Category Archives: Training

Full Recap: Ironman Canada Whistler 2013

By popular demand – or, actually, just for ease of reading and research – here are all of my Ironman Canada Whistler race recap posts.

They’re written in pretty long-form, mostly because I thought that with it being a first year course there might be athletes searching the web for information about the course and event. That said, what’s written below is just my own personal opinion and experience. I’m confident that others have their own opinions and experiences to share as well.

Whistler_Ironman_Canada

Overall, as an event Ironman Whistler, couldn’t have put on a better show. The event was extremely well-organized and despite some last-minute changes things went off without a hiccup or hitch on race day. Volunteers were as well-informed as at any race I’ve been to, and the community was friendly and welcoming to athletes and their entourage. The course was truly hard, but was also truly beautiful. And who wants to do an easy Ironman, anyway?

So here is my experience and opinion about Ironman Canada Whistler 2013.

Race Recap: Ironman Canada Pre-Race Prep

The week leading up to the race was once again great! Whistler was a beautiful place to spend a few days relaxing before Ironman began.

 

Race Recap: Ironman Canada Swim and T1

The swim site was beautiful, the lake was perfect and clear and calm, and my favorite race-day surprise: a deep water swim start.

 

Race Recap: Ironman Canada Bike and T2

The bike was tough and where my challenges began, with a bloody nose, a penalty, and a flat.

 

Race Recap: Ironman Canada Run and Post-Race

How my bloody nose continued, but I stopped feeling sorry for myself and tried to turn thing around so I could feel proud of my second Ironman finish.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Training

End of Season Surprise

After Ironman Canada I decided that I wasn’t really done. I obviously wasn’t super stoked to end the season on that race, but because I didn’t give it my physical all I also didn’t feel run down and exhausted. So I waited 2 weeks to make sure I wasn’t still high on endorphins and low on common sense, and then I decided to sign up for Austin 70.3.

Swim start at Austin 70.3. Photo from ironman.com.

Swim start at Austin 70.3. Photo from ironman.com.

Before I registered I also toyed with the idea of another full Ironman this year, but with limited (and very expensive) options I decided it wasn’t worth it. The cost in terms of money, time, sanity, and normal life, was too high to feel good about the commitment unless I achieved the result I wanted, that being a stellar race. But a stellar race takes more than stellar training, and as learned in Whistler those extra factors that make your day stellar aren’t always things anyone can control.

Austin is a good compromise though. It’s keeping me goal focused through this first stretch of fall, but I’ll still have 2 months for a real off-season before training ramps up again in January. I get to keep training and make some more gains, but without putting my body through another Ironman and risking injury. I get to spend my favorite season outside, but with 3 hour rides rather than 7 hour rides I have more time for my family and friends.

As summer has abruptly turned into fall – I swear our house went from 80 degrees to 57 degrees overnight – it’s been a little tough for me to stay as excited for this race as I was a month ago though. 100% of the time that I’m swimming, biking, or running, I’m thrilled to be doing it, but it’s been more challenging to get out of bed for an early morning bike or up from my desk for a lunchtime run. It’s getting darker and colder and my body knows I’m almost done.

Just one month left and then I really will be done for the year.

austin703

One month until Austin!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Training

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

I don’t even have any pictures I’ve been so tired and busy, so you’ll just have to believe me.

The last 5 weeks have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. By far. IMC was tough, I’d argue that finishing Boston was tougher, and then there are the private and personal struggles we all go through that are a different kind of challenge than anything physical.

I can easily say though, that the last 5 weeks of training, my build to peak, were the hardest thing I’ve ever done: 5 weeks of steady building (training mileage + hours) with a finale weekend of a 128 mile ride + hour-long run on Saturday, and a 20 mile run on Sunday. With a taperless 70.3 and a 3-day training camp in the middle, no less.

Ever single day for the last 5 weeks I’ve woken up more tired.

It can’t get harder than this, tomorrow you’ll feel better, I’d tell myself multiple times per day.

You just need to warm up, I’d tell myself to limit discouragement at the start of each workout.

You should be tired, as I got sleepy earlier and earlier each night.

I watched my Garmin and fought to keep pace, and watched my heart rate drop drop drop. By the end I couldn’t get it above zone 3b if a tiger were chasing me.

There were a few days, specifically in the last 2 weeks, where I truly didn’t know if I could finish my workout. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t know if I was capable. Spoiler: I did. But had coaches and friends not surrounded me the first day of camp, or had I not had others to meet and keep me entertained for a 7+ hour ride (that started with 2-3 hours of rain!), I don’t know if I could have blocked out the mountain of a day and focused on moving one mile at a time.

Even though it was only 2 days after the peak of my training, yesterday I woke up feeling better. To say I felt “good” would be a laughable overstatement, but better than I’ve felt for at least a month. Even if my body hasn’t gotten the memo, my brain knows: Taper Has Arrived!

I feel grateful to have arrived at taper in one piece this year. I feel happy that I held it together and didn’t have a mid-build meltdown like I usually do (nevermind some exceptionally grumpy days – no tears is an incredible feat!). I am proud that I worked so hard every single day.

At this point, I couldn’t panic train if I tried. There is nothing left, I am empty, and my tank needs to refill itself. But I believe that I did everything I could this year. I know I did. I will always wish to be faster, and fitter. But all you can do is give each day your whole body and heart, and I did that a hundred times over.

With about 40 miles to go (of 128) of our last long bike ride on Saturday we started talking about how we were heading home.

Crossing the bridge this direction means we’re headed home, and

This is the last time we’ll have to climb this hill until next year, and

This is the last time we’ll stop at this gas station

Then there was a pause.

Well, unless any of get to Kona this year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ironman, Training

Weekend Volume

Long weekends are made for staying up too late sleeping in traveling training. With an extra day to fit in the same amount of responsibilities + more hours to spend outside, I hoped this would be a good one.

I’m getting better at managing anxiety when I open up Training Peaks and see a block bigger than anything I’ve done before, but I’d be lying if I said that in days leading up I wasn’t a little bit anxious about how exhausted I knew I’d be come Monday night.

My training is so different from last year in a lot of ways. At this point in the cycle I’ve learned the patterns and in’s and out’s so it doesn’t seem drastic. But there are a few big things that are making a difference for me – I think at least – this year.

  • REST DAYS. As in, I have them. Not an obscene number, and I’m still perpetually tired and regularly sleep 9+ hours on the weekends (yes I go to bed at 8:30pm on the regular). But it’s good stuff for the mind and body having those couple of days per month to recharge and shower in my own house (as opposed to the gym or office).
  • BIKE. BIKE. BIKE. I wish I had a real tally of the number of times I rode on the trainer this winter. I’ve gotta bet it was less than 15. AND I LIVE IN RAINY SEATTLE, FOLKS. Through cold and rain I made it outside and I’ve gotten better on the bike for it. And thus this weekend will be my first century ride of the year whereas last year I didn’t reach that milestone until mid-July.
  • BE A FISH. Last year I averaged around 3200 meters 2.5x/week. Since December I’ve been swimming 4k yards 3x/week, and alongside better and faster swimming. Not only does it help build overall hours, but I’ve actually moved up a lane and gotten faster and more comfortable in the water.
  • VOLUME. Not much to say here other than with all of the above, there’s a lot. I already have a new PR in “training hours per week” with 3 months to go until race day.

In talking about that last one, volume, the plan for this weekend was as follows.

SATURDAY –

Planned: 80mi ride, 45min run     Actual: 82mi ride, 5.65mi run

SUNDAY –

Planned: 15mi run     Actual: 30min open water swim, 15mi run

MONDAY –

Planned: 45min open water swim, 2hr ride     Actual: 45min open water swim, 2:35 ride

Nothing to really gawk at, except for the fact that I survived and all. Per the usual there were no mind-blowing breakthroughs this weekend or any huge gains met. If we’re being totally and 100% completely honest I’d tell you most of it felt pretty freakin’ hard. But I silently reminded myself that it should be hard and pressed on, and amidst some struggle there were a few good little confidence boosters.

  • On Saturday I rode the third long weekend in a row, with building distance, at what I consider to be a speedy pace. It’s braggy, but this is my blog and so I do what I please! I’m proud of the fitness I’ve gained and my ability to hang with riders I would have been dropped by last year.
  • On Sunday I swam in open water. In open freezing cold water. With people. In the rain. And didn’t have an anxiety attack. It may be sad but it’s very very true: This is a huge confidence booster for me. And to build on that I it again on Monday.
  • On Monday I rode in pissing rain on my heavy rain bike on some of the most tired legs I’ve been the proud owner of in a while. It wasn’t pretty or easy but I put the time in plus some, and had fun.

Never mind that come Monday evening I watched 5 consecutive TV shows moving from the couch only to snack, hydrate, or pee, and was in bed by 9:30 and slept until 6. Or that this morning it took me over an hour to kick my butt to the curb, where my 11mi run may as well have been 100mi it felt so hard. Still, I checked all of the boxes and got it done.

This weekend will be the last big one in the build for Victoria. It’s a doozy, but if it’s half as good as this weekend was I’ll feel pretty confident going into my first tri of the year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Training

New Team

There’s no time like now for a little training update. Right? Especially since tomorrow marks exactly 3 months out from August 25, also known as Ironman go time?

After IMC last year I was ecstatic about my race for a couple of days, then exhausted for a few more, and pretty soon after that I started thinking about the next one. It didn’t take me very long to decide for certain that there would be another, but I didn’t want a repeat of 2012. I wanted, and still do, a lot more than that.

I want to go to Kona. And if I don’t get a spot I want to walk away knowing there was not one thing that I could have done to be more well-prepared to earn it. If I believe that in my heart, I will be a happy Ironman no matter what.

I can’t complain about my 2012 season or Ironman Canada. If I had a magic ball the only things I’d change are things that can’t be controlled anyway: freak weather in Boise, freak bike crash in July, more freak weather at Lake Stevens. I have not an ounce of regret about how I handled any of it, but when the season quieted down I knew, and know, that I can do better.

What worked for my first Ironman (and second summer of triathlon) isn’t the same thing that that will help me continue to grow as an athlete. If anything, 2012 was more of a preparation against failure rather than aggressive and planned growth. So last fall I outlined what I needed to do to be better and came up with a few things:

  • Bike more. No matter the bike, no matter the weather. Saddle time!
  • Train, purposefully, with FAST friends. Force myself to (try to) keep up.
  • Join a master’s swim group to swim more. <- Thinking that if I swim more, I’ll get better, and hate it less, maybe.
  • Challenge myself. Make myself uncomfortable. Work through it, and find confidence.
  • Have fun.

Then in December I did something that was pretty challenging for me (thus meeting one of my goals?). I broke my routine with the friends and coaches I had become comfortable with and  joined a new tri team: Pauole Sport. And I think I was more afraid for that first day of master’s swim than I was the morning of Ironman Canada.

The good news is: it’s working. I’ve gotten stronger in the water and on the bike. And on my run off the bike as well. I have a pool (literally, ha) of talented athletes to use as carrots, training buddies, and resources. And I’ve met some awesome people who I’d want to hang out with even if we didn’t all have to ride for a million hours every Saturday so we may as well do it together. And on top of all of that my new coach is fantastic.

Things still feel exhausting and hard on many days, but having confidence in my coach’s plan, having friends to endure it with, having resources to learn from, and having the occasional day off is currently making all of the difference in the world for me. These things make it possible for me to spend time with my family and friends, have a (small) life, stay sane, and still think Ironman is fun while getting better.

Greg LeMond’s quote is the real truth, “It never gets easier, you just go faster.”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Goals, Ironman, Training

Photo Update

A very random update from the last few months in photos.

Winter sunrise run

Winter sunrise run

Sunrise from my new front door

Sunrise from my new front door

One of the first totally dry rides on the year

One of the first totally dry rides on the year

My new race gear

My new race gear

My new paincave is rad

My new paincave is rad

Post run refuel

Post run refuel

I get 3 of these for running 3 legs of CIM

I get 3 of these for running 3 legs of CIM

We got the house!

We got the house!

Yep. We do.

Yep. We do.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photo & Video Posts, Training

(Training and Normal) Life is Good

I’ve been terrible about keeping up with this blog, mostly because I know that almost no one can – or does – read it. I like to think that’s due to the privacy settings I have set up for the time being and not that I’m totally lame. Fingers crossed that’s all settled soon so I can really get to the bottom of this.

In the meantime sometimes I feel like OMG SO MUCH HAS CHANGED since I updated the Internet about my training progress every few days. Other time I feel like there’s nothing to talk about because it ranges from similar to the exact same every.single.day. I love the schedule and repetition in my life, but know, and am cool with the fact, that not everyone cares. I love working hard to achieve gains that only I notice. I love proving to myself that hard work pays off.

Training friends, normal life friends, and family ask, “So how are you? How are things going?” And I feel like I don’t have a reply. Things are calmly perfect. There are actually very few ways that they could be any better, really. I’ll take a winning lottery ticket any day, but outside of that I’m at a loss as to how life could be better than it is. I don’t have a lot to talk about.

I’m chipping away at training very well. After every single swim, bike, or run, I wish I had done better or been stronger. But when you add it all up? I have gotten better and stronger. A lot better and stronger, in fact. I question less, I work harder, and I recover more effectively. My new coach and team is exactly what I needed this year. My hours and fitness are up and my fatigue is down. Win/win.

I love my job. It isn’t really work to me, but rather it’s what I want to be doing during the hours where no one will swim/bike/run/drink wine with me. Of course there are days that I would rather sleep than wake up at 5am to fit everything into my day, but 99.9% of days are awesome and there really isn’t much that I would rather be doing from 9-5. And then there’s the fact that my colleagues WILL actually swim, bike, and run with me.

My best friend/husband/tri sherpa/the-most-wonderful-person-on-the-planet and I just got lucky and found our dream home. And then we purchased and moved in to it. It’s a lot of work, but we knew that and are okay with it because we get to live here for forever if we want to. It was a hellacious process to get the house and be where we are, and I swore up and down that I’d NEVER FORGET HOW TERRIBLE IT WAS, but dare I admit that I’m starting to?

My friends and family are healthy and happy and life is good. What else matters? Oh. I’m drinking a really awesome glass of wine right now while I watch the sunset’s reflection in the lake.

So. Things are pretty rad.

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Training

boston with love

This morning I ran to Seward Park and planned to loop the 2.5 mile path a few times to ensure controlled terrain for interval work amidst a 2 hour long run.

I always run the park clockwise. I’m not sure why – I literally have never run it counterclockwise – because it never fails that the majority of traffic is head on. But when I have the kind of workout that lends itself to running a loop over and over and over again that traffic is almost helpful. Seeing other people’s faces helps to remind me to focus on what I’m doing; my brain feels as though they are watching me approach and so I don’t let up.

I tried to make sure I gave every runner a smile and nod today in light of what happened in Boston, and I definitely got more than my fair share back. One older man even sat on a bench cheering every runner that went by, arms waving in the air complete with hollering. He looked as happy as I was to receive cheers every time I gave him the thumbs up and thanked him.

On the start of my third loop a man who I’d now seen three times waved and nodded (for the third time) and as I passed he joked, “How many times are you gonna run around here?” I smiled and facetiously told him this was it for today, and that then I’d be out of his way.

As I finished my final loop, now almost out of the park, I saw him for the fourth time. He was headed back in. As he approached he removed his headphones and told me he was gearing up for one more, and that I had inspired this final lap.

I wish I’d seen him again to tell him that he – along with the cheering man – inspired my miles home.

Image

Running is a solitary sport. Except that it isn’t at all.

Moments like this are why I started this blog in the first place, moments that make you fall in love with how sport brings us together and what it teaches us, all over again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Training

Throwback

The other night I was looking through old photos and came across a few gems.

IMG_1218

You see, I haven’t always been this crazy about running and triathlon. In fact, I absolutely hated running until fairly recently. But I have always been crazy about sport, fitness, and health (minus a few years post college).

IMG_1217

Growing up I practiced gymnastics about 20 hours per week on top of normal public school (middle and high school), still got good grades, and really couldn’t have been happier. I was the queen of time management and learned how to fit everything I wanted to do into my life, thanks to my parents who were pretty much fulltime chauffeurs.

IMG_1214

Other kids wanted to hang out after school, watch tv, eat mac & cheese, and gossip. But all I really wanted to do after school was to get to the gym as quickly as possible to practice, and get better. Summer was the best because it meant 6-8 hour training days rather than the usual 4.

IMG_1219

It wasn’t uncommon to spend weekends all over Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, or even Hawaii for competitions. I got to see new places, compete against the best, learn a lot about myself, and have a lot of fun in the process.

IMG_1212

Though I did eventually (obviously) quit the sport, my current running and triathlon days remind me a lot of my gymnastics days, especially as I develop more friendships and relationships within the sport. Yes, going to the lake is about swimming and getting faster, but it’s also about camaraderie, socializing with people who have similar goals, and catching up with friends.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, Photo & Video Posts, Training

As Seen on My Run – October 18

Image

Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA

Leave a comment

Filed under Training