Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ironman Louisville Week 20...

We have a bib number kids!  If you want to follow along, I will be #624 on race day.  Not sure why but knowing my number is always so exciting.  I also am happy that it is an even number as I am kind of OCD about odd numbers.  The thermostat, volume, etc. MUST always be on even numbers.  Ha ha.  No really...

... and for those of you who are following along, here is my training for last week:

Rest!  No clue what I even did that day.  Must have been some good resting :)

Bike (AM) 18 miles
Tennis - normally would not count this but it ended up being three sets of singles which went on for three hours so it merits being on the list this week!
Crossfit (PM)

Bike (AM) 15 miles
Run (AM) 5.25 miles

Run (AM) 5 miles
Swim (AM) 2850 meters

Swim (AM) 2100 meters
In my post swim hot tub which has become a Friday tradition, I ended up in a conversation with a man who managed to tell me his life history, how to can vegetables and how he came to own part of a cow so he could have raw milk (it is illegal in GA to buy raw milk...).  All of that information in just under 10 minutes.  I am not much for hot tub talk but I will say it was fascinating.  :)

Bike 103 miles - the HOT hundred!

Rest Day - I ended up driving from AL to MS and then back to GA all in one day.  The word "rest" may not be the best to describe this day.  I ended up swapping Sunday and Monday this week so I did my long run Monday when I got back from my road trip.

Coming up this week I have my final century ride before Louisville and then I start sliding into taper mode!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The (not so) Hot Hundred...

In preparation for Louisville, two main thought processes have been top of mind.  One, I need to ride more.  Check, and double check.  I had five hundred mile rides going into the Hot Hundred and one more this weekend.  All those miles have to help for something...  Right?  Right????  The second thing is to prepare for the heat.  Louisville is notoriously hot.  It isn't a matter of whether you can travel 140.6 miles on race day but more a matter of whether you can do it in hot and humid conditions.  When I signed up I figured heat training would be no big deal - I live in Atlanta.  It is both hot and humid all summer long...  and by summer I mean from at least May through September.  I got this heat thing.  And then the weather got weird.  It is has been raining way more than usual.  It is has been 5 to 15 degrees cooler than usual most days this summer.  There have not been many hot days to be found.  (which admittedly is something I normally would not complain about!)

Enter the HOT HUNDRED!  This ride started in Tuscaloosa, AL at the University of AL.  Ever since I registered, I had been getting updates from the ride organizers letting us know what to expect.  Misters at the finish, icy towels at each stop, one even mentioned shaved ice at one rest area (yes, please!).  All in anticipation of HEAT.

I loaded up the car Friday night and headed to Tuscaloosa.  It is about 3.5 hours from home so a little far to drive over the morning of the ride.  I was actually kind of excited because you gain an hour traveling into the central time zone which meant an hour more of sleep!  (Yes, I love my sleep!).

Ride morning, I gathered my things and checked the weather.  There was a rain shower kind of hanging out to the west of us and then the temps were forecast to be mid-70s for most of the ride.  What the what?  I had brought the cool weather with me....  If we are being honest I wasn't too disappointed as it really was perfect riding weather!

I met up with my friend Keith in the parking lot who is also doing Louisville.

The ride started off at U of A and then headed out into the country.  Lots of farmland and country roads which I love.  (assuming said country roads aren't bumpy in which case I don't love them quite as much).

 Keith I rode together for a lot of the ride but he is a bit faster than me so we would get split up when he went into Tour de France mode.  On one such occasion, I found myself pedaling along by myself (so I thought).  I went to dodge a pothole then glanced back to the right to move back over out of habit and there was a line of 3 people behind me drafting off of me.  Weird (and creepy) how they can tuck right in behind and you have no idea they are there.  The first guy asked me what I was training for, complimented my pace and then got over to the side at which point I hit a bump and launched not just a water bottle but the whole water bottle holder off the back of my bike.  I knew something was wrong by the feel (and the way the others were yelling "mechanical" as they kept going - they were just using me for my pulling skills - no need to stop folks, thanks...  ha).  I pulled over thinking it was the rear tire but was thankful when I realized it was the rear water bottle holder.  The bracket was completely gone so there was no way to reattach.  I left it and moved on.

We were worried it might be a little sacrilege to lean our bikes on the church sign.  At least we didn't lean them on the cross that was at one of the other stops...  That would have been bad form.

I can't pass up many cow photo ops.  Inflatable or otherwise.

Funny story...  Keith and I were discussing what would go in our special needs bags and he mentioned he wanted a little poster of a wet cat hanging on a limb that said "hang in there".  LOL.  Of course, I forced him to pose with this cat inspirational poster at one of the stops. (of course now that I look at the pic, that is actually a raccoon.  Don't tell Keith.)

As for the rest of the ride, it was mostly uneventful....   High marks for the shaved ice!!

I went for lime.  There were about 15 options including some unusual ones like Wedding Cake and Tiger's Blood.  

Keith (304) and I discussing whether we should turn off our watches for the shaved ice break...  We decided to pretend it didn't happen then saw this photo later in the official photos.  LOL

I will say the rest stops had a Christmas in July theme going on which was lost on us until someone explained it.  We showed up at one which was going for Hawaiian Christmas with grass table skirts and Christmas music.  All the rest stops were top notch and well stocked.  The ride was one of the best organized I have seen.  There were plenty of SAG vehicles, the volunteers and the route were great.  If you ever are looking for a long ride in the middle of July I give this one two thumbs up.  :)

First century where I was awarded a medal!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

This ain't my first rodeo...

Louisville will be IM #3 for me so you think it wouldn't be a surprise.  Everyone talks about taper madness as being hard to deal with but I have no issue with tapering.  I welcome the couch time.  The period of time in the training plan that gets me is the 4-6 weeks before the race.  You are peaking with running, biking and swimming and have time for almost nothing else.  I had been in a crazed frenzy of feeling like I have too much to do this week.  It took me a minute to put two and two together on why this week seemed crazier than most.  Oh yeah.  It is peak madness.  (You like that phrase?  Feel free to use it...).

Peak madness is when you are reaching the brink of insanity.  During the week, you are logging 3-4 hours a day working out and another hour or so preparing to work out (getting the gear together for the next day in my case) all while trying to maintain all the other activities in your life such as making meals, washing the ever mounting piles of clothes and paying the bills.  We won't even talk about how many hours are occupied with swim/bike/run on the weekend.  You feel like you don't have time for one more thing.  Nope, no time for lunch with friends.  Just the thought of penciling in one more thing makes you crazy.  ....and then just like that it is over and you are into the taper.

It seems like the Ironman process has several phases.

PHASE ONE is the excitement of registering.  Your heart pounds as you fill out the online questionnaire.  It pounds even harder once you click on REGISTER.  There is a brief moment of "oh my why have I done" which quickly fades to excitement as you tell the world on FB what you have done.  No need to worry about training right now, I have a WHOLE YEAR for that.

SIX MONTHS pass and while you have been dabbling in the art of swim/bike/run, all of a sudden you realize your race is six months from today and you better get this thing in gear.  One a day workouts quickly morph into two a day sessions.  You leave the house early, you get home late.  Once you get home you pack the bag to do it all again the next day.

THREE MONTHS out and a little panic sets in.  The race is still comfortably in the distance.  I mean, three months that is FOREVER, right?    At this stage you are comparing your training to everyone you know which doesn't always help as every training plan seems to be so very different.  You obsess a bit.  Am I doing enough biking?  Maybe I could fit in one more century ride...  (ahem)

TWO MONTHS out and things start getting real.  Your weekend workouts of long rides and runs are occupying the entire weekend.  Your clothes, even washed, sort of stink of sweat.  Maybe I *do* need that Go Soap stuff for my workout clothes.  Pretty much every load of laundry contains more workout clothes than you would have previously thought you could have worn in one week.  

ONE MONTH!  Peak Madness.  I think I got this.  Did I train enough?  Let me google other participants and compare my training again.  Better yet, let me obsessively compare my training from the past two years to my training this year.  

ONE WEEK out you have the excitement of packing and creating lists until your little OCD head wants to explode!  Is eight tubes going to be enough?  How many tacks could there be on the road anyhow ?!?!  :)

... and then you get to RACE DAY.  You would think you would be nervous but somehow you are not.  You stand there at the start listening to the various speeches and songs.  You take a deep breath and just feel a sense of calm.  No biggie.  Just a really long training day.  The horn goes off and so do you...

I am almost there!  In case you are wondering, I have already compared my training to everyone I know as well as my own from last time.  I don't know why but I always feel like I haven't done enough when I get to this point.  Looking back at old training is great reassurance for these times of doubt!  Four more weeks and I will be breathing in and out feeling calm ...  and ready!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ironman Louisville Week 19...

ONE month to go!  This week was a little "off plan" in that I chose to participate in some testing at Crossfit.  Basically it was 5 day session of performance testing to see where we were on various lifts, exercises, etc.  It may not have been the wisest choice considering I have an IM looming but I loved every exhausting, sweaty minute of it!  

The interesting thing about Crossfit is that while, yes, it is giving me some much needed strength it is also a great lesson in learning to focus on yourself and not worry about what everyone else is doing or thinking.  It is SO easy to compare yourself to others there.  I might be lifting 65 pounds for something and the girl next to me is doing twice that amount.  In the beginning it was hard not to feel overwhelmed or that maybe I wasn't doing the various things correctly.  After a few sessions, you just learn that everyone is too busy working on their own things that they aren't giving you a second thought.  You just let it go and do your thing.  (and if my form really is that bad, a coach will come over and straighten it out...  ha ha)   A life lesson that I really need to carry with me outside of Crossfit!  

...  and on to training:  

Crossfit (PM)

Swim (AM):  2700 meters

Bike (AM) 25 miles
Crossfit (PM)

Run (AM):  5 m
Crossfit (PM)

Bike (AM):  30 miles

Run (AM):  10 miles
Crossfit (PM)
Crossfit (PM)


One of my tennis teams made playoffs so I had a playoff match Saturday morning.  If you don't win you are out of playoffs (if you do win, you play the next day).  We did not win so I took the rest of the day off instead of trying to cram in a short ride which was the plan had we won.  Let's just say I wasn't all that disappointed in the loss...  ;)

Bike (AM):  50 miles  Part of me thought I should ride a little more but then again with all the extra activity from Crossfit I tossed in this week, the other part of me decided to call it good at 50 miles.  Know when to say when!  

This weekend I have another century ride.  I am headed over to Alabama as century rides in July are few and far between in the south!  Way too hot!  I am excited about this one as it seems to be well organized and a lot of fun.  I'll try to actually have pictures next time :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ironman Louisville Training Week 18...

We are into the thirties now....   39 days!  Funny how these things seem so far in the distance one day and just around the corner the next.  

I am trying to remember even what I did last week.  Clearly it was QUITE memorable.  Or not.  Actually now that I think back I was having one of those mentally down weeks.  Nothing in particular but just EVERYTHING seemed to be gloom and doom.  Perhaps it is the ridiculously rainy weather we have had lately.  They are calling Atlanta the Seattle of the South - something like 40 inches of rain this year.  Craziness.  I had thought getting acclimated to the heat for Louisville would be a no brainer in GA over the summer but it has been oddly cool here lately.  So strange.  (and even stranger that I would sort of complain about such a thing...)

I am having a lot of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) this week.  My tennis team is in playoffs and crossfit is doing some kind of week long assessment.  Of course I don't want to miss out on either and really have no business trying to work that into the schedule.  But I will... against all advice of the logical people in my life of course.   :)   

I rested like a champ! 

Swim (AM):  2300 meters

Bike (AM) 21 miles
Crossfit (PM)

Run (AM):  5.75 miles

Bike (PM):  29 miles

Swim (AM):  3100 meters

Crossfit (PM)

Swim (AM):  2100 meters 

Bike:  72 miles

This is where the mental downer of a week reared its ugly head.  I was scheduled to do a century ride across town.  I knew going in it would be a small ride without a lot of participants.  I woke up and headed out around 4 AM to make the trek across town.  Got to the start and checked in.  I am looking around, there are about 10 cars in the parking lot.  There was a chance of thunderstorms later in the day and knew I would be pushing it to get done before the rain (if it came at all) and with the low number of participants I was pretty certain I would be riding by myself with likely no one in sight for most of the way.  In the end, I just wasn't feeling it and I turned around and went home.  Can't be mentally tough all the time, right :)

I had just heard someone say the other day that if you aren't feeling a particular workout, just don't do it.  No one needs to be a slave to the schedule.  Of course, you can't skip them all but every once in a while when you are just having "one of those days", your race is not going to suffer for having missed a swim, run or ride.  Not even one of the big workouts.  I actually needed to hear that....  I mean some days you feel like a hamster on a wheel going from one workout to the next and when you aren't working out (or dealing with the non-athletic side of life), you are packing your bags to go work out the next day.  It was nice to sort of be given the permission to cross something off the list with no regrets.  

I ended up crashing when I got home for a few hours and then headed out to Stone Mountain where I rode many, many loops around the mountain to get 72 miles for the day.  In the end, it was a great ride for me.  I got in some climbing and plenty of miles.  

Sunday:Run:  15 miles

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ironman Louisville Week 17...

These weeks are seriously flying by...  45 days! 

This week I took off of Crossfit.  No particular reason other than the 4th of July was in the middle of the week there and got me off schedule.  I kind of treated this like a recovery week.  We have had a ridiculous amount of rain here so riding outside has been tough.  My next long ride is Saturday which is supposed to be a century.  Hoping the storms will hold off for me! 

In nutrition news...

I am still trying to hit on something that will work for race day that isn't too far removed from my daily way of eating (the whole no sugar, no grains thing).  I tried a product called UCAN a month or so ago and like the way it worked at first; however, the taste is not the best and after a couple of weeks I couldn't even choke it down.  I moved on to Infinit from there which actually worked OK but I am not crazy about the sugar content AND not crazy about how that stuff splashes all over my bike from the aero bottle and makes it a sticky mess.  

For this weekend's ride, I think I am going to go back to what I did in my last iron distance race and that is a combination of water/Nuun for hydration along with either picky bars or amrita bars and macadamia nuts.  Last October I used Bonk Breakers and these bars are similar and I like the ingredient list better.  Can you believe my first iron race I fueled with GU gels from start to finish?!?!?!  I had every flavor they made and I choked one down every 45 minutes for 13 hours.  That is a lot of GU and if I never eat another one it will be too soon.  Surprisingly enough, after all that consumption, I actually still used them up until January.  For the run leg I am planning on fueling with mostly Huma Gels which I love, love, love (but not enough to eat them for 13 hours...  just sayin)!   

Run (AM):  20 miles!  Boom.  Was so glad to get this one checked off.  I wasn't feeling great about my distance until this day so there might have been a post-run victory dance when I reached the car.  :) 

Swim (AM):  2400 meters

Run (AM):  5.2 miles

Run (AM):  6.2 miles  

This was the Peachtree Road Race.  We were supposed to be in a downpour the whole race but the clouds parted and the weather was actually nice.  I know a lot of people (myself included) had course PRs because of it.  I managed to pull off a 53:11 which is 4 minutes faster than I have done previously at that race.  Color me shocked and amazed!  
Bike (PM):  30 miles

Doesn't it look dreary?

The miracle of running into people you know at the start since there are only 60,000 runners in the race!

Swim (AM):  3500 meters 

Bike (PM):  18 miles

Tennis.  Again.  I feel bad, they keep putting me in the lineup and I keep losing.  My game just isn't 'all that' right now...   oh well, bigger things on the horizon! 

Bike (PM):  30 miles  Trainer ride.  Nothing but rain happening here lately...

Bike:  15 miles
Run:  18 miles

This workout was a bike sandwich which is actually one of my favorite things.  You run 12 miles, then bike 15 and run another 6 miles.  Unfortunately, with all the rain we have had here lately, the trail where I planned to have this sandwich was closed due to flooding.  It just seemed easier to take this indoors so all the run was done on the treadmill and the bike ride on the trainer.  CR says it builds mental strength.  I agree :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ironman Training Week 16

I think it is week 16.  Don't quote me on that...    I am diving into the harder weeks on the training schedule.  So far, so good.  The extra century rides seem to be helping out with my biking.  The only downside from all the riding is that I am getting tired of packing up all the gear for these weekly bike rides.  I have the helmet, shoes, etc. in a big plastic tub but the gathering up of nutrition, water bottles, clothes and loading it all in the car feels like its own event.  Part of the process, I suppose :)

Speaking of, IM LOU supposedly has a problem with locals putting tacks on the road as a special way of welcoming us to town.  At first I read it was one year, now am hear it has happened the last three years.  What is wrong with people??  Some racers have said it is no big deal but I have read accounts of one too many people getting flats up there that it is making me nervous.  I will be putting in some flat changing practice here and praying for no tacks on race day.  ("No tacks on race day" is the lesser known rule, right after "nothing new on race day" in the training guide...)

Monday:  Rest Day! 

Bike (AM):  27 miles
Swim (AM):  2700 meters
Crossfit (PM) 

Run (AM):  5 miles was supposed to be the long run for the week but between a storm brewing up as I was running that morning and the plumber spending the better part of the day digging up our septic lines in the yard that was all I could manage.  Fun times!

Run (AM):  5 miles 
Swim (PM):  3100 meters - straight swim!  Need to start doing this more often...
Crossfit (PM):  The amount of sweat I can generate in these sessions at Crossfit is astounding.

Swim (AM):  2200 meters - my Friday morning easy swim.  Love it.  Not sure why I think just because it is so short that it feels like a break (even though it isn't - which probably makes no sense to anyone but me...)

Bike fitting in the PM.  I had a retul fitting when I first got my bike but they never looked at my cleats so looking back, I feel like that fitting was never quite right.  Friday was a fitting with an old school biker who really knows his stuff.  We lowered the bars in front, moved the seat back and adjusted everything starting with the cleats.  I could tell a difference in power from the very first ride.  So worth it!

Tennis.  I know, what?  Apparently my tennis team was desperate for players and I obliged.  I enjoyed playing but it does require some adjustments to the training schedule.  Long run was moved to Monday.  

In other news, my other tennis team was invited to play at State which takes place 2 weeks before IM LOU.  Hmmm.  I think I will go but with the understanding that I am the player of last resort.  If no other live bodies exist, put me in coach...  (which really I am probably that anyhow - training or not.  LOL)  

Bike:  62 miles
The retribution ride!  Oh it felt so good.... 

Tomorrow is the Peachtree Road Race which promises to be a complete washout with all the rain.  At least it won't be hot!  :)  Hope you guys have a great 4th!