Thursday, January 31, 2008

Checking In

Life's been throwing a ton of curve balls at me lately. Can't really get into much detail in this venue but I can say a) thank God for training and b) when they said Ironman was a life-changing event, they weren't kidding. The training has been the only constant in my life. I crave my workouts since I rely on them for stability. I can count on my swims, bikes, and runs. I feel better afterwards and I can sleep at night because the training makes me too physically exhausted to care about the racing stream of consciousness in my head. By the way, I've discovered the secret to PRing in workouts: have a huge stressor going on in your life. Nothing like going hard to work the steam off.

Workout Snapshots:
Saturday: 72 mile ride with hills; threw in Torrey Pines at mile 70 for kicks.
Sunday: 14 mile run at base pace; started dumping rain at mile 12. I love running in the rain. It was raining so hard, I had to run with 1 eye closed to keep my contact from falling out!
Monday: much-needed day off and 1 hour massage. Ahhhh!
Tuesday: hard 5 mile tempo run
Thoughts were racing through my head. The only time my mind is quiet is when I run. My footsteps felt like I was chasing time. Trying to stay in each moment with each step. Life is nothing but fleeting moments strung together like a weakend spider-web. I chase after each moment in a futile attempt to catch them, slow them down, or make sense of them like a butterfly net with holes. I am trying to put reason into randomness. Everything is transient, in a constant state of flux. Running helps me to stay in that transient instance of time for just a little longer, savoring the sweet taste just a little but more.
Wednesday: 1 hr time trial swim; 3400 meters. I loved it. I found a rhythm and swam. I enjoyed feeling each arm turn over, catch the silky water, and reveled in the power of my stroke beneath me as I glided through the water. I got a swimmer's high. I wanted to stay there forever. I actually asked the coach if we could do 90 minutes next time. He gave me a really weird look.
Afternoon bike--I got in an easy 24 miles with a stop at B&L so Torch could get some much needed TLC. The ocean was turbulent after the recent rains, full of movement from opposing currents and a deep, troubled blue. My emotions matched the waters and comforted me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Train Hard, Recover Hard

Taz--expert on recovery.

My Ironman training has been going incredibly well, as of late. Social life, other hobbies, family life, work, anything else--has all been suffering, but that's to be expected. Afterall, I'm training 16 hours a week. But I'm loving every minute of it. I've never in my life been able to train this hard without feeling overtrained. Why? The answer is: recovery.

Recovery is equally important to training. Training breaks the muscles down and recovery gives your body the rest it needs to come back stronger. In the beginning, it takes less to tear your body down. More rest is needed, and you need to be very conservative to avoid injury or illness. Of course, none of us do this because we are all type-A triathletes. All of us have suffered from injury, illness or overtraining at some point (including, gasp, me). So what has changed?

1. Gradual Adaptation:
I have slowly been increasing my volume and miles over the last 4 years. Yes, years. It takes that long for the tendons, bones, ligaments, and other tissues of your body to be able to adapt to a gradually increasing training load. Each year, I assess how my training and racing went, how much time I spent training, and I plan no more than a 10% total increase in volume for the following year (to a point--I don't think I'll be increasing in '09 after such a high volume for Ironman AZ in '08).
2. Listen to Your Body:
Seems simple but so hard to do. When I feel tired, run down, or sick, I take extra time off. I try not to be a slave to my training plan. I try to be flexible. I'd rather be 10% undertrained than %1 overtrained for an A race. Your body is an expert at sending you early cues--muscle cramps, tightness, a cold, fatigue. If we listen early on and take a day of rest at these first signs, we can avoid long periods of rest forced on us later when more serious illness or injury forces us to the sidelines, missing key races and causing significant fitness losses.
3. Days Off & Recovery Weeks:
Rest is just as important as training. It cannot be stressed enough. I mix easy training days with hard ones. I take 1 day off each week and every 4th weeek of training, I reduce overall volume by 30-50%. The fluctuations in my training intensity and volume allow me to feel fresh and recovery quickly, giving me greater fitness gains in the long run.
4. Sleep & Nutrition:
The more you train, the more sleep you need. I make sure I get 8-10 a night. Sometimes I take 2 hour naps too. I also make sure I eat a lot of healthy, balanced meals several times throughout the day to feed my body. People are always asking if I'm pregnant because of my insatiable appetite. Nope, it's the Iron Beast! I don't question it. If I want to build muscle and strong bones, replace my glycogen stores, and maintain a strong immunity, I need to make sure I'm getting all my calories and nutrients. Bring on the steak and smoothies!
5. Stretching, Yoga, and Massage:
The balance of these 3 things helps loosen up tight muscles and prevent injury. The foam roller is an amazing invention--sheer mix of medeval torture and miracle cure. I stretch daily, do Yoga 1-2x/week and get a deep tissue massage 1x/week. The results have been amazing.
6. Physical Therapy:
All of us have biomechanical issues that predispose us to overuse injury, especially with running. A knowledge of your body and how it moves is critical. By combining a tailored stretching and weight program for your weaknesses, you can correct these issues before injury develops.
7. Weights:
Although running, biking, and swimming hits most of the major muscle groups, adding a short weight session to your program 2x/week for 20-40 minutes can be amazing for hitting the parts we miss, specifically the core. It also builds endurance, strength, and speed that will help get you through the tough miles as well as prevent injury in the long run.
8. Properly Fitting Equipment:
Running shoes that have been fitted to your feet, custom orthotics, a bike that has been fitted to you by a professional--all of these things are critical to success, especially at higher volumes. Make sure your shoes have no more than 500 miles. I actually change mine out at 250; it helps immensely. I also get my bike fitted every 3-6 months because my riding style, body, and position are constantly changing and needing little tweaks.

All of these little things add up to the larger equation--adapting to heavy training loads. For more specific info, check out the links to some previous posts on Overtraining and Yoga for Triathletes.

Good luck and happy trails!

1. Overtraining/Recovery
2. Yoga

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon Review

I saw Spirit of the Marathon tonight, a documentary about the trials and tribulations of the Marathon. For those of you who missed it, there will be an encore in select theaters on February 21st. It was wonderful! The movie covered age groupers to elites, Boston hopefuls to 26.2 virgins. I really felt the emotions as the filmmakers followed Deena Kastor and select age groupers through training for the Chicago Marathon. As I heard the stories the runners told, I was reminded of my own personal reasons for signing up for Ironman Arizona. I remembered my own personal highs and lows. And it hit me......I'm going to be doing an Ironman in April, a little over 2 months away!!!
As the runners lined up at the start, I felt my heart beat faster and the blood drain from my limbs. I was nervous just like I get when I line up on the start. And when runners hit the wall at mile 20, I was reminded of just how low the lows get during an endurance event. When the finish line appeared, I actually got a little choked up! I think I will probably cry when I cross that finish line in April. I'm in the thick of my training, and the forest gets a little lost in the trees at times. This movie forced me to take a step back and appreciate what my training means and how exciting this Ironman will be in April. For anyone who needs a little motivation during the long, cold winter months, this documentary will do the trick!
And for anyone who is wondering what I will be doing on 2/1/08--this is what the Chicago marathon website read:
Registration for the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will open February 1.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How to Lose 5 lbs in 3 Days (Not Recommended)

This is an addendum to the previous post (how to go on a cruise). Turns out, I get massively SEASICK on cruiseships. So my R&R weekend turned into a "lose those extra pounds fast" weekend. I spent 72 hours either throwing up or doped up on Dramimine. Could this be the "new" weight-loss cure?

Friday, January 18, 2008

How to Go on a Cruise--Amateur Tri Girl Style

My reaction to a free cruise Jason's job offered us was atypical for most but pretty normal for a crazy triathlete training for her first Ironman.

Phase 1 (Denial)--Flat out refuse that you will go on the cruise.

Phase 2 (Anger)--Bitch and moan that you will be missing too much training.

Phase 3 (Bargaining)--Take a little extra time off work and wake up extra early the morning you have to leave to squeeze in a "short" 50 mile ride. (Since when did a 50 mile ride become short?)

Phase 4 (Depression)--Cry when you realize you have to leave your bike at home. (Poor Torch will be lonely! You mean I can't see him for TWO ENTIRE DAYS?!) Cry some more when you are not allowed to bring your wetsuit so you can practice some open water swimming alongside the ship. (Afterall, we're going to be IN the ocean. It seems almost ridiculous NOT to go for a swim, doesn't it?)

Phase 5 (Acceptance)--Change your training schedule so that cruise weekend is a recovery week. (Good thing since it looks like I missed my last 2 anyway). Rearrange your training so you get your key workouts done earlier in the week. Call ahead and make 100% sure that the cruise ship does, in fact, have a gym with weights and a treadmill. Pack accordingly (running shoes & shorts, swim suit, goggles cap (just in case), Yoga strap, foam roller). I may not have a ton of clothes and make up but boy, those running shoes and foam roller sure take up a lot of space!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why I'm Still an Amateur

I've received some very nice comments from fellow bloggers, inquiring as to why I still call myself an amateur. Even though I've been doing triathlon for 4 (short) years, I'm still an amateur. I will always be an amateur. I want to emphasize that I still have a lot to learn and am continually humbled by other great triathletes around me who serve as role models.

I don't do triathlons because I want to win. If that was the case, I would have quit as soon as I moved to San Diego. Let's face it, I'm a goldfish swimming with the sharks in a big ocean out here...I don't have a prayer. But I'm quite happy to be a solid, middle-of-the pack, age grouper. I dare say we even have more fun back there. I do triathlon because I love it. The training, the racing, the people I meet, the experiences I have, all of it. I love learning new things about myself and my body and constantly striving for personal improvement--physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I have come a long way since my first 5k. I hope that the experiences I write about on my blog can help teach and motivate others out there who were like me 4 years ago, believing it was impossible that they could ever do a triathlon. That they would never, never, ever, do an Ironman. One thing I have learned is certain: nothing is impossible.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2008 Stagecoach Century Ride Report

I rode my first century this weekend. 100 miles. That's a long trip in a car! When I told a coworker what I was doing on Saturday, he told me I needed serious help. Like a whole team of therapists to figure out why I get my jollies by riding a bike 100 miles. It was awesome! A rad group of us from San Diego made the 80 mile trip east to the start in Ocotillo to ride in the Stagecoach Century.
The route was an out-and-back along the old historic stagecoach route. I could imagine horse-drawn wagons rolling around a dirt path in the 1800s as miners searching for gold made their way west. The region was made up of a desert preserve and historical sites with mystical names like "The Well of Seven Echoes." I heard many tales of folklore from the region about ghosts of miners rumored to be running around at night. Another site was a plain with a sudden, steep drop-off of several hundred feet. I could picture tribes of Native Americans chasing herds of bison off the cliffs.

We were blessed with perfect weather. I was relieved. The year before, a storm had come through, bringing gray skies, winds, and 30 degree weather...the entire ride. I had frozen my toes, fingers, and other extremities completely off on that ride, and I had only gone 50 miles. This year, winds were calm, skies were blue, and the temps rose into the low 70s. Purrrrfect. I didn't even need arm warmers! In January!
First off, this ride was fully supported by tons of cheerful, eager volunteers, all in good spirits and amazingly stocked aid stations. Every Port-a-Potty had toilet paper (important). Some even had soap, water, and paper towels! Tons of water, electrolytes, sunblock, HED (electrolyte/calorie drink), cookies, PB&Js, candy, Cliff Bars, and my all-time favorite....Red Vines. Yea!
We started from the Ocotillo Rec Center (a gravel parking lot with a small shack) and started riding north. I couldn't figure out why we were working so hard to bust out a meager 13 mph when it hit me. Oh, right. False flat. I remember this from last year. The whole way out is a mix of false flats and hills. Dammit! I hate false flats. I would much rather just climb and work hard the first few miles to gain elevation than eek it out and suffer little by little over a long time. Oh, well. I just hunkered down, let the fast guys go, and chatted with Dean, who thankfully, decided to hang back with me.

We hit the first aid station and regrouped briefly for some water (my Perpeteum mix was too thick and nasty--I found straight water much more appealing) and Red Vines. We still were enthusiastic, smiling and in good spirits. Very cogniscent of the world around us. We took a few pics and headed on our way.
(Dean, Brent, me and Bob at the first stop).

We descended down Sweeny's Pass, a 500-foot drop in about 2 miles with some awesome views and wicked switchbacks. I loved the breather but was wary of how hard that would be on the return at mile 90 to get back up. The false flat quickly returned afterwards but I felt fresher after the aid station and the descent. I buckled down and went to work, focusing on an even pedal stroke. I took in the view of the expansive desert, opening up before me, dotted with cacti and tumbleweed. Ranches sparsely dotted the road with horses giving us strange looks from their corrals. I breathed deeply, savoring the smell of fresh hay.

After some more Red Vines and water at the next aid station, we prepared for the major climbing, waiting for us at mile 35. We passed the Butterfield Ranch General Store, the turn-around for the 50 mile ride. I felt a surge of energy as I kept going, chartering new territory. I remembered how cold, windy, and miserable it had been the year before and reveled in the gentle sunshine.
(Dean, Jason (not my Jason), Brent, Bob, and me, ready to go after refueling at the 2nd stop).
(admiring the desert views; before having to shake sand out of my shoes!)
I looked up and saw the Campbell Grade stretching up...and up....and up...before finally twisting and spiraling and snaking up out of sight. I gulped. It looked steep. I was going to climb 1600 feet in 3 miles."Okay," I thought to myself. Getting up this hill was a task that had been given to me. And I was going to do it. That was that. We started climbing. Dean called out, "This is steep!" I nodded because I was gasping too much to say much other than, "Yeah." I stood up out of the saddle to climb. Got into a rhythm, slowly but steadily inching upwards. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest rapidly like a hummingbird. I sat in the saddle and pushed to recover. Then, during the steep part of the switchbacks, stood to climb again. I rotated standing and sitting. Standing and sitting. Just when I became worried about climbing at that grade for 3 miles, I reached the crest. I hooted and hollered. I had been expecting another 2 miles of that! A cyclist resting at the top gave me a bewildered look. I eagerly ate up the false flat that stretched before me after that.
We reached the turn-around shortly after that and began heading back. I was elated. The worst of the climbing was over and all of those false flats would now be false downs. I was looking forward to that. Plus, I had been eating and hydrating well and felt fresh. Bring it....

(Bob, Dean, me, Brent, & Jason at the turn-around. Are we there yet?)

The lunch stop in Shelter Valley at mile 58 came flying out of nowhere. We stopped, and I realized I was ravenous. Those Cliff Bars and Blocks get old after awhile. We wolfed down our Subway sandwiches, chips, and iced tea.
(Lunchtime! Don't you love the eating pics? Jason is thoroughly enjoying his sandwich.)
I got back on Torch and continued on in high spirits. I began to believe I could actually do this thing. Before on the false flats, I had noticed every ache and pain, especially in my ass. I had to fight the negative thoughts some and block out the pain. Now that I was over half done and going downhill, I could really hammer and soar. Pain? Gone. Doubt? Nil. Energy? Yo! I had no more ass pain. It had disappeared. Why is it when conditions are tough, we focus on every little problem but when conditions are favorable, all of our problems disappear? This is a mental game--totally and completely.
The desert had changed again, fickle beast that it is, and the northerly winds were now blowing from the south. In addition, the winds had picked up speed. So a gentle headwind was now something I had to work against a bit. Not too bad but enough to sap my energy a bit. I hunkered down in the aeros and went to work, using the gentle descent to my advantage. It was now 1:30 in the afternoon, and the sun was beginning to dip behind the mountains, casting long shadows onto the desert. Following the shadows came a deep, unforgiving chills that, combined with the winds, motivated me to work just that much harder to stay warm. It seemed like the sun was setting and it was only a little after noon!

I soared down the Campbell Grade, leaning around the switchbacks. Wicked adrenaline rush. That rejuvenated me a bit. We stopped to regroup at mile 75. We all seemed a bit fatigued and were eager to keep going. Get to the finish. I noticed we were taking fewer and fewer pictures. Too much extra effort. I wolfed down some more Red Vines and a "Who's Your Daddy" energy drink. The caffeine worked on all of us. We jumped on our bikes and took off. Brent took off in the lead, chanting "Who's Your Daddy?" repeatedly. I hammered (a bit more slowly), enjoying the caffeine rush. I felt great. I was maintaining a steady, comfortable pace of 18 mph after 75 miles. I looked back and realized I was pulling 4 people. I was honored. Other cyclists thought I was fast enough to pull! "Yeah! Who's your Mommy?" I thought to myself.

After pulling for about 10 miles, Bob switched off and I drafted, allowing me to recover right up to the base of Sweeny's Pass, the final big climb at mile 90. I remembered soaring down this at the very beginning, not worrying too much about getting back up. Now, with tired legs, it seemed almost impossible. Almost. It stretched before me for what seemed like an eternity. The winds whistled through crevices in the mountains lining the canyon, and in my hazy state of mind, I eerily remembered that ghosts of miners were rumored to be running about. Every now and then, I swore I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Of course, when I turned to look, nothing was there. The "Who's Your Daddy" kick was officially gone. Fatigue had set in, and I was close to having a religious experience. A vision quest.

I saw cyclists in front of me walking their bikes and groaning and panting. I resolved to be stronger than that. I focused on my pedal stroke and rhythm and began climbing the steep grade. Up out of the saddle for the steep parts, down in the saddle to recover. I was happy I could still get up out of the saddle at mile 90. Plus, it felt good to change positions and give my sore ass a breather. It felt good to pass the other cyclists. Not only was I a masochist, enjoying my own personal suffering but I was now a sadist too, taking pleasure in the pain of others, using their pain to fuel me up the hill. I felt bad but at least I didn't feel that bad. Maybe I'm a bitch to admit that I felt this way but there it is.

We got to the top, and the view below was spectacular. "Look at the view!" Bob and Dean called out. "Yup. Very nice. Very good," I panted, evoking a chuckle from them. It was wonderful but I was tired and wanted one thing and one thing only right now. To reach the finish. I was worried if I paused or got of my bike or stopped pedaling, I wouldn't be able to start again.

(spectacular desert view at the top of the grade)
The final 9 miles were all downhill. Dean called out, "I could do this all day. Wait a minute. I have been!" We realized we were going to make it. I stared at the computer as it reached 99.99 and cried out victoriously when it flipped over to 100. We had made it! 100 miles. 5,000 feet of climbing. Not too shabby. I felt happy, tired but victorious.
(my bike computer at the end of the ride (includes ride to the car). We made it!)
(Okay! Let's stop taking pictures and go home. I'm ready for food and bed!)

It couldn't have been a more perfect training ride for Ironman Arizona. I got really good practice for the kind of mental tricks I will need to pack in my bag on race day. I also now realize another important piece of information....Ironman is going to be a really, really, really long day. It didn't really hit me before. It hit me on Saturday when I finished the century ride at 4:00 pm. I won't be starting that marathon until late in the afternoon when the sun is setting. Wow. Good to know. I'm glad I know that now and won't be surprised on race day.
After I got home, I went straight to bed. I was fast asleep by 7:30 pm and slept for 12 hours. I felt well-rested and not too sore when I got up Sunday morning. That afternoon, I was even able to go for a good, solid 8 mile run in Mission Bay. I was happy with that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Checking In

I can't believe how quickly time is flying by. The holidays, our new apartment, the AHA fellowship (which I submit tomorrow; triple YEAH!!!)...throughout it all, somehow, I've still been working out. And it feels so good. I've hit a rhythm and my workouts help me through my busy days, instead of wearing me out. For the first time in my life, my body is absorbing the large volumes and times without wearing me down. I may still be slow but my endurance has vastly improved, and I feel stronger. I guess this training stuff does work.

Saturday 12/29:
90 mile ride--Last weekend, I rode the train up to Anaheim with a small group, and then we all rode our bikes back. The computer read 90 miles when we returned. I was stoked. That was my longest ride. Ever.
Sunday 12/30:
11 mile hilly trail run--We started in Kit Carson Park and ran around Lake Hodges in Escondido. It was beautiful. I love running in chilly (50s) weather. It took me awhile to warm up (my legs were tired from Sat.) but after 5 or 6 miles, I felt sooo good. It kind of snowballed. I couldn't believe I felt good, and it just made me feel better. Ended the run feeling like I could've run another mile.
Monday 12/31:
Weights and pool swim--Did a workout from "the Book" (Swim Workouts in a Binder). I love that thing. I could swear I'm getting faster in the water!
Tuesday 1/1:
40 mile hilly ride--Kicked off the New Year with 5,000 feet of climbing ("The Great Western Loop") in East County. The views were incredible, the descents were fast (42 mph, baby!), and the company couldn't be beat. What more can you ask for? I actually was sad when the ride ended.
Wednesday 1/2:
Pool Swim and Track Workout--The pool swim was hard (fast middle distance sets--from "the book" again) and the track workout killed me. Talk about feeling the burn!
Thursday 1/3:
37 mile ride--took me awhile to warm up but after I did, I felt great! I have discovered I am a "slow starter." I always feel like crap the first 30 minutes of any workout. Then, it's like a switch is flipped, and I feel great. I pick up the pace, feel strong, and the workout feels easy. What's the deal?
Friday 1/4:
Pool Swim and Easy Run--took it a little easier on both workouts. Yes, that's right, folks. I swam 3 times this week!
Saturday 1/5:
2 hour ride on the trainer--rained all day. Did a tough Spinerval DVD for 80 minutes followed by 40 minutes of spinning to old Tour de France clips. I really missed my long road ride. :(
Sunday 1/6:
13 mile run--I felt so good on this run. The rain stopped just long enough for the run. Tons of people showed up to run with us. I felt strong and ran like I could go forever. I love those days. Then, I crashed that afternoon. Guess that was a long run. Forced myself to go to afternoon Yoga. Guess what? It helped make me feel better. Oh, right.
Monday 1/7:
2900m Masters Swim--It was raining and dark for my first masters swim workout of the year. I swam at my first-ever 6:00 am workout (I'm not a morning person). And it was fine. We did lots of 100m repeats. Was I really swimming 1:50s for my base pace? Clock must've been off. Great to get it over with and not have to rush afterwards. Only thing is...I crash by 9:00 pm like a little kid. Relished in my 6:00 pm massage. I was SO tight! Slept like a baby that night. This was my "off" day.
Tuesday 1/8:
am Bike on Trainer and pm Track Workout--am workout was tough. felt sluggish but got it done. Another "Aero Base Training" Spinerval DVD. Ugh. The track was so crowded tonight. Gotta make room for all the New Year's Resolutions folks. It was motivating for me though. Plus, it was freezing. More motivation to run fast. There were a couple of moments I become lost in the floating movement of my feet, gliding over the surface of the track. That's why I do this....

Monday, January 07, 2008

Look Ma! I have leg muscles!

Gotta love those track workouts!
1 mi warm up
0.5 mi strides
3x1 mile timed repeats (descending)
1x400 easy b/tw each mile
1 mi cool down
Total~6 mi

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What we do in San Diego the 1 Day a Year it Rains

Brent and me on the trainer the 1 day a year it rains here in San Diego. Long rides on the trainer suck!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2007 in Review

Phew, what a year! I like to wrap up each year with a thorough analysis. In addition, I like to compare my season to the previous one to check in and see how I'm doing.

In 2006, I had just moved to San Diego and was getting back into shape after falling off the wagon (or is it "on the wagon"?). Anyway, I focused on sprints and Olympics that year and did waaay too many races and not enough training.

In 2007, I moved up to the Half-Ironman distance for the first time. I kicked off the season with CA 70.3 in late March--my first-ever HIM. It kicked my butt. It didn't help that I entered that race completely overtrained and with a nasty sinus infection. Even though it was a tough race, I signed up for IM-AZ for April of '08 the following week. What was I thinking?
Afterwards, I refused to rest and began training for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll marathon in June. In mid-April, I finally realized my sinus infection had become chronic, and I had to bail on the marathon and focus on becoming well again. After 6-8 weeks of rest, multiple doctor visits, antibiotics, and Prednisone, I was ready to start training again. This brings us to June.
After only 4 weeks of training, I raced Camp Pendleton International and had my best-ever Olympic triathlon. I PR'ed and felt great, despite being out of shape! This was a great lesson to learn. After a few more sprint tris and 5ks, I buckled down and signed up for the Soma HIM in Tempe at the end of October.
My training for the 2nd HIM went much more smoothly. I improved on my swimming and biking and maintained my running. I didn't overtrain and felt energized and confident going into this race. The San Diego fires happened the week of this race, threatening to dash my plans. Relentlessly, I made the trip out to Tempe, despite the fires and the heat wave AZ was having. I raced my 2nd HIM in 97-degree weather...and had a blast. I PR'ed on the swim and bike and had my slowest half-marathon time ever but was happy to finish and felt strong at the end.
I could have been miserable but chose to stay positive and had a wonderful experience. I also learned that it's okay to slow down sometimes in order to finish. In addition, although you will have low points in a long race, they will pass if you can just wait them out. These lessons were much more valuable to me in preparation for an Ironman than if I had an easy day and PR'ed.
All in all, it's been a busy and challenging but awesome season. I am 8 weeks into my IM-AZ training plan and right on schedule. I feel strong and confident. I know '08 will be even better than '07. And '07 will be tough to beat! Thanks to all for your unwavering support and motivation through my inevitable ups and downs over the year. Many more to come!

Okay. Now here's the data analysis:

2006 Total Miles

2007 Total Miles

I trumped '06 in all 3! I doubled my swimming, doubled my biking, and increased my running. No wonder I'm getting better in the water and on the bike!

2006 Total Weekly Time

2007 Total Weekly Time

In 2006, an 8-10 hour week was a lot for me. 10-12 was too much. In 2007, I became accustomed to 8-10 hour weeks and was even able to handle 10-12 hour weeks. With a stronger base, I can absorb more training. A definite jump UP! (Note the sinus infection in '07, which caused a drop in training weeks 17-21).

All in all, a great year. IM-AZ, here I come!