Monday, January 12, 2015

Training update: Midway through base phase

It's become pretty clear to me I probably will not post weekly training recaps. I'm lazy, and blogging weekly about what I have done-after uploading it to Strava, updating Training Peaks, updating my spreadsheet and dissecting it with my village (coach, boyfriend, friends) it's just another place to track information and to be honest, I just don't want to.

That, and comparison is the thief of joy. I follow a few people on Strava who are also training, and some of it inspires me, and some of it makes me feel woefully behind... really? already? I'm a mere 6-7 weeks through training, I shouldn't be feeling inferior already.  And because I don't want someone else to look at my training week and judge it one way or the other (or more unlikely, compare themselves to me.)

That said, weekly recaps aren't going to be a part of my Ironman journey. If anyone is just twitching with curiosity, you can find me on Strava and it's all there. Weekly over consumption of calories? That will be a part of it. I plan to just summarize progress and developments in each discipline (plus whatever else I feel is completely irrelevant).


Most of my swims are still at masters swim, although over Christmas break, I did a few on my own. I've been working on my rotation after the coach of masters had pointed out that I swim flat. I've asked her since, and she says it looks better, so that's something! I am also focusing on my pull through the water. I am feeling a lot stronger in the water now. Thursday we did a workout including 4x25 yard swims with 5 seconds rest at each wall. The coach gave us our total time including rests, from which we subtracted 15 seconds and attempted to hit the new time in a 100 timed swim. When I hit the wall with a 2:03 and had to aim for a 1:48 swim, I was petrified. I've swum under 2:00 for 100/yd a handful of times in the pool, and not easily. I was stunned to finish with a 1:47, and on the next go-round, improved to a 1:46. This was huge for me! The 200 yard swim next was not as well paced. However, I feel more confident in my swim and super excited that a goal that seemed completely out of my reach was possible.


I'm getting more comfortable on the trainer! Now, I don't get agitated when it's only been 8 minutes, and I have another however many minutes to go and get me off this thing right this minute not Netflix not music nothing can distract me from this misery except concocting run on sentences obviously. I can settle in and get through a ride of varying lengths without much impatience. Sort of like when you adapt to a treadmill. Eventually, it's less awful and just necessity. I'm still not sure I have it set up right though. This is my biggest (hopefully irrational) fear: that I will not do proper training on the trainer and get outside only able to ride 10mph. Speed is a useless tool on the trainer, really, and mine is all over the map. My boyfriend noted I had the flywheel pressed too hard against my rear tire, and changed it. It improved my riding, but also made the speed faster. From my experience, everyone says their speed is slower on the trainer, so having mine read faster was also unnerving (I know. I'm seriously crazy). I try to focus on cadence and heart rate, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little (a lot) concerned with this.
Keeping it real out of the pain cave. Can a girl medal in sweating? 

My workouts have been great and when I get off the bike with tired legs, I figure that counts for something. A friend is planning to let me use his power meter for a little while, so hopefully that will either affirm I am doing it right, or get me on the right track. I have been loving the workouts I get to do on the bike since the run is still mostly aerobic. I miss the satisfaction that comes with pushing yourself hard and nailing a tougher workout. I've definitely discovered the pain cave. I've ended intervals feeling like my legs literally cannot spin one more revolution and I'm not attached to them anymore. I have to grit my teeth, shut my eyes and just hang on for dear life. It's awesome!!!


Oh the run. The bane of my training for the first few weeks is coming around. I've always been a runner and in my experience, it was always about pursuing pace/distance. But pace. Pace was/is always on our minds. It's been such a huge shift to focus on a sustainable ironman run rather than my continual pursuit of 'faster and faster'. Especially when it comes to comparison. I am doing exactly what I should be, and I trust the process and the build up that I am working on. However, it's a little unnerving when other athletes training for the same race are doing much longer runs at this point. I know I am doing what I should be, but it gets in my head. That said... I've had some huge breakthroughs in my run. I'm working harder on controlling the variables that impact HR-namely, alcohol... after a mimosa laden New Year's Day, I had to slog along in frustration the next day with a high HR and slooooooooow pace.
Snowy run after a day of mimosas = Monica having an internal foot stomping watch throwing tantrum cursing MAF

 Lesson learned. I've focused more on hydration and limited my caffeine consumption a little more. My afternoon runs last week were amazing. I got to run paces I hadn't run since starting this MAF/HR zone training journey. Even my easy recovery runs are getting a little faster while sustaining a lower heart rate. There are still ups and downs to it, but it was so exciting for me to finally feel a little more like a runner than a shuffle jogger. Yesterday's long run was a little more flexible in my zones, and I allowed my rate to creep up more. Overall I still finished with a very good average heart rate, but it was nice to feel the burn of pushing just a little more. I am trying to respect the importance of building the aerobic base for ironman, while still balancing that zen feeling of running in the zone a little more.

Heart Rate:

As mentioned in the run, it's starting to pay off a little more. I remind myself constantly that I am building an aerobic machine. Especially in running. These are continually slower paces than I am used to running yet I KNOW that I am running smart for my training. The chances of sustaining this effort at Ironman is much higher than my chances of sustaining low 8 pace, for instance, no matter how bad I want to just go run like I used to. If I can create this aerobic capacity, it will pay off. I am trusting the process that I will be able to sustain a solid run if I train at the proper heart rate and effort.
Coffeeeee I love you stop making my heart beat so fast! Only the boyfriend should cause that!


ALL OF IT! I feel like I shouldn't be as hungry as I am yet, again, because I look at it like running. "I barely ran X miles today, WHY do I want to cover the couch in butter and eat it?". Just me? Anyone else? I woke up several times last night because I went to bed hungry. Trying to balance eating enough calories without overeating because I think I can have whatever I want. It's a fine line. Fortunately, I've got a boyfriend who did ironman last year and is constantly telling me to eat more (that's the dream, right ladies?!). By the time he got to the start line, he was much lighter than he probably SHOULD have been, and he's encouraging me not to do that. I may be the first athlete to toe the line without losing a pound. Not that weight loss is the goal here.

All in all...

So far so good! I'm working on writing up my 2015 goals and intentions. Training is going great, I am happy and just tired enough. I am testing out working with my ironmentor as a coach as well now. I have my trusty little book plan, but I also trust that she knows what she's doing given how HAPPY her ironman experiences have been in the past. As that progresses I'll share more of the changes from my book to her strategies. Heart rate training is still my beast to contend with, but the plan should involve MORE RUNNING YAY! And just lots of happy training and pushing my limits. Which is already happening (hello bike pain cave). All in all, it's a pretty awesome journey so far. Now if I could just decide what pair of Coeur shorts I want to purchase with my gift card (fleet foxes? Blue Checkmate?)... you know, the big decisions for training.
Get in there. Stay in there. Do all the sleeping. (Really this was just to show my mom I'd put my new sheets on the bed. Thanks mom!)

Monday, January 5, 2015


I started a 'Year in Review' type post attempting to recap the highlights of each month and got to June before I realized there was just TOO MUCH some months, and nothing other months, and I just didn't want to finish the task at hand.

So I changed my mind. No surprise there! 2014 was an awesome year. I wasn't great at taking pictures that will help my blog, but I do have pictures of a bunch of stuff I won't blog about (including, but not limited to 289180 pictures of my boyfriend becoming an Ironman, lemurs at the zoo, screen caps of text convos, and nasty sweaty selfies that nobody wants to see!)

2014 was the year I PR-ed the half marathon, finally! Not by as much as I wanted but a PR is a PR and it was hard fought. I raced without a watch, and it was as much a mental victory as anything else.

This is obviously not me actually running said race, but beforehand, with the boyfriend, who also PR-ed!
2014 was the year I won a 5k!

2014 was the year I had a BLAST racing the CDA Scenic Sprint triathlon!

2014 was the year I signed up for my first Ironman! CDA 2015!

2014 was the year we moved from North Spokane to Liberty Lake after 5+ years out there. Eastward bound!

2014 was NOT the year I met my boyfriend. But that was late December 2013 and we got to go through a lot of great experiences in this whole first year. I'll take more years with him please. 
If a man can rock a sweater vest, you keep him around. 

2014 was the year I saw everyone else train hard and race! I saw my sister run huge PRs in pretty much every race she toed the line in. My mom ran her first half marathon at 58 years old. Ben did a few triathlons and PR-ed the mile! Jordan became an ironman and kicked ass at many other races. The families that race together...

Cousins tri together

Mom the half marathoner!

Oh hey, just getting 3rd place like NBD

2014 was the year I found out I'll be a COEUR SPORTS ambassador for 2015!! I spent 2+ months anxiously waiting after submitting my application to hear the announcement and I think I had an actual joy attack (this is like a panic attack, but of excitement!) to Erin when the announcement came down. Following her is how I found Coeur to begin with (not to mention a fabulous friend and mentor in Erin herself). I swear their apparel has magical powers of feeling strong, fast, and let's face it, pretty. Because that matters (don't pretend it doesn't). When you 'feel fast' you race strong! I am so proud and honored to get the chance to be a part of an amazing team and represent company for 2015. Making the team was a huge highlight of my year.

Best. Hoodie. Ever. 

Coeur Chevron kit!! And bucket sized hat.

I can't scientifically prove that wearing my Coeur kit caused this AG win but... I'm not a scientist so it was totally the kit! 

2014 was the year that challenged me. It had highs and lows. But neither was especially high or low. It was a smooth year. There were amazing moments and memories I love. There were times I had to learn how to handle things differently than I used to, and grow more. 

It was a really good year.
Byeeeee 2014

But then, 2015 is the year they put 'Friends' on Netflix. So it's hard to beat that!