Tag Archives: AAA

Week Recap & The Awesome, Part 2

This week has been a little bit quiet, but as usual life has not been.

After my meh half marathon my Coach deemed this week special recovery and awarded me a super light schedule of easy activity. I was hesitant to embrace it; after a crappy race I feel like I should be working harder, not taking it easy! But something wasn’t right on Monday and Tuesday and when I realized that all I wanted to do was sleep I accepted my lazy fate.

  • Monday: Off with a 30 min light spin and a Green Lake walk.
  • Tuesday: An unsuccessful night at the track left my legs feeling like they’d buckle at any moment.
  • Wednesday: A feeling-slightly-better 5 miler.
  • Thursday: A – gasp! – day off, but I did my favorite hot yoga class to get stretched out.
  • Friday: 8 mile trail run that started off dragging but by the end I was on cloud 9.
  • Saturday: A historic swim, not only because it marked a new distance in the pool but mostly because I had the entire pool – EVERY LANE – to myself for the second half.
  • Today: A 2:30 (40 mile) ride and a 25 minute run in which I experienced every type of weather including but not limited to clear blue skies, rain, high winds, the glassiest most still Lake Washington I’ve ever seen, snow, mist, hail, and frost. Take that weatherman!

I wouldn’t say that I feel like a new person after my easy week, but I for the first time in a while I felt energy and power on the bike today so I see that as a good sign.

In other quietness, Garth has been traveling for work. This means I miss him, a lot. It also means that I have been eating like a single person (cereal, anyone?). And that my bike still resides in its own special room, also known as the living room.

And in the last but truly most exciting of the quiet times, this week has been especially low-key because my last day at my job was Tuesday. I took Weds/Thurs/Fri off to catch up on life, and tomorrow I begin a new chapter. I’m so excited about what’s in store that it’s difficult for me to behave in a sane way or focus enough for the words my fingers type to actually make sense.

Tomorrow I’ll return to online marketing for a product I whole-heartedly support, enthusiastically believe in, and faithfully use as an athlete. I’ll be working for a local company that was founded by athletes and produces a product for athletes, meaning that my love for sport (my crazy) will not only be accepted but will be truly useful and valued. I feel so lucky that this opportunity came together and that I get to join a team of people who are equal parts clever, kind, passionate, driven, and just as crazy as I am.

Growing up as an athlete I lived by sport, and as an adult I feel grateful to have found it again and love nothing more than to share it. I’m so excited to live and breathe the athletic world that I adore, and for my job to be to share it. Seriously, does it get better than that?

So, just a few more hours of quietness in store. I’m thinking some laundry, a bath, some Grey’s Anatomy (yes I still watch that show which shouldn’t surprise you since I also listen to LMFAO) and Parenthood, and early to bed.

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24 Pool

After spending two consecutive days on the trainer watching it snow, and seeing the weather forecast for last night (SNOWPOCOLYPSE!) I started getting worried about work travel and getting my training in.  And about work travel. And about getting my training in. I’m okay with changing the plan, but I’m not very pleasant to be around when I don’t have a plan, so after confirming on every channel and website I decided to take action against the weather. (Never mind that it didn’t snow, the pool was still closed for inclement weather so it’s a good thing I’m nuts!)

My knee is a bit creaky and sore from so much time on the bike (see the last 2 days above), and I don’t dreadmill, so that leaves the pool. But public pools operate on school inclement weather schedules which tend to be conservative and unpredictable here. We live 2 blocks away from a 24 Hour Fitness, one with a lap pool that’s also open for 24 hours per day, but I’ve never swam there because I’m not a member and didn’t swim when I was (3 years ago). As a last resort I chatted up an online sales specialist last night, signed up for a free trial to get me through snowmageddon, and headed over there this morning.

First off, the front desk attendant took one look at my ID and remembered me. FROM THREE YEARS AGO. And I’ve even gotten married since then, so my name has changed. Then, I went down to the pool and there were four glorious lanes, and one person swimming. One person total. I could have had three whole lanes to myself if I wanted!

I’ve been trying really hard to convince myself that I like the public pool enough to inconvenience myself by continuing to go there. What will I do without my pool friends? How will I dry my hair at 24, because they don’t have hand dryers? But I like the drive home from the pool as the sun rises! But really, a lane to myself, 24 hour per day availability, and a 2 block walk might just win out. Stay tuned for the life-changing details.

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Will Do’s

As part of the post-race exercise my coach asked that I put together a list things that worked well for me this race, as well as a some things that didn’t that I might change for future preparation or simply not do again.

Overall I feel pretty good about Sunday’s race. You can’t complain about a 4 minute PR, ever. Especially one that’s as a result of a mostly run-free spring and summer; the product of just two months of butt busting to build strength and speed for race day. I am happy that I did well and grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. But, my goal was a 1:35 and I came in at 1:37, so there is room for improvement and I won’t get over that part. I’m not losing any sleep over it, but I am already trying to plan my next road race to shut my brain up and prove more fastness.

It was a good exercise to think about things I’d do again versus things I shouldn’t do again, ever because it forced me to think about what I’ve learned and how far I’ve come. And it made me identify specific actions that I’m responsible for that contributed to and handicapped meeting my goal. The best part being that if I’m responsible that means that I have control over these things, meaning that I can change them, meaning that I can make sure they go better (or keep going well) next time around.

Here’s the summary:

Things I’d do again to prepare for race success. For sure. 

1. Running the course pre-race. Usually I drive courses or just generally study up on the terrain, but running it so many times really helped me focus on what I knew was coming next (flat stretches, hills, turns, etc.). Though I may not be able to replicate that for IMC, it worked well for this race and is something I would find helpful to replicate when I can. It was a huge relief while I was pushing myself through the race that I didn’t have to think about how far I had to go, since I just knew and knew how to stick to the plan.

2. Plan water station stops and stick to the plan. I used this tactic during Black Diamond too, and rather than waiting until I’m thirsty I just made a goal to run through every water station if only for a tiny sip. For the Seattle Half I planned ahead to stop at alternating stations and hit that right on target. I never felt like I was fighting dehydration or nutritionally related lack of energy, and I think planning it out ahead of time contributed to that. I’ve never used Gu during a half and forced down 3. No stomach issues and once I recovered from the Madison and Interlaken hills I felt good nutritionally speaking.

3. Pre-race Warm-up. Jogging to the start line and a few long sprints made a big difference in the start of my race. The warm-up calmed some pre-race jitters and got (and kept) me warm, and I didn’t have trouble adjusting to going out fast. Usually in a race, and sometimes even in a high intensity training session, my HR spikes really high and then levels, but that feeling always generates a bit of panic and I was happy to not experience that this race.

Things I wouldn’t do again, or would change, to make sure future races are a success.

1. Don’t feel locked in to the pacing group. I mentioned in my short race recap, the pacer was a blessing and curse. He reminded me that I needed to get myself out of the crowd and keep moving for the first few miles, but the zig zagging and catch up on his terms rather than my own stressed me out and used energy inefficiently. Bottom line is that I think to feel really in the race I need to establish my own footing.

2. Use training to build confidence (not just fitness). I didn’t feel extremely confident heading into this race. I did strong training leading up to it and hit most of the training goals, but for some reason I never felt confidence build alongside progress made. During training even when I hit pace/time I felt like I could have done better, and when I missed splits or pace by just 2 seconds I felt down on my performance. Long progression runs did a tremendous amount for my fitness (I wouldn’t change those at all!) but I wasn’t accustomed to the effect they have and without the “that was easy!” feeling that I’m used to during long runs (which I’ve done slow and steady in the past) I didn’t build myself up as much. Probably nothing to change here, just a learning curve thing.

3. Practice racing. I feel toughest and most aggressive during training, as opposed to when I race, so I think I need to race more to practice my mindset. During training I welcome the challenge, but during a race I get more worried about pushing myself too hard and find myself worrying about not finishing. Silly, but true. A race doesn’t get me into a competitive mindset anymore than a training run with difficult pace parameters does, so I think I need to find a better way to position a race in my mind so that I’m focused on “beating” my own plan.

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If Pink is the New Black, Triathlon is the New Golf

Okay, not really. Honeysuckle was SO 2011, so I’m sure we’ll get something more exciting than a shade of pink for 2012. But triathlon really is the new golf, and even AdAge agrees:

Ad Age Article: FORGET GOLF – IF YOU WANT TO GET IN GOOD WITH C-SUITERS TAKE UP TRIATHLON

Now, since I’m part of Club Triathlon as well as Club Advertising I feel compelled to have an opinion on the article. For the record, I both agree and think it’s awesome.

As Ad Age states, we are a bright, motivated, and driven group of people. We have money to spend and we want to spend it at being the best we can. And we’ll even travel to do it. Triathletes are a Type A obsessive bunch and want to feel supported and acknowledged at our level of competition within the sport. Exhibit A: Since triathlon has won out “just running” I’ve purchased more things than I’d like to admit on the Internet, including: special laces, used bike, new wheel set, race wear, new helmet (post crash), 4 race registrations one of which was $712, pool usage fees, a new garmin, and the list goes on and will continue to. I’ve forgone a normal gym membership to work with a coach and a team, and rather than keeping up with J.Crew’s winterwear I stalk Lululemon, Road Runner and TriSports to find my must-haves. And I am loving every single second of drinking the triathlon flavored kool-aid, and am constantly thirsty for more.

Now the question becomes how to use this to my advantage? They say “do what you love,” and, “choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” So how can I marry my job that I’m good at (advertising, communications, marketing) with what I happily fall asleep thinking about, hope to dream about, and wake up to train for (triathlon)?

Now accepting any and all suggestions.

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What happened?

“Looked like you had an awesome race – although, I have to ask, what happened on the swim? Would have thought you would be faster . . . . ”

Yes. Thank you. Finally.

My ego needed that question to be asked.

I appreciate the love and support that my family and friends have provided to no end, and I don’t feel, or intend to sound, ungrateful. Being that this was my first 70.3 I needed a level of blind support and people to encourage me with or without knowledge of what this all means, and without judgement of how it all turned out. I needed some “You’re-Awesome-For-Even-Trying.”

And I’ll take some of that kind of awesome, gladly. But that question, that very astute question, knocked my Triathlete Tiara right off my head that day, in the best way possible. I wanted someone to say it, and have wanted to say it myself, but I’ve been too busy masking that one letdown with the genuine success and excitement from the race overall. However, no matter how well things went I am better than that, and my type-A heart needed to recognize that with someone that wouldn’t respond with, “congrats,” just because they don’t know what else to say or what I’m capable of.

My race on Saturday was a really good one. I made good decisions, I overcame challenges, I met my goals and on paper, all things considered, it looks pretty darn phenominal. I’m not hung up on the should have would have of it all; I freaked out and that sucks and next time I won’t. But. I could have done better. I am a better faster swimmer than that.

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Triple A

I fear I’m already failing at keeping my training and tri-life documented, but truly nothing drastic has changed so I’m excusing myself this once. I’ve tried some new routes, noticed my confidence on the bike building, and most recently I’ve realized that I can skillfully navigate my bike simultaneously while hydrating or fueling, which is no small feat.

Mentally things have been much harder than they’ve been physically. Right now my body wants to keep going, and psychologically I’d almost describe myself as angry when I realize my ride is half over and if I don’t turnaround I’ll exceed my allocated time. Lately, I’ve been feeling stagnant, a little discontent. I love building from where I’ve been and pushing myself one tick further each day, and when I don’t get to do that I start to feel a bit of depression sinking in. Not true depression mind you, but I feel my self-worth as an athlete slide backward and question my ability to do the job. Not because I really feel like I can’t do it, but because I’m not currently doing it and if I can do it why am I not and blah blah blah… Quite silly, quite unreasonable, but truth. My training has been building in ways that don’t include longer workouts or more miles and I automatically base my emotions off time, not effort. I’m not fast and never will be but damnit I’ll keep going at a pace that’s faster than slow. Mentally it’s a hard place for me to be right now. Ironman still isn’t for 12.5 months but emotionally I’m so attached, I feel like it’s in 4. And I can’t wait until it’s in 2!

Tonight I was texting with a friend who reminded me how far I’ve come in just 2 months. Us type A’s just can’t get enough, can’t stop until we get it right and though I’m lucky for countless reasons one of those reasons is that I have someone to talk to daily about that shared “gift” aka sickness. Our conversation made me think, and though I certainly haven’t gotten it right yet, I suddenly understood that just two months ago I swam in a lake for the first time ever. About 8 weeks ago I did my first open water race and had to breast stroke with my head above water for 75% of it. Now, I still play mindgames for the first 500 meters, but can swim 2.4 lake miles comfortably at a respectable pace a couple times per week. I should be proud of that, and I AM proud of that, but it’s just not enough right now.

I read an article at some point recently that pointed out the fact that most successful athletes are Type A personalities. Then, it poignantly mentioned that if successful athletes are Type A’s that triathlete’s should be considered type AAA. Guess I’ll fit right in amongst this crowd.

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