Monday, June 16, 2014

Week Twenty Three--Race Week!

Swimming: 5600 meters (3.48 miles) all outside!
Cycling: 112 miles
Running: 17.5 miles

Well, Sunday was the Boulder 70.3 (Half Ironman) and I finished right on the nose of my goal time-- 6:00:08. I'm very, very, very excited about my bike ride. I PRed on the course during the race with an average of 19.2 mph. I never thought I could ride 56 miles that fast! The swim felt effortless and really fun. I didn't have any issues with other swimmers and stayed just outside the buoys on the left side the whole time. I PRed by 30 seconds, so that was a great start to the race.

The run, on the other hand, was bad. My confidence was shot going into it because my hip hadn't been right since the Bolder Boulder. Though I really tried to focus on the bike ride, it was always on the back of my mind. I was also concerned about the heat on the course and the distinct lack of trees for any shade. It was hot, but it could have been a LOT worse. What really did me in was my stomach. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I could barely eat on the bike ride. I felt like I was going to be sick. I managed to get down 500 calories over the first three and a half hours of the race. That's not good--I should have been up at about 800. My lack of fuel really started to impact me around mile 3 of the run. I was trying to eat a gel, but it wasn't easy on my stomach. Seeing Donna and JJ just after mile 4 was a great pick-me-up and then they rode along side me at mile 5.5 or so. It was really awesome to talk to someone about my struggles. At the same time (just a few minutes back at the mile 5 aid station) I decided to try to eat a banana. Though it was painful to get it down, I managed 2/3 of a piece of fruit. This FINALLY started to settle my stomach enough to eat some orange slices. Lap two around the run course was much better from a stomach standpoint, but it got hotter and I was getting tired. My 10:00/mile pace slowed to 11:38 as I was walking a lot at aid stations and getting water and oranges. I finally got to the finish and was elated the race was finally over.

It was super fun seeing people out on the course. Rachael was with Dan on the beach as I got out of the water and then transitioned onto the bike. Rhae followed me for 5 miles at the beginning of the bike course. She parked her car and cheered me on up 36 until she felt there were two many cars on the road with all of us cyclists. Donna and JJ were at mile 50 on the bike course where there was a stupid out-and-back mile. That was pretty awesome to see them! Then Rose was at Diagonal, but I missed her cause I went too fast :-( Back at the Rez Prescott, Danit, Heather and Brendan came out to cheer me on. What a pick-me-up to see them at transition, in the middle and the end of the course. I wanted to look good and strong while I ran by :-) It was also neat that Mom and Dad were watching the live feed. Every time I crossed a timing mat I thought about them.

Some reflections from the event and my training:
1) Russ mentioned drafting on the swim the night before the race. I've never done this before, but I tried at the race. Don't think I ever got it right as I was afraid of getting kicked in the head or I was in a girl's wake and it just didn't feel fast at all
2) In retrospect, I don't know if the running races I did this spring helped or hindered me. I really wanted to run a half marathon to test my fitness. I did and I PRed which was great, but sometimes I feel like my fast running has a limited shelf life and I wonder if that impacted later running. Because I put in such an effort at the beginning of May, Russ cut my miles down in the weeks after and it caused a lot of tightness in my calves which limited training in the two weeks after my race (I was really afraid that I was going to get really injured again). Then I HAD to do the Bolder Boulder. This was probably not the best timing. Again, I PRed so I was super psyched, but that was the beginning of my tight hips and I can't help but wonder if I had rested that day if the hip problem would have gone away then.
3) I feel like this spring was lacking really long workouts. Last year, Russ had me doing 70 mile bike rides followed by short runs and then 50 mile rides with 6 or 7 mile runs. I really didn't do that this year. I did plenty of bricks (bike to run back to back), but they were shorter distances. I did plenty of 50-60 mile rides and got fast, but as I toed the line I was concerned about if I would last for 6 hours, especially since my longest workouts were 3-3.5 hours.
4) One thing I'm really confident in is that I like doing triathlons. I like doing the daily training and seeing the results in my fitness. It's enjoyable. The half iron distance is long and really tests me. I know I can do it faster and want to give it another try. As for a full, we'll see...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week Twenty Two Triathlon Training

Swimming: 6200 yards (3.5 miles)
Cycling: 130 miles
Running: 6 miles
Yayog: Week 10

This was a pretty normal training week. Running was still not right. I saw my awesome massage therapist Monday and she found I had all sorts of tightness in my quads, IT bands, and hips. She basically worked on my IT bands for an hour and then I finally started to feel better. I could run this week, but my stride was not right.

I did have 4 PRs this week swimming and cycling, so that was exciting! Early in the week I did some time trial work on the bike. At the 10-mile mark I was at 28:03 (PR!) and the 15-mile mark was 43:35 (PR!). The next morning I swam and in the middle of the workout I had to do a fast 300-yards. I did it in 4:57. Woot woot! Lastly, on Saturday I rode the race course focusing on the hills. I averaged 18.8 mph over 56 miles. This was .4 mph fast than two weeks ago. Yay!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Couch-to-50k in 3 weeks!

The first step in couch-to-50k is getting to the couch.

(Disclaimer: this is not a training plan, don't try this at home.)

This long boring post explains how I went from "couch" (well, not quite) to finishing a 50k trail race, in a few weeks.  I'll talk about the race (the amazing Golden Gate Dirty 30) in another post.

What went right
My winter training went well.  In December and January I was doing long runs in the 7-10 mile range.  Had a nice 9-mile run up Green Mountain with Laurel on New Years Day, an 11-mile ascent of Green at the end of the month, and 9 miles on Mesa beginning of February.

My right foot started to hurt at the end of the Mesa run, enough that I took the next week off.  The following week I started back slowly with runs in the 2-4 mile range.  Things felt good.  I ran up Flagstaff that week and again the next.

The first week of March I did two runs with Laurel: 7 miles at Boulder Valley Ranch and 7 miles at Betasso.  The Betasso run was a blast: 6" of fresh slushy snow, warm day.

What went wrong
Something happened to my left foot at Betasso.  I don't remember doing anything stupid, just all of a sudden it started to hurt, so we shortcutted back to the car.  By the time I got home it hurt bad enough that I could barely walk around the house.  I was sure I had broken the 5th metatarsal but an Xray the next day showed no injury.  Peroneus brevis tendonitis?  Rx was ice, rest, and some cross-training.

I suck at being injured.  I could cycle without pain but just couldn't get into it (or the weather sucked, or both).  "Running" on the elliptical at the gym would have been good cross training but that's not really fun either.  10 days after injury I tried to run but had to turn back after a minute.  I started to doubt whether I'd be able to catch up in my training enough to still run the race.  So aside from a few bike rides (about 30-40 miles a week) I did nothing for 4 weeks (aka, "couch").

Oh yeah... around the 3rd-4th week Laurel and I visited Adam and Ashlee in Cabo.  Great trip.  My foot was beginning to recover enough that I was comfortable doing half-mile walks, then by the end I was up to walking 2-4 miles.  I decided to start training again when we got back to CO.

Unfortunately I came home from Cabo with a horrible cold.  I did two 2-mile runs and then a 4 miler that first week back, then a bunch of 2-5 mile runs the following two weeks.  My cold went away during that time then came back.  I took the next week off entirely and just did 2 runs the following week.

Weekly running miles, so far
Jan: 15, 13, 9, 15, 8
Feb: 13, 0, 17, 15
Mar: 14, 0, 0, 0
Apr: 0, 8, 15, 12, 0

Look at all those zeros.  I thought I'd be doing 30-40 miles a week by this point.

The bad plan
It's Saturday night, May 10th.  I realize the race is exactly 3 weeks away.  I look on the website to see if I can downgrade to the 12 mile race (same day, same location, less distance).  It looks like I'd have to find someone registered for the 12-mile race who wants to swap places with me.  Ugh.

I don't want to do the 12 mile race anyway.  I've had my eye on the 50k for years (the park is gorgeous) but haven't been able to do it for one reason or another.  I know I can run 12 miles, no sweat.  I wanted a challenge, and I wanted to see more of the park.  Thus "the bad plan" was born.

Laurel thought I could do it if I really wanted to, but I might get hurt in the process.  I decided to try.  If I got hurt during training, game over, DNS.  If I survived training but got hurt during the race, game over, DNF.  Finishing DFL was my threshold for success.

Sunday morning I came up with the plan.  3 weeks isn't nearly enough time to train, so I decided to split my training into 4 weeks (5 days each) instead.  Each week would have 4 runs (long, easy, speed, tempo?) and a rest day.  The first week my long run would be 5 miles.  I hadn't run that far in 2 months.  I wasn't sure how much to push it, but was guessing my next two long runs would be 10 and 15 miles, or maybe 8 and 13 miles.

Week 1
The first week went well:
  • May 11: 5.0 miles @9:50 pace, flat trail, in the rain
  • May 12: 2.5 miles @10:30 pace, flat trail
  • May 13: 4.0 miles, 4x800 repeats @3:50 each, flat trail
  • May 14: 4.0 mile hike at Chautauqua
  • May 15: Rest day (flew to BOS)
Week 2
The second week I was travelling to the east coast.  Running flat ground at sea level is not the best way to train for a mountainous trail race at 9,000'.
  • May 16: 9.3 miles @10:30 pace, on trails at the Marlborough/Sudbury State Forest.  Less than 200' elevation gain.  I had to keep retracing my steps and trying new paths to get a long enough run (the resulting map is pretty funny).
  • May 17: 3.8 miles @11:00 pace, on pavement.
  • May 18: 3.6 miles, 4x~800 intervals.  I made the mistake of not reserving hotel rooms ahead of time since I wasn't really sure where I would be each day visiting people in MA.  Usually it's easy to find a hotel with vacancy.  Not on graduation weekend.  I called hotels for 30 minutes before I found one with vacancy, an hour away.  When I got there, they said they were full, despite my last-minute reservation.  WTF!  Long story short, I helped the woman at the front desk clear out a room, which I slept in for 8 hours and then found a local park with a small muddy trail system.  I ran a 3/4 mile loop a bunch of times.  Took a bus to NYC in the evening.
  • May 19: 3.0 miles walking (walked to work and back), then did 5 laps of the stairs at the hotel (about 100 flights, maybe 1,000' total vert).
  • May 20: Rest day (oops, except I walked a total of 8 miles around the city).
Week 3
  • May 21: 15.5 miles @9:45 pace, mostly on the gravel Bridle Path in Central Park.  Plus 3 miles walking.  I had to loop back around after running the whole park in order to get enough miles in.  It was a fun run.  Bill joined me for the first 10 miles, so that part turned into a tempo run for me (he's fast!).  There were some little hills, I got about 450' elevation gain, ha!  My legs were sore the rest of the day.
  • May 22: 3.0 miles walking (took another rest day, flew home).
  • May 23: 4.0 miles @9:30 pace overall, fartlek run.
  • May 24: Rest day.
  • May 25: 7.3 miles jogging/hiking, previewed the start and finish of the course.
Week 4
  • May 26: 10.4 miles total.  I ran 2.5 miles to the start of the Bolder Boulder, ran the 6.2 mile course in about 54 minutes, then ran 1.5 miles back.  Always a fun race.  Laurel and I rode around after to watch the pro athletes race.  Right foot started to hurt again, I think in the same place as in early February.  Uh oh.  Not too bad though, just a little nagging pain.
  • May 27: Rest day.
  • May 28: 0.8 miles, just keeping the legs fresh.
  • May 29: Rest day.
  • May 30: 1.9 miles.
Race day!
Here's a recap of April's miles, plus miles so far in May:
Apr: 0, 8, 15, 12, 0
May: 10, 23, 27, 13

Not great, but not bad, and I mostly avoided injury.  Game on!  My goal for the race was to take it easy, walk all (or most) of the uphills, put on the brakes a bit on the downhills, keep my heartrate down and hydration up.  I kept reminding myself how I went out too fast at the Blue Sky Marathon in 2011 and ran out of fuel for the second half of the race.  Didn't want that to happen again.

Quick race summary: First 6 miles were great, I was moving faster than expected but it felt easy and fun.  The uphills were rough given that I had done virtually no hill/mountain training and nothing at 9,000'!  Still felt good through about mile 13.  Switched socks and shoes at the 3rd aid station (~mile 17).  I was running out of steam but got a second wind around mile 20.  That kept me going for a few miles but by the time I got to the Windy Peak climb I was hurting bad.  The last 8 miles were brutal, lots of walking, lots of quad and calf exhaustion.  But I finished, and even ran a bit the last mile of the race!  Final time: 8 hours, 53 minutes.  32 miles and 8,000' vertical gain.  Yow!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week Twenty One Triathlon Training

Swimming: 10,000 yards (5.68 miles)
Cycling: 135 miles (with 5000 ft elevation gain)
Running: 6 miles

This has been a week of ups and downs. Monday started with a Bolder Boulder PR--50:37! Woo hoo! It was a great race and I had a blast running it. I had forgotten what a party the whole course is---not like long bike rides or trail runs in the middle of no where. Wednesday and Thursday my hip and glute really started bothering me. They're still not right and have prevented me from running any more this week. My fingers are crossed that my massage therapist can fix it tomorrow. Otherwise, I'm beginning to get worried about my big race in TWO weeks.

Other "ups" this week were my longest swim ever---5200 yards (3 miles!) and biggest swim volume week ever. I almost swam the equivalent of the Bolder Boulder course. Crazy! It was also a great cycling week--lots of miles with lots of friends (Dan, Jayme and Rose) and lots of climbing! Dan finished the Dirty Thirty yesterday and I got in quite a workout riding to road crossings and aid stations to cheer him on. Rose climbed Flagstaff for the first time today. And now I'm a year older--perhaps not a year wiser :-)