Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Things Thursday...

1.  First things first - the giveaway!   Congrats to Suz of Cows and Lasers and Everything in Between, you have yourself a $25 gift card to Kroger.  Check your email...  :)

2.  Crossfit!  Today was my first day this week at Crossfit.  My plan is to go every Tuesday and Thursday.  Here is the story on Tuesday...  I made the mistake of checking their website to see what the workout would be that day.  Tuesday it was a partner workout which wouldn't be bad except that it involved double unders (think jumping rope but passing the rope under you twice each jump).  So here is the thing.  I can barely regular jump rope.  Somehow I missed that skill set growing up.  I do this weird double jump thing every time.  I need to practice this but who has the time... Maybe after Louisville.  For now I avoid any workouts that involve the dreaded rope. :)

Today there was no jump roping to be seen so I headed in for the workout.  It was one of those workouts that was so exhausting but so good.  One of the things I love about crossfit.  

The workout was the Admiral and consisted of 3 rounds of the following for time:

20 burpee pull ups (do a burpee, do a pull up, 20x)
20 front squats (my bar was 55#)
20 box jump (I used the 20" box)

I managed to bust it all out in 18:47 and was pouring sweat all over the place.  No joke, it was like someone poured a water bottle over my head.  It always amazes me how hard you can push yourself in these sets and feel completely spent after only 18 minutes.  The gym isn't air conditioned either so I look at this as an added bonus of heat training for Louisville :)   

3.  Summer Veggies!  I have been using a company called Nature's Garden Delivered for veggies this year.  They have a good variety and let you sub out veggies that you don't want for other options which is nice.  We get out box on Tuesdays and has become my favorite part of the day coming home and checking out my treats!  CR and I don't eat corn all that much anymore but they included two fresh ears in our box this week. I ended up cutting it off of the cob and sauteing it for about 10 minutes with a splash of water, some chopped onion, bacon and a dab of butter.  It was so, so good!

Hope you guys have a good weekend!  I have a century ride in Athens on Saturday.  I might have to try out my new arm coolers - the weather is looking pretty toasty!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

IM Louisville Training Week 11

IM Louisville Training Week 11

Here we go!  This week seemed harder than the previous one.  Maybe harder is the wrong word but I felt more tired this week than I did before.  There is a recovery week on the horizon .... whew :)

Week 11

Rest Day.

Swim (AM)  2850 meters.  

Bike (PM)  20 miles.  I got the IM LOU preview ride on DVD that was put together by Troy Jacobson.  I did the first 20 miles of it and really enjoyed it.  Next best thing to being there, I suppose.  You can see the course and he gives all kinds of tips along the way.  

Crossfit (PM)  This was a tough one.  The gym is not air conditioned and it has FINALLY started to warm up around here.  Not complaining about the cooler temps but it was very odd to have such a cool May.

Swim (AM)  3300 meters

I was supposed to do a PM run today but dropped it because I knew tomorrow was going to be a heavy day because I added a biking session in there to work on my skills.  :)

Bike (AM)  18 miles (this was a brick with the run)

Run (AM)  3.25 miles

Crossfit (AM)  100 pushups, 100 squats

Bike (PM) Did a pedaling technique session with a coach.  He put the bike on the trainer and then we went through drills for an hour.  He said "this isn't a spin class" when I brought a sweat towel out but I was dripping sweat by the end.  Glad I had the towel :)  

Swim:  2200 meters.  Most of my other swim workouts are sets.  (i.e. 5x200, drills, kicking, pulling, that sort of thing).  This was a straight 2000 swim with a 200 cool down.  Not as mind numbingly boring as I thought it would be!

Run:  13 miles.   Ran this out at Stone Mountain.  It was crowded out there!

Bike:  100 miles.  This was the Challenge of the Centuries ride, you can read the specifics HERE.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Challenge of the Centuries...

Aside from changing up my training plan this time around, I have decided to work on my biking.  I mean, I know I can make it through 112 miles of biking but I would like to make them through in a well, speedier, fashion this time around.  ...and really who wouldn't?  My speed has improved over the last couple of years but I feel like there is still something I am missing.  Maybe I am not pedaling correctly.  Perhaps it is the shifting.  Maybe I am just not moving my legs fast enough *ahem*.  Seriously.

Part of the grand plan for biking domination is to ride more.  Duh.  The last two IM's, the longest rides I completed were 100 miles in training.  There were two of those on the schedule, which seems to be pretty typical for most plans so it isn't like I was skating by but....  This time around, I have at least eight 100 milers on the schedule.  I probably wouldn't have *quite* so many on the calendar but I have been tagging along with my friend Meredith on her training rides as she gets ready for IM CDA in a few weeks and these things are ALWAYS more fun with friends.

If you are training for an IM on your own, I think that seeking out century rides and even half marathons to get in some of those long rides and runs is a real help.  Don't race them but use them as a training day (adding on extra miles to the half marathon to get in whatever mileage you have for the day).  It really breaks up the monotony, you have the route planned out for you, plenty of support on the course and rest stops as needed.  Brilliant.  As of right now, I have located just about every century ride in GA (and one in AL) for the next three months.  Excited to hit the road!

This week's ride was The Challenge of the Centuries.  If you have been around for a year or more, you might remember this was the ride where my bike mysteriously disappeared (read about it HERE and HERE).  Still not entirely sure what happened but it worked out in my favor as now I have Annie :)

Determined to break the curse of the race, I jumped at the chance to register when Meredith suggested it. The ride this day was named "Attack on Dick's Hill" which provided all sorts of fun jokes leading up to the ride.  We met up with Charlie and The Expert bright and early Sunday morning and we all took off to attack!

Apparently we all like our personal space...  :)

The ride took off with little fanfare and we were warned about railroad tracks.  One in particular they suggested we walk over instead of ride.  Being one to follow directions, I walked my bike over as packs of riders flew over it.  Ha ha.  Oh well.  The tracks were kind of nasty looking and one girl ahead of me kind of flew out of her seat bumping over them.  That and the skull and cross bones painted on the asphalt.  Decision made.     

Charlie took off within the first mile and we never saw him again.  He had a 16 mile run on his schedule after the ride so he was anxious to get done.  He is faster than us anyhow so who are we to hold him back?  :)

Shortly after the first rest stop, we heard those words no cyclist wants to hear  - "I have a flat".  The expert pulled it over and immediately set about investigating the problem.  He had a flat the week before so it seemed like this might be a bigger issue than just changing out the tube.  After a little investigation and an attempt to refill the air in the tire it seemed like his day was done.  He told us to go on while he waited for the SAG wagon that we had called.

At mile 25 or so we came upon the next aid station.  This happened to be the point where the 100 mile riders separated from the rest of the group.  Meredith decided she should cut her day short and ride back to the finish.  She encouraged me to go on.  I wasn't really sure I wanted to at that point as I was pretty sure I was the last rider on the 100 course and I didn't feel all that good about sending her off on her own either.  In the end, the call to conquer Dick's Hill and get in a solid 100 miles won out and I decided to set out on my own.  

Ironically, as we were standing at that aid station making our decision about the rest of the ride, a couple rode up and we got to talking about triathlons and such.  When I told her I was doing IM Louisville, she says "oh my son in law is doing that race".  I didn't ask who he was as I figured I surely would not know him.  Later on she tells us her son in law's name and it turned out to be my friend, Matt!  So very random.  She also happened to be reading the book Meredith wrote so it was a pretty cool meetup right there in the middle of north GA. 

They all pedaled off on the metric route and I continued on towards Dick's Hill wondering if I had made the right choice.  For the first few miles I kept thinking, this is dumb I have no idea where I am, etc. etc.  I did have the ride map but there was no one in sight.  I finally passed a couple of cyclists on the side of the road who had a broken spoke and somehow that made me feel better.  (I guess I was thinking the SAG truck would be along to check on them and would pass me at some point).  A few turns later and Dick's Hill came into view.  Oh my.

The ride had been a little hilly up until that point but nothing crazy.  I pedaled on towards Dick.  I knew it was going to basically be a four mile upward climb.  Once I hit the bottom I just got in gear and pedaled up. And up.  And up.  I passed another cyclist who was taking a break.  And I kept pedaling up.  After about two miles, there was a section of flat which was a nice break and then it started going back up.  And up.  Finally I reached the top which was signaled by the oasis of a rest stop.  Whew - I did it!  I chatted a bit with the rest stop guy and headed off.  Having that hill behind me and knowing there were other cyclists behind me made me feel better about heading off on my own.  I figured if anything happened, someone would be right behind me.  

The back half of the ride was a little hillier than the front but nothing I haven't ridden around here.  Somehow the miles kind of flew by after after conquering "the assault".  The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful except for a few dog chases (one that was kind of scary - those large dogs can move - I guess I did want to work on my speed...ha ha) and more rough railroad crossings.  Before I knew it I was pulling into the Y.  Done and done!  

I guess I didn't break the curse completely yesterday but may have transferred it to someone else - sorry Meredith and Expert!  One more century down, a bunch more to go....  Bring it on!  :)


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's go Krogering ... GIVEAWAY TIME!

CR and I have been eating cleanly lately which means we haven't been keeping a lot of processed snacks in the house.  Which also means that OF COURSE when I am asked to bring food to my weekly tennis matches it is almost always something I don't have on hand like chips or a dessert.  It is a long standing tennis tradition in Atlanta that the team hosting the match provide food so every player is assigned something to bring.  While I have my own views on what I want to feed myself, I don't like to push my ideas on others so if they ask me to bring cake, I bring cake...  I am not a rebel.  I am certainly not opposed to a treat once in a while so cake it is!  Twist my arm....   :)

Tennis is my dose of reality.  It is so easy to get caught up in the triathlon world to the point that you forget that most of the population does not Swim, Bike and Run all week.  I am definitely the "oddball" on the team. "Wait you are going to swim how far - and then you are going to ride your bike?"  LOL.  Actually, it is only funny because I remember thinking THE EXACT SAME THING about the triathletes in my masters swim class 10 years ago.  Who are these crazy people headed out for a run after swim practice?  Was the swim not enough for them?  Back then I was rolling through the Wendy's drive through after practice and thinking nothing of it while they were probably munching on veggies and hummus.  My how things have changed....

Anyhow, as luck would have it just as Summer tennis is starting up Kroger is having a stock up sale!  You know I will be stocking up on team snacks for all those matches :)   If you have a Kroger near you, from June 2nd – 8th, if you buy 5 participating General Mills products in the same shopping trip you will get a coupon to save $5 on your next visit to Kroger. Look for special tags on participating products. For more details on this savings event, please visit

What is even better is that Kroger and General Mills have hooked me up with a $25 gift card to give away to one of you!  Leave me a comment below, make sure you include your email address and I will draw a winner at random on Thursday, May 30th.  Good luck!

The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IM Louisville Training Week 10

It seems funny to call it week 10 since I feel like I just started but .... to be fair, I was training all through the winter so it isn't like I just jumped on this train to Louisville without any base training.  My training plan is 24 weeks so I have 14 weeks to go until IM LOU!  In the past two years, it always helped me to see what others were doing in their training, especially if they were doing the same race or races around the same time.  Training plans can vary greatly from person to person; however, it always gives me some reassurance if I am doing similar distances as others so I thought I would put mine out there for the world to see.

This year I am trying to work more on biking, so my planned mileage for my long rides is a lot higher than it probably normally would be at this point in training.  Biking is by far my weakest link so I am going to try to give it more focus this time around.  My first two iron distance races, I did two 100 mile rides going into the race.  This time around, I have at least 8 on the schedule and may end up with as many as 10 before it is all said and done.  

Week 10

Rest Day.

Swim (AM)  2850 meters.  The outdoor pool was open and it was fantastic!
Bike (PM)  18 miles
Crossfit (PM)  I am going to try and keep this in the plan for a while longer but cut back to 2x a week

Swim (AM)  3000 meters
Run (PM)  4 miles - Hill repeats

Bike (AM)  18 miles
Crossfit (PM)
Run (PM)  3.5 miles

Bike:  18 miles

Run:  12.5 miles.
This was a little disjointed as I did 3.5 miles of hill repeats with my running group and then did the final 9 on my own.  Mentally it doesn't feel the same when I run like that as there was a little break in between so am going to try and get a solid (unbroken) long run in this weekend).  Side note - had I realized there were hill repeats planned, I probably would have just done a regular run on Wednesday.  Lesson learned...

Bike:  66.6 miles.
This was actually a century ride that was cut short due to a storm in the area.  I rode with my friend Meredith - you can read her recap HERE.  Someone was watching over us because the minute we pulled into the rest stop, we were almost blown over by a wind gust and an official announced the ride was being shut down.  We loaded our bikes in a u-haul for transport back to the start and we hopped in a volunteer's car for the hour drive back.  (Trusting of course that we would be reunited with our bikes at some point...).  I did get to use some cross fitting skills as I helped load water into the U-haul before they took off back to the start so all that strength training paid off this day.  :)



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting down to business...

So here we are 16 weeks from Louisville and seeing as I just registered a week or so ago, I decided I needed to get with it and formulate a plan!  I have used a trifuel plan for my other two iron distances and it worked just fine so there was plenty of thought given to leaving well enough alone.  The thing is there was this book I bought 2 years ago that was calling my name.

I think I was going to use it for one race or another back then but didn't because it seemed complicated.  Not complicated to follow training-wise but the way it is laid out in the book requires you to flip from one section to the next to figure out your prescribed workouts.  There are about 16 levels of workouts in there so the way they organize it make sense but I think at that time I just wanted a sheet of paper I could print and go.  Anyhow, suddenly after two years of gathering dust I decided to use it.  ...and with that I have created a plan.

While I loved the workouts in the Trifuel plan, I think the weekday workouts for the week-by-week plan are a bit more challenging and might help me more at this point.  What I have decided to do is use the weekday workouts from Fitzgerald (I am going with Level 8 if you have the book and are curious) and then use the Trifuel plan for the long distance workouts on the weekends.

Sunday after I got home I spent some time mapping it all out and just like that a plan is on paper!  I kicked it off Tuesday and have had good luck hitting all the workouts so feel great about it going forward...  A little swimming, a little biking, a little running and I will be ready for Louisville in no time :)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rev3 Knoxville...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...   Before I even get started, I will warn you that this will be longer than usual.  A crazy weather weekend apparently requires me to give out a lot of details.  Let me also say that while this race was INSANE it has NOTHING to do with Rev3 or the course, simply the weather.  Rev3 was top notch from start to finish in less than ideal conditions.  And here we go...

Going into this race, I knew it would be a challenging course.  I mean Knoxville is not what you would call rolling hills, they are closer to what you might call mountains (not Kilimanjaro or anything but east coast type mountains).  In fact, several people I asked compared it to roads in the North GA mountains.  I was a little worried about the bike course going into the race.  I obsessed over elevation charts and asked everyone who had done the race before for their opinion of the course.  Not that it would change anything other than to make me feel better (or possibly worse) going into it.  I am pretty sure only one person acted like it was no big deal.  I later found out that this person had placed 2nd overall last year so....  note to self, no longer ask George about races.

My mantra for Knoxville and maybe life in general.

I rolled into Knoxville on Friday night and pretty much went straight to packet pick up.  My hotel backed up to the expo which made it super convenient all weekend long.  I picked up my swag and called it a night.  I had wanted a Rev3 visor for a while.  In fact, a friend of mine and myself had applied to be on the Rev3 team because we really wanted the visor (that was our joke anyhow).  We weren't chosen but at least I have my visor now.  Their loss :)

Saturday, my friend Kristi and I made plans to ride the race course as a preview.  When she first asked me, I thought "surely she means in the car".  She did not.  She is kind of hard core.  We didn't get far on our race preview ride because the roads weren't accessible (the course had us going on a highway that would normally be closed to bikes) so after about 8 miles or so we called it good enough and headed over to ride the run course then drop off our bikes for the day.  It was a steady drizzle on us most of the ride which ended up being a good trial run for Sunday.  I had worn a light bike jacket which turned out great because it made my decision on what to wear much easier for race day since the rain continued into the next day...  I ended up wearing that jacket on the bike and the run.  (sooooo very thankful I pulled it out of the closet at the last minute!)

I can't smile like a normal person anymore. I got braces 6 months ago so it is always a weird attempt to cover them up which looks even stranger then if I just smiled. UGH.

Remember this scenic riverside running path, we will discuss it later.

Bike drop off.  Love the boxes for the bike!
Make that personalized bike boxes!
After the ride, Kristi and I forced ourselves to get into the water for swim practice.  I say forced because after riding all morning in the cold and rain, we pretty much had no interest in getting in the 58 (!) degree water.  We suited up in our wetsuits, made a quick polar bear plunge and got out about two minutes later.  Yes, it was as cold as advertised.  BRRR.  It was good to try it out because the cold was the kind that takes your breath away.  I think that might have been a shock on Sunday had I not experienced it on Saturday.

Trying not to laugh... we wore our wetsuits to the athlete meeting.  At least we were warm...  and if they needed a stand in for cat woman, we were ready!
Note everyone else is dressed normally...

With Mari after the meeting

... And here we are at race day!  The forecast for the day was calling for 100% chance of rain.  In a way, I guess it is better knowing this up front so you can dress for it.  Right?  I got up bright and early, set up transition and then went with my friend Keith to the swim start.  It was raining while we waited and would continue to rain the rest of the day.

For the half, there were only three swim waves.  I was in the 3rd wave which was basically all the women, aquabikes and relays.  As we stood there, a couple of women were debating the cold water and whether or not they even wanted to start the race.  One was thinking of handing her chip in before she got started.  I am pretty sure the ladies ended up swimming but I lost track of them as we made our way to the dock.  ...and we were off!

I don't know what was with my swim time on Sunday.  I clearly was just cruising along and saving energy for something.  I don't know if it was the cold or what.  I do know I was breathing every 2nd stroke because I felt like I couldn't really breathe from the cold but I didn't think it slowed me down that much.  I felt pretty decent about the swim until I saw the time.  LOL.  I swam a 2:35/100 when I know I can swim in the 1:50 range.  I seem to do that a lot and don't really go hard in the swim.  Not sure what a good strategy is there.  For the longer distances it feels like you would want to save something, you know?  maybe I could stand to kick it up a little at least.

There were men at the dock helping pull us out of the water.  One guy grabbed my arm and tossed me across the dock like he had just reeled in a tuna.  It kind of made me laugh.  I think he was priding himself on how far he could toss people onto the dock.  I get up and plod the 1/4 mile or so to transition on my feet that were numb at this point.  I got back to transition from the swim and there is a girl two bikes over from laid out with paramedics around her.  I didn't know what the issue was at the time but after the race was over the girl next to me told me it was hypothermia.  (Thankfully the transition was in a parking garage which made the rain so much easier to bear this day)

There were no wetsuit strippers so it took a minute to get that all peeled off - although the tuna tosser probably could have done it about a half a second... I took my sweet time in transition gearing up.  Knowing it was raining and I was planning on going slower on the larger downhills in the rain, I wanted to be as comfortable as possible in case it took me forever (which it did).  All suited up, I headed out.  As I mentioned, I had been worried a little about the climbing.  In the first mile there was a short steep climb up to the highway and that just set the pace for the rest of the ride.  There were some stretches that didn't have a lot of climbing but the stretches that did totally made up for it.  Basically, you were either going up a hill or down it for 56 miles.  The hills were nothing too crazy if you ride in and around Atlanta but this definitely would not be a PR course.  Early on in the ride, I saw several people turn around to head back to transition without finishing.

It rained steadily during the entire ride.  My hands were wet so I was having trouble getting into the bags that held my nutrition.  I was starting to get frustrated until I managed to finally get one bag open which had dates in it.  At that moment they were like the best thing I had ever tasted.  There were long stretches where I never saw another bike which made me convinced the SAG wagon was going to pull in behind me at any moment.  It wasn't until we did a little u-turn in the road that I realized there were quite a few people behind me which give me a little pick me up.  After what felt like way too long, I pulled back into transition.

The RUN:
I (again) took my sweet time in transition.  As I was putting on dry socks and shoes and body glide on my feet to prevent blisters, two girls rolled in and announced that they were turning in their chips as they had no interest in continuing this any longer.  At that point my shoes were on and I headed back out into the rain.  (The shoes were dry for about 10 feet).  As I was heading out, there were a lot of people picking up their bikes and gear and heading home.  I assume they were all the Olympic racers but at the time it was kind of a bummer like I was dead last in this thing.

As I got out of the parking garage, I realized I would be puddle jumping the 13.1 miles.  I avoided the first couple and then realized that it was pointless and just ran right through the rest.  My feet were completely soaked within a 1/4 mile.  The run was along a nice greenway area along side a creek.  Remember the picture?  Did you know when there is a lot of rain creeks rise?  Of course you did.  In addition to puddles of standing water, there were a few places along the route where we were wading through deeper water.  Three places in particular were completely flooded and we were wading through water that was halfway up our calves for stretches of 5 to 10 feet.  It was an out and back so as we were running out all I could think was whether or not we would be able to make it back.  On the way back, the water was quite a bit higher than on the way out but, thankfully, still passable.  Come hell or *ahem* high water I was going to get that medal!

About 4 miles out as we came upon a river crossing, I met up with a woman who was running about my pace.  She was slightly ahead of me and looked back as if to make sure someone saw her wading in - you know just in case she got swept away in the current.  No joke.  We started chatting about the conditions and sort of helped each other get to the end.  At that point, neither one of us were in it for anything other than to finish the race.  It was nice to have someone to chat with and take our minds off the craziness of the day.  Ann Marie is training for IM Lake Placid in July which will be her fourth IM.  We made our way to the finish and crossed the finish line side by side like we were best friends (which at that moment, I think we were...).

In the end, my race time was a personal worst but the experience was a personal best.  I could have turned in my chip and stopped racing several times throughout the day but the thought never crossed my mind.  I knew I would be more proud of myself for finishing than for giving up.  To be sure, I earned my medal this day!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Here we go...

This weekend kicks off the tri season for me!  This year I actually have a tri season...  the last two years I built up to two big races at the end of the year and that was the end of that.  Season opener and ender all in one month.  It feels odd to have such a large race this early in the year.  Tomorrow I will be making my way to Knoxville for the Rev3 Half Iron.

I would say I am feeling unprepared but in thinking back on my other races, that seems to be the way I ALWAYS feel so I won't bore you with those thoughts. Let's just hope that my feelings of unpreparedness work out as well as the other times :)

Truth be told, I am a little nervous about this race.  It is hillier than anything I have attempted thus far.  I guess you would call that a challenge.  I think the nerves of just fear of the unknown.  Plenty of people have told me the race is harder than most so at least I am not going into it completely naive.  My plan is to just take it as it comes.  I am not trying to kill any PRs, I am just trying to enjoy the day, finish the race and set myself up with some confidence for the rest of the year (I hope!).

In other news, I signed up for my A race of the year this week.  I had been thinking about it off an on.  Right after B2B last year, I thought I might do B2B again but then part of me wanted to at least try an IM branded race.  I was thinking about it.  Lord knows it is hard to get into these races these days.  I thought about going down to Florida to volunteer and register seemed so far in the distance.  Did I mention I don't want to deal with shipping my bike?  So that means everything has to be driving distance.  Enter Louisville.  I have heard mixed reviews on it.  Who I am kidding...  I have only had one person tell me they loved the race.  All the others have horror stories about the heat.  ....and then it happened.  A rainy day last Sunday saw me parked at my PC hitting the register button.  Spur of the moment?  Yep.  That is how I roll and I cannot wait to get to Louisville!