Monday, January 29, 2007

Benadryl-induced fog and 3 lbs of chocolate

I am living proof that half-ironman training dampens your immune system. Last week was supposed to be a well-earned R&R week. Jason promptly came down with a really nasty cold Sunday night, spelling disaster for me later that week. We actually tried to do an ocean swim last Sunday, after our half-marathon but had to call it quits when Jason, shivering uncontrollably, turned blue. Immediately after that, he got a headache and sore throat. Great.

Monday and Tuesday were planned rest days. Wednesday, I started having cold symptoms, just as Jason started feeling better. Thursday, despite my fatigue, headache, and sore throat, I bike commuted to and from work and included a mile walk to run an errand at lunchtime. Normally, this would not count as a workout but my virus took it out of me. By Friday, I surrendered to the bed and spent all of Friday and Saturday in a Benadryl-induced haze.

Sunday, we showed up for our weekly group run. We ran 6.75 miles around Mission Bay. It was the hardest run I have ever done. Maybe since, hmmm, Oct. 8th--the last half marathon I did, when I had a, hmmm, cold. We had signed up for an open water clinic at noon. We showed up and begged the coach to defer to his next clinic. He took pity on us and agreed and we eagerly went home to bed.

Monday (today), I'm back at work but feeling groggy and in a haze. I can't stop sneezing! My head is a balloon. Ugh. I hate being sick. Meanwhile, I feel, irrationally, like this last week has completely ruined my fitness plans. I hope that thought is what I think it is...irrational. I'm slowly going to start easing back into workouts this week. Hopefully, by next week, I'll be back to where I left off. Stupid cold. Stupid undergrads at UCSD, who gave Jason this cold. Ugh. Meanwhile, while my immune system is depressed, my appetite is not. I have gained 3 lbs of chocolate since the cold encounter. So this week I resolve to begin a healthier eating regime and stop succumbing to the wiles of my lagging metabolism.

Keep healthy out there!

Pics from the Carlsbad Half Marathon--last weekend (before the cold)

Monday, January 22, 2007

How NOT to run a half-marathon

1. Friday before the race, do a killer am masters swim.
2. Because, obviously, this isn't enough, do a very zippy 10K run that evening. Add some fartleks in there for good measure.
3. Saturday, the day before the race, bike 56 miles.
4. Make sure you have a good head-wind and some hills after the turn-around to really give yourself a challenge.
5. Wake up late so you have to rush to the start the morning of.
6. Get stuck in traffic trying to park and end up having to park a mile away from the start, 10 minutes before the gun goes off.
7. Sprint the mile to the start and jump into the crowd, muddling across the mats.
8. Spend the first 3 miles pushing it to try and catch up with your running buddies, who you know started before you.

Despite all this, I had the most awesome race. Actually, it was the easiest half-marathon I've ever done. OMG, did I just use the word "easy" and "half-marathon" in the same sentence? Don't ask me how that happened.

There were over 6000 people registered for the race. In spite of the hectic beginning, I actually did run into my running buddies at mile 3 (Jason had already taken off in front)! After this, we settled ino a nice, slow, relaxed pace for the next 7 miles, averaging about 10 min/mi.

At mile 10, we did a reality check. I felt GREAT! What? Huh? My running buddies told me to go on ahead. I took off after that. For the next 3 miles, I felt like I was flying, light on my toes. I surged up hills and charged down them. I gradually accelerated, and when I heard there was only 1/4 mile left to go, I sprinted. I surged down the chute (which always gets a lot of support from the spectators--bonus) and crossed the finish.

2:05 was my final time. Not my best, and I definitely wish it was a little better but I felt SO strong throughout. I know I could have done the whole thing faster, and I could have gone longer. I'm very happy with this because it felt so easy. I've never had that happen before. I've been training so hard and feeling pretty fatigued. This was the last thing I had to do before starting an earnest week of R&R. Now, I really feel like I earned it.

I took it easy the rest of the afternoon. I actually feel pretty good today. Not too sore and not any more tired than I have been on previous Mondays after a hard weekend. I guess I was ready. I feel caught up with my appetite. My weight has gone up a bit but my body fat has dropped and my clothes fit the same so I think it might be muscle weight (sure explains the strong feeling uphill).

The one thing I can't figure out is why I feel so wasted after my long bikes but so good after my long runs. This seems very counter-intuitive to me. Why is biking so hard and running so easy? Even when I do bricks, I feel better 1 mile into the run, than I do at the end of the bike. Maybe I'm just a runner at heart.

After this week, I think I'm going to keep the volume the same since aerobically and distance-wise, I'm there but try to work on adding back some speed and strength. I guess this is why they call that the "Build" phase. So that's what I'm going to do: Build.

Here we are after the half-marathon in Carlsbad yesterday. Post-race, pre-breakfast phase.
Left to right: Jason, me, Julie, and Mie Mie
Jason rocked this race in 1:45 (no fair!).

This photo was taken last weekend during our freezing-cold bike ride at the Wells Fargo Stagecoach Century in Ocotillo (Anza Borreogo Desert). As you can tell, we were both pretty cold. Jason was a lot happier after I gave him my booties.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Internalizing the time demands/constraints of training & TIPS!

Last week was soooo good. I can't believe how much I did. However, I have 1 last week of Base2 training before I get an R&R week. This week has been tough.

Sunday, after all our activities, I actually felt well enough to clean the apartment and catch up on errands. This earned me a "veg out" day on Monday, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Tuesday morning, we dragged ourselves to the pool for our masters swim workout, which is continuing to kick our butts. I was just happy I could complete the workout in the 90 minutes allotted. I ended up swimming 3500 meters! I've never done that before. After some "free swim", where I logged an easy 500 meters, we did 200m steady at base pace or -5 (x4). Main set was 200 IM easy (fly-back-breast-free), 8x100m descend, 200 IM easy, 16x50m (descend every 200m), and 200 IM easy. I was pooped!

Tuesday night, I couldn't convince myself to do an evening workout so I watched American Idol. Wednesday morning, I didn't get up to do my early morning bike so by Wednesday evening, after my much-needed deep tissue massage, I felt panicked. It felt like I had missed 2 days of workouts! I really want to put out a solid effort this week so I can go into next week really feeling like I earned an R&R. So I went home and eeked out a tough 20 mi/90 min trainer session, which seemed really painful, followed by a 4-mile treadmill brick. Funny enough, the run felt easier than the bike, especially after the first 1.5 miles. Feeling pumped by then, I finished the session out with weights before calling it a night.

I had been starving and ravenous all week, eating everything in sight prior to this workout (and cranky too--shooting coworkers giving me odd looks for shoveling massive quantities of food down my throat the evil eye). Odd thing was that after the workout, I wasn't hungry at all. I was craving chicken noodle soup with milk. Very strange. I hate soup! It was divine.

My tough Wednesday night left me exhausted Thursday morning. I opted for an extra hour of sleep in place of my masters am swim. Ugh. Now I'm beating myself up for that decision. However, I will still get in my masters swim tomorrow morning so I won't miss anything. There is still a good chance I can complete all the workouts planned for the week and keep on top of work and errands. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm really starting to reach that glass ceiling where the demands of work and life put a limitation on the hours for training. Especially when you factor in all the eating and sleeping that needs to be done to recover properly (the 4th and 5th discipline?). Triathlon isn't just running, biking, and swimming. Each workout has to be planned, including changing, packing all the equipment, and showering and stretching and warming up and cooling down. You have to follow a plan and log it afterwards. You have to include weights as well as proper stretching and Yoga. You have to do massive amounts of sleeping and eating. It really does become a lifestyle. There's so much involved with it. There's only so many hours in the day, and time really starts to run out, no matter how efficient you are. I'm really starting to internalize this. I'm not complaining. I actually think it's kind of like 1 big experiment, where I'm testing my body and seeing how it responds. I'm just acknowledging that it's demanding in ways I didn't expect. Definitely time consuming. I can't imagine doing this with a child or a large family. Kudos to those of you out there who do this AND have a family. I don't know how you do it!

This weekend, we're doing the Carlsbad Half Marathon ( on Sunday. I'm pretty excited. I feel solid going into this race. We've done 2 10 mile runs and 2 12 mile runs in the past 4 weeks. No, I'm not tapering. This is a training run. Should be kind of interesting. I'm really looking forward to this run. However, after this, I get to R&R!

And now:
Random Triathlon (& Life?) Training Tips
from an e-mail sent out from our tri club
By Don Norcross
6:25 p.m. January 11, 2007

1. Mix it up.
"Don't run the same pace all the time. Even if you run just three times a week, twice a week stop in the middle of the run and do 10 repetitions of 20 seconds fast, maybe on a grass field. Do that twice a week and you'll keep up your leg turnover and speed, keep the tissues elastic and prevent a lot injuries, and allow yourself to get faster on other runs." – Kevin McCarey, running coach, former 2:13 marathoner
2. Posture on hills.
"When running hills, shorten your stride as you start uphill and try to keep the same turnover rhythm as on the flat. Your posture should be upright. Head, shoulders and hips should form a straight line over the feet. Keep your feet low to the ground and if your breathing begins to quicken, this means you're either going too fast, overstriding or bounding too far off the ground." Paul Greer, head coach, San Diego Track Club
3. Log your miles.
"One night years ago when I was baby-sitting (playing host to) Henry Rono in Boston over dinner, Henry stressed the importance of keeping a training log. And, according to Henry, when he was fit his entries were very detailed, and when he wasn't that almost didn't merit a mention. He'd simply note the mileage. My point is, regardless of whether you're up or down, log it, even if it means writing a big fat zero. And perhaps later, reflect upon it. After all, consistency is key."– Dave Dial
4. You get out what you put in.
"Running well is about doing it day in and day out. The great thing about running is people who work hard will improve. If you just run every day, even if it's beginning with a quarter mile, then half a mile, you will get better and you will get faster." – Tamara Lave, two-time marathon Olympic Trials qualifier
5. Pay attention to your breathing.
"If you don't have a heart-rate monitor, pay attention to your breathing. Aerobic runs should be done so neither the rate nor depth of breathing is elevated. A very slight amount of elevation is proper for tempo runs, but the breathing should return immediately to normal on cessation. Any rapid or increasingly deep breathing should be reserved for speed workouts." – Peter Stern, age-group runner
6. LSD (long slow distance) works! (I hope so).
"I have heard this many times from different people, but I never trusted it. For marathon training, do the long runs slow and easy. I finally did it in training for the Orange County Marathon last year and I managed a personal record, at age 57. Long slow runs, not very sexy, but I do think it works." – Mike Castaldi, age-group runner
7. Train with a group. (This definitely works for me on those long, lonely runs and bikes).
"Find a fun, supportive, friendly training group that travels as a group to marathons. The support and friendship keeps you motivated, disciplined and focused on the common goal. It makes all the difference for those often dreaded lonely 3- to 4-hour long runs. Training alone, my first marathon was 4:45 but by training with a group I shaved off 1 hour 32 minutes in three years and ran 3:13 to qualify for the Boston Marathon." – Greg White, veteran marathoner
1. Get lessons from a coach. (Definitely a must).
"Have a professional help with your swimming. You'll have fewer mistakes to correct later."– Ron Marcikic, head coach, director/UCSD Masters Sports Program
2. One coach taught me, "glide or feel yourself slipping through the water; don't pull against it."
"Think propeller, not paddles. A propeller moves laterally in the water by generating lift along an arc of circumference. That's what you want your hands to imitate. You don't want to imitate a paddle, like paddling a canoe." – Kevin Eslinger, swim coach
1. Mix it up. (Hmmm. A theme here.)
"Don't just ride long and push a big gear. Learn to be efficient in all gears, at varied cadences, with accelerations and jumps and changes in speed. Mix it up. Try spinning on the flats in the small ring, powering up the climbs in the big ring, sprinting in a small gear, isolated leg training up a hill. Be responsive to the terrain and reactive with the bike, using multiple gear-shifts, riding in and out of the saddle, keeping your momentum rather than bogging down over the climbs. This will provide maximum muscular efficiency and translate to greater speed with less effort." – Marci Mauro, triathlon coach, personal trainer
1. If you follow only 1 rule on race day, this is it:
"Never use anything in a race, that you have not used in training. This includes nutrition, clothing, and shoes."– Emilio De Soto, former pro triathlete
1. Set goals and plan on how to achieve them.
"Set fitness goals with dates attached to them for extra motivation. Whether you want to bench 200 pounds by St. Patrick's Day, run for 30 minutes straight by Easter or complete an Ironman triathlon on August 26th, having a date circled on your calendar that will give you the extra push to go to the gym." – Jessica Motyl, age-group triathlete
2. Listen to your body. Take care of it!
"Give back to your body as your fitness increases and you keep demanding more and more from it. Nourish it with non-processed, close-to-the-ground food; lengthen it by stretching after hours of training and muscular contraction; baby it with rest and relaxation – and it will give back to you 100-fold." – Marci Mauro
3. Ditch the "all or nothing" attitude. Every little bit counts.
"Realize setbacks are a normal part of exercise. If you schedule three workouts each week and only make it to one, that's still 50 workouts this year. Adopt a this-shall-be-no-matter-what attitude. No matter how busy you are, you make time to shower and brush your teeth. See exercise the same way." – Jerry Hoskey, personal trainer
4. "Try something new. Do you swim? Try paddleboarding. All the fitness and non-impact benefit of swimming with the social and sensory benefits of cycling in a car-free environment. Do you ride a bike? Try mountain biking. Do you run? Get off road for a trail run." – Paul Huddle, triathlon coach
5. "Get a dog. Rescue shelters are full and you'll not only get unconditional love and emotional support, but the world's most committed and consistent walking/running partner." – Huddle
6. This one seems simple and obvious but no one does it:
"Listen to your body, if you are injured, rest!"– Corinne Theile, age-group triathlete
8. "Try to get out there and do something active each and every day. Even if it's unrelated to your sport or if you don't feel like doing it, do it anyway. You always feel better afterwards and are glad you went." – Cory Osth, age-group triathlete
9. Again, ditch the "all or nothing" attitude.
"Too many people are intimidated by the effort, intensity or duration of the exercise plans or training session for the day. They come home tired from a long day, or if they are an early-morning exerciser, they're addicted to the snooze button. They feel they're too tired to possibly get the workout completed. Therefore, they feel failure is imminent, and don't bother to even start or try the workout. Instead, people should focus on just getting out the door. When they come home tired, or struggle with getting out of bed, focus on just getting out the door. Don't think about anything beyond that. You won't finish 100 percent of the workouts you don't start. Most people, when it comes to exercise, they get out and realize it's not as hard to complete the workout as they originally thought." Jim Vance, pro triathlete and coach
1. Eat the right kinds of food.
"It is not so much the percentage of calories from fat and carbohydrates as eating the right kinds of fat and carbohydrates. The right kinds of fat are high in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils, walnuts, flax seed oil and soy) or monounsaturated fatty acids (peanuts, olives, avocado, soybeans). The right kind of carbs are 'unsugarlike,' that is, they are metabolized slowly and do not lead to peaks and valleys in blood-sugar levels. Such carbs are found in legumes, unrefined wheat products, brown rice, whole grain pasta, soy-based foods, and high-fiber foods." – Dr. Neil Treister, medical director, Sharp Cushman Wellness Center
2. Make sure you're eating enough.
"As the adage says 'It takes calories to burn calories.' Keep calories slightly below initial maintenance so metabolism and energy levels remain high during exercise and daily activities. Giuseppe Virzi, 24 Hour Fitness manager
3. "Work on controlling your environment to support your goals instead of focusing on self-control. There's higher chance of success. Keep low-calorie foods in reach. Keep high-calorie foods out of sight." – Leiter
4. "Include protein in your breakfast. It will help you keep your energy the entire morning. And stay hydrated!"– Corinne Theile, age-group triathlete

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cold and Long = Tired and Hungry

We've had freakish weather in San Diego. While the rest of the nation has had an unseasonably warm winter (50s in Wisconsin in January), San Diego, apparently, hasn't heard that global warming is sweeping the nation. Instead, we've decided to go through a mini-SoCal ice age. For those of you in the rest of the world, you can all sit back, point, and laugh right now. However, for those of us who pay good money in the so-called "sunshine tax" to enjoy the warmth SoCal has to offer (besides the ocean and the sunshine, what else does SoCal have besides expensive housing, pollution, crowds, and traffic?), I feel I deserve a refund! It's getting below freezing at night (lows around 30), which is simply ridiculous around here.

Saturday, we had signed up for a 50 mile bike ride in the Anza Borreogo desert, 80 miles east of San Diego, in a very small town of 400 people called Ocotillo (the Wells Fargo Stagecoach Century t-shirt included!). Despite waking up to 30-degree weather, I figured since we were going to the DESERT, it would warm up considerably. We hauled out all our winter-weather biking gear--for San Diego. We arrived in long bike pants, jerseys with arm warmers, windbreakers, gloves, and skull caps. I had shoe covers, as well but would lose them on the bike, which is another story.

It was overcast and dark when we started. Oh, and windy. With the windchill, it was 32. As we warmed up, my teeth stopped chattering, and I could feel my core temperature rise, but my extremities (skin, toes, hands) remained cold. In addition, we were going verrrrry slowly, and I couldn't figure out why. It looked flat, I didn't feel a strong headwind and yet I could barely manage 13 mph. WTF? I was sore from the week's workouts but I didn't think I was THAT tired. Everyone else was going pretty slowly too. Turns out, we were biking on a false flat (actually going up but looked like it was flat) with a slight headwind; how weird is that? My senses were all out of wack.

Jason was absolutely shivering beside me. He kept complaining about cold toes. We were both very cranky because of the cold. At the first rest stop, 12 miles down the road, we stopped begrudgingly; we almost never stop that early into a ride. However, we were suffering. I made him take my shoe covers because I decided I would rather suffer from numb toes than listening to him gripe about how cold he was. He took them begrudgingly (my word of the day), and I blew up b/c he wasn't more grateful, threw the car keys at him, told him I wasn't going to bike with him anymore, and sped off. 5 miles down the road, we realized we were just cold and cranky and taking it out on each other. We called a truce because it was much better to suffer with someone than to suffer alone.

The rest of the ride was much more pleasant. We were still riding at an agonizingly slow pace for apparently no reason but decided to focus on the next rest stop instead of how far we had left to go (or worse, how far the century riders had to go). At the 2nd rest stop, we were in pretty good spirits, although still cold. My toes had gone numb but they didn't bother me (they can't bother me if I can't feel them!), and Jason seemed happier with the shoe covers. Other riders were huddled inside people's RVs and the local general store for warmth. I knew if I did that, I wouldn't be able to get back on the bike. I stuffed myself with Red Vines and PB&Js. I was ravenous. I had already had a large handful of Gummi Bears b/tw Rest Stop 1 & 2 as well. Plus, my fluid had Carbo Pro in it. I couldn't believe how many calories I was taking in. The cold was making me absolutely voracious.

We headed back and the wind instantly started blowing freezing cold shards in our faces. However, we must have had a tailwind, despite this perception because we were absolutely cruising. Going back was fun because we were booking it with seemingly little effort. We took turns pulling and averaged about 25 mph the whole way back. 2 hours out, 1 hour back. Go figure.

We didn't linger for the post-race pasta party because all we could think about was getting warm. We jumped in the car and cranked the heat. I slept the entire way back, waking only to tell Jason my order at Mickie D's. I was so HUNGRY. I stayed awake long enough to stuff down a Big Mac, large fries, and 8 McNuggets (chased with a tall glass of milk, dark chocolate, and Milanos) before lapsing into a coma that lasted several hours. When I awoke, I didn't think I was hungry, until we dragged ourselves to Whole Foods to pick up a "small" dinner. This ended up being a large salad with all the fixings, 4 BBQ chicken wings, 1/2 baked potato with cheese, a large piece of cornbread slathered with butter, and some fruit. Then, as if this weren't enough, I baked brownies. And, yes, of course I licked the bowl. (Actually, Jason and I fought over licking the bowl like 2 dogs fighting over the food dish). Oh, I also ate a box of Red Vines during the movie we rented. I was just ridiculously hungry. I've never been that hungry before in my entire life. Seriously.

Sunday, we dragged ourselves out of bed for a 12-mile run. I ran with my running group and took it slow and easy. It was actually lots of fun. It started out in the mid-30s but warmed up to the 50s very quickly so it was pretty pleasant. Plus, I can run in any weather; you just generate so much heat anyway. Afterwards, we all went out to breakfast so I had my "social" time. I've spent the rest of the day napping.

Tomorrow is my day off from training. Obviously I need it. I'm pretty beat and sore. This completes my hardest week EVER. 114 miles on the bike, 24 miles of running, 6000 meters of swimming for a total of 14 hours (not including weights). I'm tired and sore but I think I'll recover quickly. 1 more week of Base 2 and then I've earned an R&R week.

What I learned this week: Biking long in cold weather makes you eat like a cross between a goat and starved hippomatus. Also, training for a long race with one's significant other is not a good idea because base training makes one very cranky, thus, creating 2 cranky people who live together. Not a good combo.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

When to hold 'em/when to fold 'em

The 12 weeks of training behind me has been solid. I've been able to put in the hours and miles without injury, thanks to having the right equipment, having a good base coming into this, and knowing my body.

It's weird to feel like I'm adapting to 10-12 hours of training a week. I'm getting to the point where I feel like I could do more. That's weird. Not yet. Not yet. I want to be fresh for my workouts so they're of good quality as opposed to ramping up the volume even more and slogging through them.

It's hard to have a rest day on Monday because I feel like I'm playing catch-up the rest of the week. After my epic masters swim Tuesday morning, I was pretty beat. I decided to take the evening off. Yes, it feels like time off now when I skip an am or pm workout vs a 1-a-day workout. When did that happen? Also, it's easier to wake up by 6 or 6:30 am now, although I also like going to bed b/tw 9:30 and 10:00 pm. When did that happen? I've been a night-owl all my life.

Because of my well-timed rest, I felt fresh yesterday. We logged an early morning 10K run at a very strong pace. I was able to maintain a sub-9 min/mile pace throughout, despite the 3 mile uphill return on trails. Still, it's my favorite run. Plus, I like running in chilly weather (40s). My legs were bright red by the end.

Yesterday evening, I tried a "Turbo Session" with the tri club 2 blocks from my apartment. I hooked up my bike to a trainer and we duked it out for 80 minutes. It was great to have a tri-specific workout with a coach on the trainer. I couldn't cheat with the gears like I do on the Spinerval DVDs (they're so crazy, I always end up giving up and doing my own thing). He had us push larger gears at a slower cadence to build muscle. He also advocated doing this on the road to gain speed. I was a bit skeptical since this is completely opposite to my riding style and also what I've heard is good pedaling strategy on the race course (low gears/high cadence=fresher running legs off the bike). Although I still hold to the classical dogma of low gears/high cadence out on the road, I do agree that in order to get stronger (a.k.a. faster) on the bike, I need to push a bigger gear to build muscle (some of the time). I was actually surprised at my performance. It was tough, and my quads were screaming but I could do it. I had a great workout. I went home and finished it out with weights (for core and upper body). I didn't have to do any squats, that's for sure!

This morning, the alarm went off at 6 and we were due in the pool by 7:30. Both of us were sore and tired. We both decided to skip it. Guilt and consistent-early-rising roused me out of bed at 6:30 am. I started to get ready. I knew I could do it but I also realized I was tired. I weighed the pros and cons and went back to bed. We decided to move our swim until tomorrow morning. Hence the title: You got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. This morning, I folded. I'm still going to get the workouts I need to get done for the week. However, I think I'll end up being fresher because I will have recovered better. It's hard to know when your body is being lazy and you need to push versus pulling back and resting more. I've been pushing so much lately, I decided it was time to pull back and er on the side of caution. Then why do I feel so guilty?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Training Overview--Last 12 Weeks

Can you believe I've finished 12 weeks of trainig for this half-ironman already? I'm feeling much more confident in being able to finish the distance. Now I just want to continue building my base and getting stronger.

One thing that has been frustrating is to watch my speed die. I've been steadily getting slower and slower. It's so hard when I show up to group workouts, and I'm the slowest person there (and it's everyone elses 1st workout since the off-season!).

Here are my stats for the past 12 weeks:

Basically, I think I'm right where I should be as far as my plan goes. I'm training a total of 9-12 hours a week, with 3 workouts in each sport, plus weight training. I've actually been able to complete the workouts I set out to do, which is, in my mind, incredible. I'm biking between 80-90 miles total/week, running 20 miles, and swimming ~5000 meters. My long bike is 40-45, my long run is 12, and I've done a few long swims of 1900 meters to "test the waters" (bad pun). So it's coming together nicely.

I've definitely noticed that since I started phase II of base training, I'm more cranky. Most of the people I train with are much faster and have better endurance than me so I get depressed at how hard I'm working and how slow I feel in comparison. Then, I remember that I'm only beginning my 4th year of triathlon, and I've only done some Olympic tris and a few half-marathons so this is still new to me. When I put it in perspective of where I am and how far I've come, I realize I'm right where I should be. But it's so hard not to compare myself to others. I'm just so sick of being the slowest person at club workouts.

On a more positive note, I've had some stellar workouts these past few weeks. I'm feeling less tired after my killer weekends and am recovering faster. Plus, it's easier for me to go to bed early and wake up earlier. Sleep and nutrition are definitely key. So are massages and stretching. And wearing the orthotics in the right shoe (another story). I'm also taking in more fluids, calories, and electrolytes on the bike and somewhat on the run. I can drink 1 large water bottle on a 40-mile bike with Elete electrolytes added, plus 1 scoop of Carbo Pro (which I'm hoping to boost to 2 scoops and 2 water bottles by race day on the bike). I'm supplementing with salt tablets (1-2), fat-free Fig Newtons (~5), and Cliff Blocks (3-5), which ends up totaling about 300-500 calories. I think calorie-wise, this will set me up really well for the run. Then, on the run, I'm drinking water + Elete but haven't felt the need for calories. I know I should but my stomach can be so finicky...

After my stomach bug and returning from Nor Cal, I decided to resume training that weekend, even though it was technically an R&R week. I ended up doing an invigorating 40-mile ride Saturday with a cycling enthusiast friend of mine. His "recovery" ride was my long, exhausting workout ride. But it was good. Sunday, I got talked into doing a long run and we ended up going 10 miles. But we went very slow, and I didn't feel trashed at the end. Actually, my long runs make me feel kind of good afterwards.

Last week was the first week of Base 2. I hit it pretty hard but finally felt like I was hitting my stride with the workouts. What did me in was a 30 mile bike Friday morning, followed by a 40 mile bike Saturday, and a 5-mile brick run. I was pretty beat on Saturday night. We did a 12-mile run on Sunday, after which I took a very long nap. By Monday morning, I actually felt pretty good, surprisingly. Go figure.

This morning, we started our formal masters swim program at UCSD. 7:30 am, baby! I know, that's kind of late for masters swimming. The coach was really awesome. He put me in a lane where I fit right in speed-wise. The workout was very fast-paced and invigorating. He watched me this time and told me we'd work on my stroke next time, which I desperately need b/c I've gotten slower on the swim too, and that's just ridiculous! I told him I want to become more efficient. I think he's just the guy to help me do that so I'm pretty stoked about it.
Our workout was:
WU: 500 free
Main: 200x4
(1st/3rd 50 bilateral breathing; 2nd/4th stroke)
100x4 descending (base time)
50x4 stroke (rest 10)
100 kick hard (rest 30)
(repeat 3x)
I wasn't able to do the last 100 kick but finished everything else for a total of ~3500 meters (most awesome).

Gotta go home and get in a session on the trainer!

Monday, January 08, 2007

My two left feet

I had the ultimate "blond" moment last week. Jason is still shaking his head and wondering how someone with so much education can be so dumb sometimes.

My knees had begun to ache on runs; a sure sign that I needed new running shoes. So even though the shoes only had 280 miles on them (I can't even make it to 300!), I dutifully picked up a new pair. Brooks Adrenaline size 10A, which I've been wearing for years. I took out the insoles and put in my orthotics and took off for a track workout.

I eeked out painful mile repeats. Mile repeats are always painful but today was particularly so. I figured the extra cushioning of the new shoes was making them uncomfortable but they seemed really uncomfortable. Painful actually. And lumpy. I couldn't figure out why they were so lumpy. Maybe they just needed to be broken in. Still, I didn't remember my feet hurting so much the last time I broke them in. Plus, I couldn't figure out why I was running so slow on the track when I was exerting so much effort. Despite the blister I developed on my arch and my pinched, numb toes, I eeked out an 8:15 min mile with all my might. Satisfied, I called it quits, forgoing the recovery mile afterwards due to my sore feet.

Saturday, after my 40 mile bike, I put the shoes back on for a 5 mile brick run afterwards. My body was pretty tired and my feet were kind of numb at this point so even though the shoes were still lumpy, I didn't really care. I just wanted to get the workout over with.

Sunday, we were driving to Penasquitos Canyon for our 12 mile long run. I had taped up the blisters on my feet and was wearing my lucky socks but was dreading the run in my new lumpy shoes. I took a careful look at the shoes. Yes, they were the correct size. I removed the orthotics and examined them carefully.

"Jason, are these in right." He looks at me and then the orthotics and then me again with a raised eyebrow.
"No!" he chortles in amazement. Yes, that's right. I had them in the wrong way. The left orthotic was in the right shoe and the right orthotic was in the left shoe. All that arch support was on the outside of my foot, in a stability shoe, making me a super-supinator. I had logged 2 runs in the shoes with the orthotics in the wrong way, including a gruesome track workout. I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't injure myself.

I slipped the orthotics in correctly and put them onto my feet. It was like Cinderella and the glass slipper. Luxurious. I've never been so comfortable on a 12-mile run before in my life. It felt like butta.

Maybe all this training is killing my brain cells. Maybe I'm not as hydrated as I thought I was. Maybe I'm not getting enough rest. Better go take a nap to be sure. Definitely my brain-fart of the week. Glorious.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Curse of the Flats, & I've Been Tagged!

First off, I think the tire gods are angry with me. The last 3 times I've ridden, I've gotten a flat, albeit a slow leak. AND, 1 of those times was on the trainer, and 1 of those times wasn't even on my bike (my dad's)! Luckily, they've been slow leaks so they haven't interrupted my rides. I've checked the tire very diligently and found nothing (of course). Let's hope 3 times a charm!

Qcmier tagged me so here goes:

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

6th Edition

"The crystallographic structure of the MHC class II molecule shows that it is folded very much like the MHC class I molecule. The major differences lie at the ends of the peptide-binding cleft, which are more open in MHC class II molecules than in MHC class I molecules. The main consequence of this is that the ends of a peptide bound to an MHC class I molecule are substantially buried within the molecule, whereas the ends of peptides bound to MHC class II molecules are not."

I know. Fascinating.

Now I have to tag 3 people:
1. Tri-Bunny
2. TriSaratops
3. JT's Tri Spot

Dolphin Swim

No, I don't mean the kick you learn how to do to accelerate off the wall in the pool. I mean actual dolphins.

Monday, I meant to wake up early to do the annual "Polar Bear Swim" at La Jolla Shores. When my alarm went off, however, I was not ready to get up. I was too exhausted. I'm not sure why; I hadn't even gone out the night before but I definitely wanted sleep. So by the time I got up, it was too late for the group swim. Despite the fact that Jason was gone, I decided to go it alone. I needed to swim, all the pools were closed, and I was in the mood. So I got my gear ready, took a deep breath, and headed toward the shores to brave the 58 degree water.

It was a bit windy so there was a little more surf than I expected but nothing bad. I was surprised how quickly I acclimated to the water. I didn't feel that cold to me. Those weeks of getting in the ocean must be paying off. After warming up, I settle into a nice rhythm. I felt actually kind of speedy, thanks to the wetsuit. I kept having to swim farther out because the tide was low and the waves were breaking pretty far out. I still was only in 8-10 feet deep water when I heard this strange whistling and clacking. Disoriented, I stopped and looked around to see who it was. All of a sudden, this gray fin swims past me. Then, I could clearly see gray, shimmery bodies, eyes, and faces, belonging to a pod of about 8 bottle-nose dolphins! I couldn't believe how close they were to me! I couldn't reach out and touch them but they were only a few meters away. Incredible. They seemed to be showing off and in very good spirits. They wished me a Happy New Year, and I wished them the same. They arced between me and the shore before cutting out to sea again. I had felt so alone before their appearance, and I realized I wasn't alone at all. Talk about noticing the magic in my life! It doesn't take much noticing to notice that! It was an absolutely fabulous experience. I can't wait to get in again! (Only thing is, I swam over some kelp beds and I guess something scratched my neck so it looks like I have a great big ole' hicky on my neck this morning. Gotta watch out for that seaweed!)