Tag Archives: Triathlon

Ironman Canada (Whistler) Video

As a preview to my upcoming race report, here’s a video my #1 fan put together of the day.

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Filed under Photo & Video Posts, Race Recap, Racing

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.

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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.”

 

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Delayed Recap

I’m not quite ready to write about Ironman Canada itself.

I haven’t forgotten about writing a recap, but rather I’m still processing the race and the weekend. During that day and at the finish I was so so so happy with how I performed, the decisions I made, and how everything played out. The day WAS actually rainbows and unicorns for the most part. Once I got out there and started I felt like I was prepared to handle everything that came my way, and due to practice, focus, and somewhat due to luck, I made the right decisions when things got less than perfect.

However as days pass I guess I feel less content with how things went and more hungry to take what I learned and put it to the test again. I still think I made the right decisions for the day, and wouldn’t trade the positive experience I had to risk shaving off a couple of minutes here or there. But I feel less and less victorious and more eager to push myself much further than I went – and dig deeper than I had to – last Sunday.

Maybe that’s normal. Maybe I’m nuts.

And don’t get me wrong. I know I did well. I exceeded my own expectations in countless ways. For the first time ever I didn’t have a panicked anxiety attack during a race swim. Some people want to swim fast, but I wanted to swim smooth. On the bike I had a strong 56 miles, then patiently took in more food and drink, and let people pass by while I dropped my heart rate average by a few BPM. It paid off because I was able to tackle Yellow Lake with energy to spare. And the run. From mile 4-17 I had stomach cramping that slowed me to a walk every 5 minutes or so, but I took in enough calories to keep going and not make things worse. It paid off and mile 17-26.2 felt how I wanted to feel; like a RUN.

In all senses of the word this race was a huge achievement. Overcoming early season stress fractures, a scary bike crash, and gearing up to race an Ironman with barely any triathlon experience under my belt. However I still struggle with the fact that I know there is so much more I can do out there. I can push myself much further than I had to last Sunday.

I am happy that I don’t feel done out there though. Next stop: sub 11.

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Race Envy

It seems that nearly every single person in my RSS and twitter feeds raced this weekend in one form or another. And, following on the amazing heels of the Eugene Marathon (where everyone on this earth PR’d) it seems like most everyone had a pretty darn successful time at it. From Vancouver to Bloomsday to Wildflower to St. George to St. Croix to Rev 3 my feeds are blowing up with congratulatory messages, PR celebrations, and race lessons learned.

Congratulations, Internet friends! Hope you’re celebrating your successes like I celebrated my long ride yesterday. In style. With a beer in the shower.

My love for racing admittedly wanes. I love training hard and on a deadline for a big event, and I can’t help but pour every ounce of myself into it. But when it comes down to race day I have a tendency to feel impartial. At that point the hard work is over, and that makes me anxious. That thing I worked diligently for is almost over, and what if the result doesn’t reflect the heart, soul, and sweat I poured in? Cue nerves. Cue impartial attitude.

But there’s nothing like not being able to race to make you want it, and BAD. In the past month or so I’ve convinced myself that racing is the best thing out there and I cannot wait to feel the adrenaline and leave everything I have out on the course.

With Ironman Canada being at the end of the summer there are a lot of perks – more sunlight for training, more dry riding, and more time for the currently freezing lakes to warm – but the downside is that I’m on a schedule for the next 3 months and I can’t afford to drop a training session for a fun run or local triathlon. I don’t want to exhaust myself, or worse, get injured. And I need to make sure I get in the hours and miles that my training plan says which most races aren’t conducive to.

So until my season is over I will be living vicariously through all of my Internet friends’ chalk full racing schedules of excitement. So please, keep tweeting and blogging and sharing your fantastic results. I’ll track you and cheer you on, and hopefully your inspiring stories keep me amped up for what’s next on my schedule, too.

 

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Friday Cry Day #konainspired

In my heart of hearts I have mixed feelings about the Kona lottery situation and charity registrations for Boston. Even the ING NYC Marathon. I wouldn’t ever feel right about racing these prestigious races without earning my way into them. What is earning though… Working hard? Doing your best? Being better than someone else? Boston and NYC have qualification times, while Kona requires a certain spot on the podium (based on how large your age group participation is at your specific race). In either scenario there are so many factors that no one can control that affect your chances. Weather, course, who else is registered, how quickly you can get to your computer and enter your credit card number. Equal? No. Fair? Partially. Measurable. Yes.

Still, though, I believe that I deserve it or I don’t, and that’s a decision I’ve made for myself.

That said, there are people who will never qualify, for whatever reason, that have worked a hundred times harder than I have, who have overcome two hundred times as much, and who want it just the same, or dare I say more. Meet some of them at Ironman’s Kona Inspired contest, where athletes are applying via video for one of six Kona spots that Ironman is gifting to those who can illustrate best that Anything is Possible.

I may not agree with the lottery or charity spots, but I do agree that Anything is Possible. For sure. 100%.

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