetsuit and walked down to Mirror Lake for a quick swim. The water was the perfect temperature! And completely wetsuit legal! I got in a quick 25 minute shake-out swim and felt good. I passed a bunch of guys out there on the swim who started before me so I felt pretty confident that I would have a decent swim.

After the swim I headed down to Wilmington where our hotel was located, The Hungry Trout Resort. I wouldn’t say it was a resort, more like motel, but it was decent. The beds were actually super comfortable and it was kind of nice to stay outside of town. Mary, my coach, and her daughter Jordan showed up shortly afterwards. We all settled in and then headed back to town for me to attend the Mandatory Athlete Meeting in the ice arena. It was super cool to be in the same ice arena where the 198o “miracle on ice ” occurred when the USA hockey team beat Russia to take the gold medal! I arrived a bit early and listen to some of the welcome dinner inspiration prior to the meeting. When I arrived there was a group of athletes up with Mike Reilly talking about their Ironman journeys. One young girl was from Newtown, CT and said that this race for her was for all the victims of the shooting. I teared up.

The ice arena!

The ice arena!

We had dinner at The Dancing Bear. It was fun to look around to see who had little blue bracelets indicating they were athletes. So many super fit and lean people around on expensive bikes! A bit intimating at times! Saturday morning I slept in to 7:30. I got up and started organizing my bags and getting my bike ready for bike check-in. I had organized my various bags prior to leaving home on Friday. I put items in their own paper bag so all I had to do is dump the items into their corresponding transition bags. We then headed into town for a giant breakfast. It was certainly the highlight of my week! Pancakes and a breakfast sandwich. Yummy! I dropped Azul off in transition for the night. She got a professional photo shoot prior to her entrance into the Olympic oval. I guess WTC wants to make sure everyone goes home with their correct bikes or something.

After check-in, it was back to the hotel for bed rest until dinner. We had an early dinner at the “resort” and then an early bed time. I was in bed by 7:30. I didn’t sleep too good that night. I spent a lot of it tossing and turning, but I figured this would happen so I made sure to get a lot of sleep the week before the race.

Race Morning

My first alarm went off at 2am! Yikes! I got up. Drank an Ensure and had a few handfuls of pretzels. Back to bed. More tossing and turning. Second alarm went off at 3:40am. This time it was put contacts in, put on race kit, eat more food, prepare race nutrition and bottles, and get ready to leave. Mary dropped me off at transition at 4:30am when it first opened. I saw Marisa, another TriMoxie athlete and got myself body marked. I added my race nutrition to Azul and got her tires pumped back up to psi. Next was a walk to run special needs to drop that bag off and then a walk to bike special needs to drop that bag off. Then a long wait. I got in line for a porta-pottie and then made my way down to Mirror Lake. I sat down on the grass near the warm-up area to wait about 30 minutes until warm-up time began. As I was sitting there a woman sat down next to me and asked me who my coach was because she saw my TriMoxie top. Turned out it was Mandy, Caratuck Girl! We chatted a bit and then I met another TriMoxie athlete, Robin. Soon enough it was warm-up time and then time to line-up in our appropriate time corral for the rolling start! I got in the water to get wet and get a few quick strokes in.

The Swim

I lined up in the 1:11 to 1:20 group. I estimated based on training times that I should be about the 1:15 mark. We waited a while in line. I was surrounded by a group of Aussie men joking around. Good day mate! 🙂 Finally the cannon for the age groupers went off and we slowly made our way to the start line. Finally, the volunteer’s arms dropped and it was turn to hit the water!

I quickly ran across the timer mat and hit the start button on my Garmin. I ran into the water until it was deep enough for me to dive in and start swimming. I immediately had lots of open water space. I decided to stay wide of the cable. I didn’t feel like getting punched in the face or swam over just to shave a few seconds off my time. I settled into my swim quickly and felt good. Occasionally I would run into people or feel people tapping my feet, but for the most part I had open water. There were 9 buoys out to the turn-around buoy. I definitely stayed wide of the turn buoy. Mary said that the turn buoy can be a very scary place if you’re not careful. Like the possibility of drowning scary. Yikes! Throughout the swim I keep telling myself “just keep swimming” and “to stay in the present.” I tried not to thinking about the 112 miles that I had to bike next or even the 26.2 miles I had to run later after that!

On the way back towards the beach I started to get a small cramp on the left side of my lower back. This was completely new, but I kept swimming hoping that it would disappear. It did eventually. The beach began to appear larger in the horizon and I knew I was almost done with the first lap! Things started to bottle-neck a bit at this point and I was making a bit more contact with swimmers around, but no boxing match type punches. I swam until my hand hit sand and I stood up, ran across the beach over the timing mat and jumped back into the water for my second loop.

This time I felt a bit more confident and I positioned myself closer to the cable, but still a few feet out from it. I felt a bit more contact here and managed to find some feet periodically to draft off of for a bit. I’ll take any free speed at this point! Once again, I kept telling myself to keeping swimming. I was so close to being done with the swim. It was my warm-up for everything to come. Mary told me that the real race is with the bike and run. I made it around the turn buoys again and headed for the homestretch! I picked the speed up a bit. At one point I swam into a group of about 5 large men who succeeded to sandwich me and push me a top of one of the guys. I survived and kept swimming. Finally, the beach was in sight again and I was done!

I stood up, torn my swim cap and goggles off, unzipped my wetsuit and ran to one of the wetsuit strippers to have them rip my suit off! I stood up, grabbed my suit, and started jogging the 800 meters or so to T1. My right ear was full or water and I kept trying to get it out. Into T1, grabbed my bike gear bag and ran to the women’s changing tent. I put on bike shorts, threw on my helmet, shoes, stuffed my pockets with gels and was off to grab my waiting steed.

Swim: 1:16:09 (1:58/100 meters)

 Next up: The Bike, Run, and Finish!

~ 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!

Flannel Sheets How I Love Thee… Or Not

Fall is my favorite season. I love the change of weather, change of leaves, and flannel sheets. Well, I actually love just about anything flannel. Thank you J. Crew for finally making a women’s cut flannel shirt and making it “cool” to wear. Although, it really doesn’t matter because I would still wear a flannel shirt. I do live in Maine.

A couple of weeks ago I dug my Eddie Bauer Flannel Sheets out of my closet, dusted them off, washed them and put them on my bed and haven’t left since. Okay, maybe I have left my bed, but that’s the problem I have with my flannel sheets. I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning! My bed is nice and cozy and warm so why the heck would I want to get out of bed where it’s cold and dark?! It really makes getting an early AM workout or working on my thesis paper hard to do. I know, first world problem here…

I think the time change is still messing with my internal time clock. I’ll be wide awake at 4:30-5am. I then usually get up to pee and then get back in bed and then fall back asleep. Every day this past week I have set my alarm to go off at 6am so I can get up and work on my thesis for an hour or so and then every time the alarm goes off I reset it for a later time. Bad habits are forming here. Not good for when Ironman training begins in January plus the addition of the Resolutionists at the gym will be even more added fun. However, I’ll be honest, the extra sleep has been nice since I’ve historically been a bad sleeper. It’s quite the change to get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep instead of tossing and turning for half the night!

Anyway, really not an exciting post. I promise I have a couple in the works. I start Crossfit next week. I’ve been very skeptical of Crossfit but I’m willing to get her a chance. And hopefully this week I will make it back to the pool!

Oh, how I wish!


~ Happy Training!



Weekly Recap: 4th of July and a Summer Cold!

The week started off with a lovely open water swim in the ocean with my tri group. And by lovely, I mean, I inhaled half the ocean and almost puked it up twice. Must remember to keep mouth shut while swimming in the ocean! It was a decent little swim on the Tri for a Cure course at Spring Point. So pretty there! Anyway, I finished the loop about 2 minutes before anyone else and got out and out of my wetsuit and watched the rest of the group finish up while chatting with one member from Waterville. She is doing both her first Peaks to Portland and her first HIM at Rev3 so I shared some advice with her. She is worried that she’s not ready for the HIM, but I let her know that she will totally be ready and be more ready than a lot of other people doing the race. I absolutely love the fact that so many people are excited about Rev3 and signed up for the HIM. However, there are a few random people I’ve heard doing the race that I question about their fitness and dedication for the training and race. Doing 4 spin classes a week is not going to cut it for training for 56 miles on the road, just saying...

The camp

I woke up on Tuesday with a super dry and sore throat. I assumed it due to the ocean swim the previous night. I finished up work and a quick 5 mile run before heading down to my favorite family’s camp on Little Ossipee Lake for the holiday! I arrived just in time for the “Happy Hour” boat ride around the lake. We cruised around the lake in an old 50’s wooden boat as the sun set and the full moon rose above the pine trees. Very pretty moon! So many people were setting fireworks off so we were able to catch a bunch of shows. One guy set about $500 worth of fireworks off! Just as we were about 2000 yards from the camp the engine in the boat died and we couldn’t get it started! My bestie’s BF started paddling us back and was making some progress when a kind soul in a party boat offered to give us a tow back to land. It was prefect timing because after a few beers all our bladders were about to explode!

After we waited in line for the bathroom (ok, maybe half of us made a beeline for the nearest bush), we set off our own firework show. I’m glad I left my poor doggie at home. She would have died in fear.

My favorite – The Exploding Bin Laden Noggin 

On Wednesday I woke up with a killer hang over and succeeded to feel like crap all day. I apparently I had two beers too many the night before (and I only had 2.5 Bud Lights)! I brought my bike with me to get my workout in before everyone else arrived later in the day, but I decided not to ride in fear of falling over and ruining my expensive bike. My bestie decided that my poor, unpainted toes needed a pedicure.

Not usually a fan of nail art, but she felt the need to give me flowers anyway

We watched the boat parade from the dock while eating breakfast while the rest of the family arrived. The parade was dedicated this year to Stan Goff, a firefighter who passed away this year from a heart attack.

One of the “floats”
Group photo!

On Thursday I woke up with a very runny nose and a bad cough. Apparently, I wasn’t completely hung over yesterday, but instead was developing a lovely summer cold. Who the heck gets a cold in the middle of the summer?! Oh, I do! Grr… For the past two days I have been blowing my nose every 5 seconds and coughing up a lung. I did a quick swim and a quick (but very hilly) ride last night with a few ladies, but I decided to take today completely off and rest so I can get ready and healthy for the Norway Tri next weekend!

~Happy Training!

Weekend Rap-Up

So last week “grammar nazi” The Midnight Baker pointed out that I spelled “Weekend Rap-Up” as “rap-up” instead of wrap-up. I just want to point out that clearly I did that on purpose because you are all suppose to rap my blog posts out loud like some famous rapper! Duh! Ha, I wish that was the reason, but nope. I do spend time spell checking all my blog posts before I publish them, but obviously I need to spell check my post titles too because it should be “weekend wrap-up.” However, I will still continue to call them “Weekend Rap-ups” just because….

Anyway, this long holiday weekend weather has been beautiful! I spent 6 hours on Saturday working my new job. I recently became employed as a “health enthusiast” at the Vitamin Shoppe part-time on Saturdays. Come and visit me! Apparently, I need to be watching Dr. Oz because it appears everyone who comes into that store is looking for something he talked about that week on his show. Then Azul got a nice little tune-up at the bike shop and now she is shifting smooth as butter! I also got my new book “Developing Endurance” in the mail and I have been reading it the past few nights. The book is written by the NSCA and shows “how to achieve optimal stamina to race your best through science-based aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance training.” I purchased the book for several reasons. The first being that since I’m an endurance athlete I like to understand the rhyme and reason (no pun intended 🙂 ) of why my coach assigns certain workouts and what my body is doing during those workouts. I also am developing bike shop boy’s training plan for Beach to Beacon and hopefully (the key word) he will listen to me and follow it (but I have a feeling that will not be the case). I recently just learned that the USAT is having a Level One Coaching Certification clinic in September in Providence and I’m pretty sure I am going to attend it and thus I think I shall get a head start studying. 
I had my first open water swim Sunday morning at Crystal Lake. The water was super warm! It was also the first day I have put my wetsuit on since Pumpkinman last September. It went on super easy, but mostly because I’ve lost a lot of weight and thus it’s actually too big for me now. It will work for now, but I will have to get a smaller suit later this summer. We swam from the boat launch to the point and then back, which is about a 1.2 mile swim. Many of the camps have not put out their docks or floating rafts yet so there was not much to spot off of, but I just used the shore line to spot. The other girls used me to spot off of because I just took off from them. I finished the total distance in about 32 minutes and I actually kicked most of the way too! 
Can you tell we are excited to swim?!
I was suppose to ride with someone Saturday afternoon but he ended up having to work. I understand his need to work, but I will admit that I was disappointed. I look forward to our Sunday afternoon rides because that is to only time we ever get to hang out. I told my new employer that I can’t work Sunday afternoons because he and I usually ride together. Now I’m questioning if that was such a good idea… Anyway, I ended up riding solo from my house. Between my coach and I, we can’t do math. My ride was only suppose to be two hours, but ended up close to 2.5 hours instead. She provides my training in two week blocks through Training Peaks. She will give me the total time for the workout and then in the notes will provide the breakdown of each workout. She had edited my long ride workout, but apparently forgot to edit the details. As I was uploading the workout into my Garmin, I didn’t even think to double check her math. I headed out on a 40 mile route that I knew would take me about 2 hours to complete. About three quarters into the ride (mileage-wise) I realized that I wasn’t even halfway through my actual prescribed workout and started mentally adding the numbers. Yup, my workout was more like 3 hours so I stopped doing the workout out after my second 15 minute power interval and just rode easy the rest of the way home. My ride wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. I spent most of the time avoiding the vast array of dead animals on the side of the road, bad drivers who came close to hitting me, and avoiding an 18-wheeler water tanker that almost ran me over on a really crappy country road with no shoulder! 
Now that I have a powermeter my coach gives my intervals in terms of power zones. Apparently, I can’t hit a power zone if it was right in front of me! It was a rough workout. My Garmin computer kept beeping at me because either my power was too high or too low. When I uploaded my data this morning for my coach she informed me that I need to change my settings on my computer from one second to 30 seconds power reading. It will be a much smoother power reading and hopefully my Garmin won’t beep every 10 seconds at me! I had a 30 minute transition run after my bike yesterday. As I was riding up the hill to my house, I was really dreading the run. My crotch hurt because I finally decided to commit to the Cobb Plus saddle this week and now I have to “break in” my new saddle. I probably should have just kept the test saddle till after Mooseman because I was use to it, but I would have felt really bad if I actually did pee on it… (my coach also informed me that I need to learn to pee on my bike. Poor Azul…)
The first 200 yards of my run just plained sucked! However, I started to settle into an easy pace and felt really comfortable and strong! I kept the pace easy, but my legs wanted to go faster. I just kept reminding myself that next weekend I will have to run 10 more miles in addition to what I was currently running! This morning was another swim at Crystal Lake. Today it was full of pollen, but the water was still warm! I really LOVE open water swimming. I’ve always been very comfortable with it since I spent most of my summers growing up living in the water at our camp on Sebago Lake. It’s practically second nature to me.   
Mooseman is in less than a week. I have mixed feelings about it. I have learned that the water temperature at Newfoundland Lake is 65 degrees! That made my day! I guess the lake is notoriously cold and I was kind of dreading the water temperature. Mostly, I’m dreading the bike portion. Secretly, I have a time in my head that I want to beat; however, I know this course will not get me the time I want. I hope to PR at this race, but again, from everything I have read and heard about Mooseman, it is not the course to PR on. So, we’ll see. My goal is really to just finish (in one piece)! There are a few people I know doing the race whom I have a target on their backs. I want to beat them, mostly for my own ego. I think the main reason I’m dreading the race is that I will going to it solo. My coach will be there and some of her other athletes whom I will probably meet, but really, I will know no body and have no race support. My father is not really supportive of my sport and I know he will not come to my race. I practically had to beg him to come to Pumpkinman last year. I already told him about a month ago that I will probably be doing Lake Placid next year and that he will be coming. He argued with me a bit about it but I kindly reminded him that I will be picking his nursing home someday and that he should be nice to me! Just kidding…. but I did tell him that doing an Ironman will be one of the biggest days of my life and I would appreciate the support. Last year I had great support from my Tri ladies at Pumpkinman which was awesome! But this year they are all racing the Dynamic Dirt Challenge that day and of course I don’t have a significant other so I guess I just need to suck it up and race. I’ll get through it, but it’s always nice to have supportive friends and family there to cheer you on! 
Happy Training! 

Post-Weekend Rap Up

First off, I think this video describes a lot right now….

I have the entire summer off from classes! First time since 2005! Of course, I’m not going to be sitting around doing nothing. I have a stack of books to read! I just started Chrissie Wellington’s A Life Without Limits and it’s awesome! I find myself reading it in my head in a British accent. Is that weird? I also have started studying to become a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition and also to become a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I will keep myself busy for sure this summer. It’s the only way I like it.

This past weekend was full of solid workouts. I got a call Friday night around 8pm from my mother’s best friend’s daughter asking me if I would join their team for the Into the Mud Challenge in Gorham because their fourth team member was injured. Of course I said yes because I lack the ability to say “no.” After I hung up with her I started to wonder what I just got myself into and possibility regretting my decision. As long as I didn’t hurt myself or ruin my 10 mile run I had to do that day too, why not?

The Into the Mud Challenge is a 2.5 mile run through mud pits and obstacles such as hay bales and tires. It is put on by USM’s Sport Management Program student’s as a field experience. People are encouraged to dress in costume and there were so good ones there on Saturday. I was surprised how many people did the race. There were a ton of people of all ages, sizes, and fitness abilities. The course wasn’t hard, but it was dirty! I didn’t wear my Garmin or anything, mostly in fear of ruining it, plus I really didn’t care about my time. This was for fun, not a race. I think the worst part of the day was getting mud in my eye. Maybe next year I’ll wear my swim goggles. In order to finish the race you had to cross the finish line as a team holding hands. We ended up placing 5th out of 27 co-ed teams. I definitely plan on doing this again next year. I had friends doing the Tough Mudder in Vermont (hard core), but that does not interest me at all. I’m on the road to Ironman, but little local races like this appeal to me in order to break up the sometimes mundane training of swim, bike, run and the races are for a good cause.

On the way to the finish

Finish line Photo

The Dirty Runners

Later that day I did my pre-long run hour easy spin on Azul on the trainer while watching the Kentucky Derby. Got to love the first Saturday of May! I spent most of the day at my bike shop trying to figure out what’s wrong with Azul’s new addition, but more on that later this week. After my spin I headed out for 10 mile descend run. I had a really good run, despite the 2.5 miles I ran earlier in the day. I was able to finish out the last 15 minutes at my 5k pace so I call it successful run. I definitely was hurting a bit after the run and made sure to wear my 100% compression tights, which are just awesome! I ended up wearing them to bed too.

Sunday was a beautiful day. I rode a challenging 56 mile loop with my bike shop boy through the boonies of Maine. It featured Douglass Mountain as the main goal, which is a local cat 5 climb (although sometimes MapMyRide calls in cat 4). It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it still kind of sucked. We rode from the Rt 113 side (Baldwin) over to Rt 107 (Sebago). The worst part was once you think you get to the top, you go back down and then up a quick steep part. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had expected it, but I was not ready and had really poor climb. I used to be a fairly good climber, but ever since the Dempsey Challenge last October where I had to walk my bike up “puke” hill, I have lost my climbing mojo. I don’t feel strong on the bike at all, even though we were averaging around 22 mph on the flats. I think I’m starting to mentally work myself up about Mooseman 70.3 in 3 weeks! I’m just glad that I have a compact crank on my bike instead of a standard. But I’ll be super glad when everything is in working order! Bike shop boy and I finished the day with a total of about 2500 feet of climbing and probably ate about 10,000 black flies along the way! Next Sunday is another big loop of climbing some of the big hills in the Cumberland/Yarmouth/Gray area! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? 🙂

I completely flew by this the first time then had to back track. Oh well, let the fun begin!

Last night during my swim I realized two things about swimming: 1) I really like 200s and 2) I hate kicking because I don’t have floppy ankles. Also, I thought for sure the woman in the lane next to me was going to drown. Every time she took a breathe is was more of a grasp for air. I did some pull sets with my paddles and at the end of my swim she asked me what they were for. I almost told her it was to spank the water and show it who’s boss then I realized she probably think I was crazy!

May is looking to be a very good month so far. I’ve had a few opportunities pop up in the recent days so I’m hoping for some good things soon! Hopefully this rainy, cold weather will turn into nice, warm spring days very soon! Tri for the Y is in two weeks and I have a few big goals for my season opener!

Happy Training! 

Sunday Workouts: The Good & The Bad

Today I had a 1:40 long run and a 2850 yard swim on tap. Today is also the last day of my base training phase and I start my recovery week tomorrow before I repeat the entire cycle again! I have tomorrow off completely AND I have an hour long massage with the best massage therapist in town! Can you tell I’m super excited?

I slept in till about 8:30 and had a smoothie instead of my normal oatmeal with peanut butter and banana for breakfast. The temperature was a brisk 25 degrees when I first woke up and the American flag in our backyard was right out straight (we live on a hill so it’s always windy). I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this long run. My original goal was to be on the road by 10am, but I decided to wait a little longer in hopes that the temperature might rise a few degrees. Sure enough, as I headed out the door the thermometer read 32 degrees. It was definitely windy as I was standing in my driveway waiting for my Garmin to find the satellite. Once the satellite was found it was off for an easy 40 minute warm up followed by a steady zone 2 run for 45 minutes and finish up with 15 minutes of easy running. I chose to run a ~12 miles loop from my house. I knew I would get close to 10ish and then just walked the rest of the way home. I haven’t done that loop in close to a year so I was looking forward to a change in scenery and also hoping that it would be flatter than some of my other long run loops. Nope, the first 3 miles contain some decent size hills and then follow up with a slight 1-2% grade for close to 4.5-5 miles and then downhill-ish for the rest of the way. The first three miles also consist of really crappy roads with no shoulder. I almost got nailed around a curve by some stupid high school age driver who was talking on her cell phone and drinking a Red Bull at the same time. HELLO, someone please take her license away from her!

Once I got moving I warmed up quickly. The wind actually wasn’t that bad! It picked up a bit when I got closer to Sebago Lake, but I was pretty sheltered by trees on either side of the road. It was also quite warm in the sunshine, but there was a definite drop in temperature in the shade. I took my gel (I got a whole new supply on gels this week so no more consuming expired gels that have been through the wash machine that make me puke! Yay!) and some water around the 45 minute mark. I don’t know what it is, but after I take my gels I always seem to find my groove afterwards and manage to nail my workouts. And that makes me very happy! I settled into a good pace for the next 45 minutes of running. I’m not a very fast runner, but I have improved over the past couple of years running on a regular basis. I have also noticed a huge difference in just working with my coach for the past two months. I am training differently and it has made a difference! Also, all the strength training I have done all fall and winter has paid off in better hip and core stability and my right hip is back where it should be thanks to my awesome chiropractor! These things also make me very happy!

I’ve never been a huge fan of running. I’m not a natural runner. It’s work for me and sometimes (ok, most of the time) I don’t like it. I haven’t quite figured out how to push myself during a run like I can during a bike or swim workout. It’s not that I am not capable of putting one foot in front of the other, but running is more of a mental game for me. When it hurts, I want to stop. I need to learn to shut off the hurt and push through the pain for the gain. I was discussing this with my coach back in January when we videotaped my running so she can check my gait. Apparently my gait isn’t as bad as I thought it was. I have the marathon shuffle, which isn’t a bad thing, but I can definitely tweak my gait to be more efficient. It’s easier said than done, but I plan on working on it. I also don’t have much of a kick in my gait, which according to my chiropractor is the reason why my lateral gastrocnemius (outer calf muscle) is super tight. Imagine that! Anyway, I told my coach that I think running is hard for me because mentally I always think negatively about it. She told me that I have an inner running goddess that I just need to find. I think I found her today! I had an amazing run today and I felt like I could run all day. I was actually bummed when 1:40 popped up on my watch and it was time to stop. I finished the day with 9.65 miles. It was a breakthrough run day and ranks in my top two best long runs ever! 🙂

Now for the bad. It wasn’t really a bad workout. I had a good solid swim, but I was extremely annoyed by the people at the pool. Apparently I didn’t get the memo that it was wear your string bikini and tramp stamps while “swimming” laps with your pool noodle day at St. Joe’s. I love swimming at St. Joe’s because the pool is super nice and clean and generally not busy. Today was absolute chaos! There is lap/open swim on Sundays from 3-6pm. Three lanes are open for lap swimmers and the reason of the pool is open for open swim. There had to be at least 50 people there! When I got there, one lane had about 4-5 women all wearing string bikinis and “swimming” back and forth with pool noodles and kick boards. Half the time they were just floating on their backs just talking. HELLO! This lap is for lap swimming not drinking umbrella drinks! I’m pretty sure you should be at home watching NASCAR anyway! One lane had about 4 swimmers in it and the other had two so I hopped into that one. One woman was a real swimmer (she had a Peaks to Portland water bottle. She’s legit!) and the other was okay. She left shortly so it was just me and the swimmer for a little while. Then she left and two middle school age girls got into my lane and decided they would swim super slow and practice their flip turns (aka stand in the middle of the shallow end and get in my way). I was not pleased and managed to kick water in their faces every chance I got (Yes, I’m a meanie, but seriously get out of my way because I will swim over you if you get in my way). Finally, with about three quarters of my workout done the girls left and a REAL swimmer jumped into my lane and totally lapped me. He was fast! And it was nice to swim with an actual swimmer who knew proper pool etiquette (even if he lapped me a couple times)! I got in my workout, but I super annoyed and distracted by the stupid people at the pool. So here is my lap swimming pool etiquette:

1. Don’t wear string bikinis! Or any two piece bathing suits! You are here to swim not drink umbrella drinks. Go to Florida if you want to do that! (Besides no one wants to see your fat rolls or tramp stamps!)
2. Pool noodles are not swimmer toys. They DO NOT belong in a lane (and neither do you)!
3. Do not practice flip turns while someone is swimming in the lane. Take a swim lesson or practice when your not distracting the real swimmer.
4. Wear a swim cap! I don’t care how short your hair is, but hair in the pool is gross!
5. If you get in my way, I may or may not swim over you.
6. If I am in the middle of a swim workout, don’t try and have a conversation with me. I will not answer you because I am busy!
7. Boys over the age of 3 do not belong in the women’s locker room. I am naked when I am changing and I really don’t want you to yell at me because your son is offended or stares at me. I’m sorry, but the sign on the door says “WOMEN!”
8. Please adhere to the little orange cones that say “slow”, “medium”, and “fast” lanes. If you are slow, do not get into the fast lane. See rule #5 if you have any questions.

Those are my rules. If you are offended by them, then don’t swim in a lane with me. I don’t tolerate stupidity well.

Happy Training!


Base Training: Week One

On January 1st I began working officially with my Coach! Today marks the end of week one of base training. I survived! For most of the fall I was focusing mainly on strength training and yoga so it definitely feels great to be back in the pool, on my bike, and pounding the pavement.

Monday began with a swim at the Cape Elizabeth pool, which was the only pool open for the holiday. I haven’t swam at Cape since high school freshmen year when I was on the swim team (We were state champs that year!). That was 10 years ago! I had a decent workout but just couldn’t find my groove. Half way through my main set of intervals the lifeguards had to move my lane over to allow the divers to practice. Of course this messed up my count and distracted me. Tonight I swam at St. Joe’s, which is pretty much my home pool, and I had a great swim!
This week was my first real week back running and so far so good. My glute/hip problem haven’t been bothering me, which means that my pelvis is most likely still align! My calves are a bit tight so I have been wearing my compression gear and making sure I stretch really good. I have an appointment with my chicropractor on Thursday to check my pelvis and work on my ever-tight calves.
Friday night marked the beginning of The Sustainable Athlete’s “Friday Night Fights” computrainer race series. Friday was suppose to be my rest day, but I wanted to join Team Allspeed in for the fun. The course was a rolling hill 10km course. The boys kicked butt per usual. They are both psyched for the upcoming races and for the upcoming crit races in the spring. You all better keep an eye on them 🙂 I’ve never done a TT before so I didn’t know what to expect, especially since I am not in bike shape. I tried to pace myself and not go out too strong so I didn’t blow up half way through the course. The last 1k of the course was uphill and by then I just wanted to die. I survived though and averaged 19.1 mph and 179 watts. Power doesn’t really mean much to me at the moment, but my coach said it’s not bad for where I am at the moment. I’m super excited to get a powermeter in the very near future!
On Saturday a friend and I checked out my friend’s bootcamp class at Fit212 in Falmouth. If your looking for a good all around body workout you should definitely check out his class on Saturday’s at 7:30am. I enjoyed his class, but it’s not what I need for my training. I’m more on a sport-specific strength training plan. However, if your looking for a good ass kicking, you should seriously check it out (My shoulders are a bit sore today, but shhh… don’t tell him that).
Currently I’m in my kitchen cooking up a storm for the upcoming week. I should hopefully start my new job this week, which means my time is going to be a bit limited with everything going on. I find preparing healthy meals ahead of time and freezing some of them helps me stay away from eating out or choosing the wrong, unhealthy foods. My new class started yesterday also so back to the grind with schoolwork. I think I will enjoy this new class though.
Weekly Totals:
Swim: 4100 yards (+/- a few laps because I can’t count)
Bike: 3 hrs (on the trainer so no mileage at the moment) + 19:27 min 10km TT
Run: ~14.5 miles
Strength: 1 workout with my personal trainer, 1 bootcamp class, 1.5 hr core classes
Here’s a great article on the science of base training!