Monday, August 31, 2009


Probably one of my biggest training months (not the biggest) so far:

  • Swim: 26,400 yards (15 miles) (longest swim 1.75 miles)
  • Bike: 441.30 miles (longest bike 75 miles)
  • Run: 63 miles (longest run 12 miles)

August also included one official triathlon and one indoor triathlon, so my training has been somewhat broken up by these and by some fatigue and some weather issues. But I think I am on track, and my race time Saturday was within the respectable time frame that I could do, so I do see measured progress.

September will prove to be challenging, but I'm looking forward to it, and it has to be done!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009
This was the first time I have done an all women's race and I gotta say, I loved it! This was an innaugural event, with a sprint distance and an almost Olympic distance--the swim was only a 1k swim instead of a 1.5k--but close enough.
The morning started cool but muggy, like 62 degrees and 94% humidity muggy. By the time the sun came up though, it was feeling quite chilly as the humidity seemed to be blowing out from a northwest wind. The lake was calm however.
Jan and I headed down to the race yesterday afternoon and spent the night in a nearby motel. Just easier than doing that hour plus drive in the pitch dark and then not knowing where you're going anyway. We were racked right behind each other, based on race numbers.
It certainly is a different atmosphere with an all women's race. Lots of laughter, smiles, and giggles, and a definite camraderie I don't see at mixed races. We love the guys, but there is a different thing going on with just the gals.
Lots of first time triathletes were inspired to do this all women's race, maybe not worrying about feeling intimidated by fast guys. It was very exciting watching their excitement over doing their first event.
One thing I like about this racing company is the way they handle the swim when there is a sprint and longer course. The sprint course is on the inside of the longer course, so you never have to worry about crossing each other's paths.
It felt good getting in the water waiting for the start because it helped thaw my feet out. There were only about 85 women in the long course so we started all together. I got in the front line because everyone said they weren't "fast." I never believe anyone who says that because I am the only true not fast triathlete. My swim is okay though and I felt starting in the front would avoid the usual jam up when you get in the middle. But I didn't take into account the shallowness at first, so by the time I got into a comfortable depth, people were already passing. Still, I seemed to have a lot of space, no one was thrashing you, and there was no worry about younger guys coming up behind or over you later. I got off course slightly from the second to the third buoy, probably by the length of a pool, so had to work my way back over to get lined up right and kept on course the rest of the way. Just as we turned to head back to shore, the sun decided to pop out briefly, just enough to blind you, making it seem like you were looking into a fireball. I have learned to not look directly into the sun/sky for sighting when this happens and just look low and try to follow heads or arms ahead until I can see again.
I don't have the official swim time yet, but when I checked my watch at the first mat it was around 23 min. So pretty much what I figured. Then it was a hike up a huge hill to transition, which for once was right after the hill, and a short jog through to my bike. I knew I would beat Jan on the swim, so my next goal was to get to at least 5 miles on the bike before she went whizzing by.
I am always slow at swim to bike transitions. No matter how many races I do, I just don't get faster here. But I don't worry about it anymore, and today I was obviously not going to be the last one out there despite this.
I was warm enough that I decided against putting a shirt on over my tri top, even though it definiely was still chilly. I guess I hoped for a big warmup at some point, even though that only happened for about 10 minutes.
The bike course was mostly flat with all right turns. We did get the wind at 4 points once it picked up--from the north and from the west--and doing 2 loops for the 40k bike meant 4 times into the wind. But of course that also meant 4 times with it behind you, so it all evened out.
Doing 4+ hour bike rides for the past couple of months almost every week, doing 40k seems to go by so fast! And I was able to push myself harder, despite the wind. Because of this, Jan did not pass me until 10k, and we kept pretty close the rest of the way. She was always about 2 miles ahead of me, but with turnarounds, I kept her in my sight often. Not that I didn't expect her to beat me, because I knew she would. Just to give me an idea of how well I was doing.
Before I knew it, we were on our second loop. I had passed a woman in my AG (believe it or not and on a hill!) just before the second loop started, so now the burden was on me to keep ahead of her the rest of the time. So I did push myself harder than usual. As it turned out, I ended up beating her on the bike, but with a little confusion at the end--like where was the finish line?? she ended up almost behind me at the finish. And, as usual, she beat me out of transition to start the run, and I never saw her again in the race.
What I hate about this racing company is their usual BS of runs. You never know what you will get--longer course; dirt roads; rooted and rocky uphill trails; horse trails; and today to top it all off, mowed paths through open fields. Like a maize. Oh I hated this run! The first mile was the hardest, with the worst uphills with rocks and roots to watch out for, up and down dirt hills, through the park, mainly all cross country except a couple of short stretches on the paved roads. My legs really felt it on the grassy parts too. They just felt like stumps. So my first loop wasn't great, but again, after doing all the longer training runs a 5k went by pretty fast, despite the misearable course. I walked a lot more the first loop than I would have liked, so by the second loop I had to really focus to make my goal time. And it started raining at about mile 2, but thankfully it was just a shower. I didn't care about me getting wet. I just didn't want to get back to transition and have a bunch of soggy clothes and nothing warm to put on. And I couldn't remember either whethere it was a true 10k or some other manufactured distance they came up with to make it that much harder, so by mile 5 I started doubting my ability to make my 3:20 goal time. But as luck would have it, it was a true 10k, and I was extremely thankful to be done and my finishing time then was 3:18:52. Whew!
Jan did 3:02 and I was pretty sure she would finish under 3:05 (my predicted time for her) and she even took a wrong turn on one of the trails. I quickly packed up my bike and other gear and headed over to get something to eat waiting for awards. No sooner had awards started when another cloudburst started, along with high winds, which made it feel like someone spraying you with a hard misting hose.
Surprisingly, I ended up with 2nd place in the AG, even though I was pretty sure 3 other women were ahead of me. Maybe I didn't read their ages correctly because 1st place was the woman who I beat on the bike but who took off on the run before me.
We waited out the shower and then headed home. It was getting much colder and windier and I still had on wet clothes.
Now I'm sitting here thawing out with a hot cup of coffee. Its the end of August and it feels like October! I will predict though that the first week of school (week of Labor Day) summer will definitely be back!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

While I have been actively building my workout base all year, I now am in crunch time where I know I have to step it up some. I've been following a fairly relaxed schedule but was running into a roadblock when trying to figure out how to get more quality long bike workouts in on weekends, in addition to long run workouts. Sometimes that worked, sometimes not. Whenever I have a bad long bike workout, I always worry about making cutoff times in long events.
One thing I love about long swim workouts is that it helps me sort through those problem areas, tweaking the schedule here, tweaking the schedule there, but until today not coming up with any do-able plan. My half IM training program got to be way too tedious, with long swim workouts and run workouts on the same day. For some reason, I cannot stand doing long swim or run workouts after work. I don't mind doing bike workouts, but that may be more from the obvious reason that I can't do them in the morning on work days all that often due to darkness and time. By the time the training program was almost over, I was so sick of the pool I could hardly stand it.
Then I made a change that got me motivated again. So I have been doing swim workouts M, W, & F, run and bike workouts T & Th., long runs Sat., long bikes Sun. But still something has been lacking. Today in the pool I started really working on that dilemma, and I came up with a new plan that I hope works. I think it will help improve my biking and my bike to run transition as well.
My new plan will still be to swim M, W, & F, with long swims on Wednesday. Then my long run will be on Tuesday morning. That means I'll be getting to work late, but with all my extra hours that will not affect my total weekly hours at all. It will just mean planning ahead with people at work to let them know I will be in late on Tuesdays. Thursdays will continue with a morning run, finishing up with my hill workouts and eventually moving on to some speedwork, with a bike ride Thursday nights, again hills and speed. Saturday will be a mid distance bike ride with a run after, building on the distance there, and a long ride on Sunday. I know it sounds like I'm working out all the time, and in reality I do something every day, but I am used to getting up early anyway, and I prefer morning workouts so that I am not doing harder workouts back to back (night to morning), so even though I am doing something every day, two morning swims are easy workouts, and I don't consider them wearing me out.
I don't have much time to get this thing right, so here goes, hopefully off to a good start toward a great finish!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I wish I could say the training has been going great, but at best its just okay. After my 75 mile ride last week, which I found out was very tough, Monday at work turned out to be a complete nightmare, with me working over 10 hours, and spending at least 8 of the 10 on my feet. By the end of the day, I was limping my feet hurt so much. Oh sure, I sat down to eat my lunch, while checking e-mails and voice messages, and entering week-end reports, if you really want to call that "resting." But, I did get in a one mile swim in the morning before work, and then did weights after work.

Tuesday, I got up early (4:45--that seems to work best) and headed to the gym again, but first did my hill repeats. Then on to another full day on the job, a near repeat of Monday. After work, I went to the park to get in a bike ride, but the fatigue caught up with me and since I was riding alone was not overly motivated. I got through about 13 miles but then called it a day.

Wednesday was another story. By now, the fatigue was hanging on, and I had an urgent project to get done before the rest of the office showed up. I did get to the gym, but there was absolutely no way I could do a 1.75 mile swim. I was pooped! And, typical of me, when I have an early morning deadline, I just have to go there and get it done before anything else. Naturally, I always say to myself I'll do the workout later, but it almost never happens, and that rang true that day. So I spent all day feeling guilty, but not enough to get into that pool after work, which as it turned out was after 6 pm with no breaks, due to another last minute crisis. After work, I decided to go shopping to get a new swim suit, and after that, I decided to just go home, make dinner, and then lie around and read. Only I only read about a page before I fell asleep.

Apparently, that was the magic charm, because even though I woke up still totally wiped out, after stretching and lying on the gym floor for about 10 minutes trying to will myself to move, I got up to go out and run. I really tried to rationalize doing it at lunch (yeah right) or after work (not likely!) so felt I had to get out there and at least make the effort. I ran in the downtown area, actually the hilly portion of downtown, getting in some good hill work and feeling quite good after. And pleased with myself that I didn't put it off again.

After work, Don met me for a nice almost 18 mile bike ride, where I did hills and speed work, which basically helped me keep up with him.

Then on to the Friday morning swim. I have been making this my easy day, by just swimming one mile, but I still felt guilty about missing my swim on Wednesday, and felt pretty good that morning actually, so went ahead and did 1.5 miles, about a minute faster than the last time, so I was pleased with that.

Friday ended up being another day with a last minute, late-in-the-day rush to get out. While I had enough extra hours for the week to take most of the day off, there was no chance of that happening, and ended up putting in another 9 hour day. It should be criminal to have to work after 5 pm on a Friday!

That evening I went to number 2 son's 22nd birthday party, and pretty much couldn't wait to get out of there to get home and collapse!

Saturday, the plan was to get up "early" to get out and run 11-13 miles before the heat became unbearable, but I was so tired I actually slept in--to 7:30! Then, by the time I dragged myself out the door it was almost 9. I headed to the park and just before arriving there got mixed up in a huge traffic jam due to construction. I finally bailed on that, only to get held up once again by the longest train in history! By the time I finally started running, it was almost 10 am, and the temps were probably 75+. I knew after a couple of miles with the heat that I had to choose a shady route, so went around the river and totally missed Don who had come down to bike and look for me. By the time I got done 2 hours later, I was ready to head to Lake Michigan.
The traffic in Grand Haven, a beach town that we love, was pretty slow and almost crawling, but eventually we got a parking spot and headed down towards the waters edge. We both were pretty tired after our workouts, but it was so hot that getting in the water was priority one! Again, another unbelievable Lake Michigan day, with the water temperature at 74 and the waves about a foot. Perfect for a swim! We only ended up doing about a half mile swim because we were tired enough from our earlier workouts and wanted to just relax. But the water was refreshing!
Sunday's plan was to bike 64-75 miles, depending on how I felt. I felt like crap once I got out there. It wasn't quite as hot as last weeek, but, after 25 miles, we went off the trail and rode another bike path into town, which added 10 miles that were definitely not quality miles--stop and go constantly and into a headwind. The result was that while the first 25 was well within my happy range of pacing, the 10 miles set me back considerably, so for the next 35 I felt like I had to make up for lost time. No matter how hard I pedaled, my body wasn't having any of it today. My feet hurt. I could not get out of the 13.7 mph range no matter how hard I tried. We had a head wind and a cross wind. My water was running out. You name it, it happened today. I was pretty much crazed by the time we got done and COULD NOT WAIT to get off that bike! By then, it was in the upper 80s-low 90s, and a stiff wind, and I was totally cooked.
So now I feel discouraged. Disappointed. Deflated. Please tell me this is normal! Please tell me things will get better! Please tell me this body will adapt! And please tell me I won't go crazy about these bke miles!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time to catch up a little on this poor neglected blog, if anyone is left to read it!
As I said in my last post, it will be a totally crazy month because of work and now the increased training volume. And I'm not even looking at any family obligations that might come up or ones I can't avoid.
Despite working overtime every day last week and again yesterday, I still got in all my workouts last week and so far this week. I guess that's saying something.
So here's the wrap up for the last 8 days:
Sun., August 2: Rode 64 miles. It wasn't that bad. It was cold enough that morning to wear arm warmers, and I never took them off, even after more than 4 hours of riding. I rode with a guy from work, and we never stopped except at 50 miles, and then only because HE needed to stop. I then had to attend a work function at a ball game that included a little beer drinking. Maybe that's why I recovered so well??
Mon., August 3: Easy day, 1 mile swim in the a.m. Didn't feel that tired from the day before either. Weights in the p.m.
Tues., August 4: Second week of hill workout in the a.m. Warm up for 20 minutes real easy and then 5 repeats on a 4% grade of a hill: 1 min. 30 seconds up; 30 seconds walk; jog easy down x 5; then cool down to car. Total of 4 miles. Bike 15 miles in the p.m., charging up the hills by standing. I couldn't believe how good I felt!
Wed., August 5: My son's 26th b'day so a party that night. A.M. swim, going for my longest swim ever: 3100 yards, 1 hour 17 min. I had estimated 1:20 so was pleased it went faster. I am assuming that with a wetsuit and no turns I could probably take 5 more minutes off from this distance.
Thurs., August 6: Hilly 3.25 mile run. Today, I felt the fatigue in my legs, but still was able to push through the longest hills with just a few seconds of a break. The longest hill is 1/4 mile long, so its a long haul to the top. The next longest hill is about 200 yards but really steep. Wouldn't have had to stop if a bus hadn't come. Biked after work again, doing the same 15 mile loop, only it took 1 min. less than Tuesday. And I talked almost the entire time. Where did that come from?
Fri., August 7: Easy day again, 1 mile swim, 2 minutes faster than Monday. And I did not want to even do it that day! Again, where did that come from?
Sat., August 8: Scheduled was 13 miles running on a hilly course. Reality was that weather was so bad a local tri was cancelled, only the 2nd time this happened in 10 years. Needless to say, the morning was going by quickly with no prospect of getting out to run (because of heavy rain and lightning) until Jan called, telling me about the cancelled tri. She was going to go to the gym and do an indoor tri. Hey, that's a great idea. I'll join you. So we ended up doing a 30 min. swim (1200 meters for me); 1 hour 15 min. spin DVD; 45 min. run (4 miles for me), for a total of 2 hours 30 minutes, pretty close to what I would have done doing 13 miles anyway so a good tradeoff.
Sun., August 9: Longest ride ever: 74.6 miles. Scheduled was 75, but I can pretty much figure out that last 4/10 of a mile. I have to admit, I struggled through this. I'm sure it was the distance, but the added factors that day were high winds and high heat and humidity (we actually had storms later in the day and overnight that caused a lot of damage around the area I was riding in). I rode the first 50 by myself too, and then Don came out and pulled me through the next 25. While my legs mostly felt okay, I really struggled with the pace at times, and mentally by the last mile I just wanted someone to come and get me! I didn't feel that tired, but was definitely glad to be done, and of course this gets me thinking of strategy for upcoming rides. This is a dilemma for me: do I continue to build miles, even though struggling, or take a couple of weeks at the 75 distance and work through that first? I guess I will defer to more experienced riders on this. I definitely felt like I did earlier this year, struggling first to get to the 50 mile distance and then working like crazy after to get to a decent speed.
After the bike ride, Don and I went to one of the Lake Michigan beaches. I wanted to get in the water in the worst way I was so sweaty and grimey feeling. The bike path had been wet with puddles everywhere when I started out early in the morning, so got a lot of spray and splash all over me, on top of the sweat, so I couldn't wait to rinse off.
Once we finally got to the beach, another problem arose. I had forgotten to bring the bottoms to my two piece swim suit and so had put on my gym lap swimming suit, which was getting to the point of nearly see through. But I didn't really feel I had a choice. But, when I went to pull up the suit in the back, guess what? It ripped, showing a lot more skin than would be legal, so then was forced to put back on the sweaty bike shorts! They were so gross and wet from sweat, it was disgusting. So then it really became important to get in the water. No fashion statement was going to be made that day!
The water was glorious: one of those rare (like maybe 2 a year) days when the water is 75 degrees and the waves are 3-5 feet, making it the best way to enjoy the big lake. There was also a strong undercurrent in places, but I dug my feet into the sand and held my ground while being pounded by the waves.
So now, its back to the grindstone. Hopefully I can get caught up on everyone over the next few days!