Monday, December 11, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #10

I knew this was going to happen. It's December... not only does that mean busy work days for me (this is one of the best times to work in a specialty running store - I get to help others find gifts for their running family and friends!) but it's also recital time for Reece and Nutcracker time for Riley. And then add in peak training for Dopey and it's a tiny bit insane. But I managed to do some rearranging and get all of my training scheduled out beautifully!

So what could make it crazier?!

Add in a SNOWSTORM in early December in Atlanta!

So again... a little rearranging, but it appears it's going to all work out just fine. And let me tell you, that was the most beautiful snowfall I've seen in the last 10 years here in Georgia. The flakes were big and fluffy, but the roads in our area were passable, and the snow actually lasted for a good 24 hours!

No snow when I arrived at the coffee shop to meet my daughter's boyfriend! It looked like this when we decided we should leave!
This is what it looked like on my drive home from the coffee shop! The snow was falling SO fast and it was so beautiful!
TrainerRoad on the laptop!

That is how I set it up on Thursday, but on Saturday I put the laptop on a chair in front of my bike so I didn't have to keep turning my neck. It worked much better, so I'll keep that set up as long as the trainer remains in the living room. I love how I can set up the workout, and then the pedaling triggers it to begin. I don't have to try to reach at 'start' button from the saddle. It also pauses automatically when I stop pedaling, as I discovered on Saturday when my Wahoo cadence sensor didn't get hooked up to the app! I got off the bike and hooked it up! :D

I do think I should redo the FTP test now that I know exactly HOW to do it because I think my target power is a bit low. BUT, it also works out well since my focus is on the running and cycling is just for cross training at this time. So I'm not going to worry about it until February. And the base building training plan for the half ironman might actually cue me to do the test again anyway. 

I leave 3 weeks from tomorrow for Disney... and Dopey starts 3 weeks from Thursday! I am SO excited! My MagicBand arrived on Saturday and I paid for my Memory Maker (Photo Pass - for all of my race pictures and my park pictures) and saved 10% by using a Target Gift Card promotion that my ROTE friend Stephanie told me about (and BJ had also told me about it). So I'm basically all set. The only thing that remains is the last Race Simulation. Due to our trip this weekend to see Riley in Nashville's Nutcracker, I will be starting that Race Sim on Sunday. So again, the weeks will be a little crazy, but it is OK! I'll get the training in around school and work (and Star Wars!!) and I'll get a nice two week taper! 

So far, my paces are staying where they should be and aside from some random and minor twinges, I am still feeling healthy! Praying that it continues!! 

Happy Monday, friends! Enjoy your swim/bike/running... and your resting and recovering, because that's as important as the training! :D

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #9

Well, this week seemed like it lasted a whole month! I'm going to do my best to relate everything that happened this week but I'm actually going to have to cheat and look back at the calendar to help me remember! But first, as usual, here is an overview of this week's training:

Monday - planned rest day
Tuesday - 60 minute XT (FTP test on new smart trainer)
Wednesday - 9 mile run; Pure Barre class
Thursday - 60 minute XT (lap swim)
Friday - Long Run #1 (11 miles)
Saturday - Long Run #2 (16 miles)
Sunday - planned rest day

So let's recap in case you read the thing about the Smart Trainer and you're like, "What?!" I decided to purchase a smart trainer, the Wahoo Kickr, when it was 20% off for Black Friday. Now, this may come as a complete surprise to you... but I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to the mechanical workings of bicycles. I know. It's hard to believe. LOL

So after a week I finally got up the nerve to take the thing out of the box. After another day, I worked up the nerve to take the rear wheel off my bike and attempt to put it on the fancy, schmancy smart trainer. And all I got was a clunking mess. So I called Wahoo for help and got a very nice guy on the other line who told me that my cassette would need to be replaced. So I pretty much freaked out. In the end, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth - as well as a lot of help from my local cycling friends - I ended up taking the trainer to my local bike shop and Bruce hooked me up for a really reasonable cost.

I'm going to do a Wahoo Kickr focused post once I get all of the kinks worked out so I won't go into all of the details, but I did manage to get an initial FTP test done which was pretty interesting (and exposed another problem with my bike, but like I said, I'll be doing a post just on this entire experience LOL). I think I'm going to really like the smart trainer once it's no longer smarter than I am! ;)

I also managed a lap swim this week - marking the first time in quite a few weeks that I've done both a swim and a bike in the same week. I only worked on distance and breathing for that swim. I'm just maintaining my distance so that when it's time to train for 70.3 again, I won't have to start over completely from the beginning!

What pleased me the most about this week's training was the double long runs and how well I paced them. I have let pacing get out of control for the last month or so, and I had to reign it in. I ran alone and I really kept a close eye on my watch. Was that fun? No. But was it worth it? Yes! Absolutely! I did a 16 mile run on Sunday and felt great the entire time and felt like I could do more. And that's obviously the point. I won't be going beyond 16 miles in training, because that seems to be my critical breakdown point for the marathon, but I will be doing it 3 times. I am a bit nervous about this approach, but I have done this distance 5 times now (granted, not after all of the other miles LOL) and my main goal remains to get to the starting line without being injured! And I know that the 18-20 milers are where I end up injured. It's important to note that usually by this time in training, I'm noticing a marked decrease in my pace which is not happening this time, but I would still rather be safe than sorry.

So this week's focus was "Mind Over Matter" and I was successful! I don't have a mantra, per se, for Week #10 except, perhaps, "Stay Warm" since the temps are supposed to go completely crazy midweek and for the weekend. Where it was in the low 50s for my long run on Saturday, this coming week shows the temps being in the low to mid 20s for my long run on Sunday! LOL Talk about a change! Yikes!

It's less than a month until the Dopey Challenge and I couldn't be more excited! I will be much, much more excited once I get through all of the training without being hurt! LOL

Happy Training, my friends! :D

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #8

It was recovery week this week, so of course I scheduled a half marathon and got a cold/sinus thing! LOL Would you expect anything less??

So training looked completely wonky. But that's OK!

Monday - planned rest day
Tuesday - unplanned rest day (sick)
Wednesday - 45 minute trainer ride
Thursday - Thanksgiving Day Half
Friday - planned rest day
Saturday - Pure Barre class; 1600 meter swim
Sunday - 8 mile run 

honestly, I really only missed one workout - a run. And since I ran the 13 miles on Thursday a bit harder than a training or long run pace, I'm not really all that concerned. I was able to get in a swim and a bike ride and one Pure Barre class, so all in all it was a productive week of active recovery.

Now it's time to go into the final cycle of training! :D

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon

Today, I got to do something I've been wanting to do for years: complete the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon! I last did this race in 2010, where it was my Half Fanatic qualifier. I had signed up to do it again in 2011, but then I got injured and couldn't do it. I have wanted to do this race again in recent years, but I was never able to because of my older daughter's Nutcracker schedule. So this year, now that my Thanksgiving Day would be free, I was able to do it at last - and they've added the "Triple Peach" option (Peachtree Road Race, ATL 10 Miler, Thanksgiving Day Half) in recent years so I signed up for the whole 9 yards, er, 29.3 miles.

I have been extraordinarily distracted the last couple of weeks, so I really didn't put much thought into today's race until right before bed last night. It's very unlike me, but sometimes other things just get in the way and take up space in my brain. So last night, I looked at the forecast and tried to put together a "Flat Niffercoo". Unfortunately, the temps were exactly in my "gray area" - 40/50s. Sometimes that means long sleeves and tights, other times short sleeves and capris. I really wasn't sure which this would be but since it's the end of November, I opted for long.

Flat Nifferoo - with the Run Gobble headband I've been saving since 2010! LOL
My hubby and I were both very tired and we shut off the lights at 10 PM and fell asleep immediately. I slept pretty well. I have been battling some sort of sinus/cold thing since the middle of last week and it's now to the "annoying" point so it's not affecting my sleep. The alarm went off at 4 AM because I needed to leave at 4:45 - and everything was going well until it was time to get dressed. I just didn't feel like my outfit was going to work. But I also couldn't figure out anything else. I ended up leaving 10 minutes later than I planned - and I pretty much threw on my Dark Side Challenge short sleeve shirt and a RunDisney jacket from my first Princess Half. My reasoning was that I could tie a jacket around my waist but not the vest. It was a smart choice.

Traffic was non-existent and I made it to the starting area (the stadium formerly known as Turner Field) with no troubles at all. It was chilly and I was literally right next to the Start Line, so I just hung out in the car until about 15 minutes before race time. I was also parked next to a bank of portapotties so I hit them 3 times while I waited. This is where having a cold worked in my favor - all but one of the potties were out of toilet paper but I had brought a box of tissues with me! WOOT! Right to the front of the line! LOL

I met up with the other folks from Run Group who were also doing the Triple Peach and we took a picture at the start:

Niffer and the "A Wave Posse"
These guys are all crazy fast - Wave A - and I nicknamed them Posse because Michael on the left is throwing up the 'gang signs' for the running store where he and I work! LOL Shameless Plug: if you live in the Atlanta area, please come see us at Classic City Running in Buford near the Mall of GA!

I was in Corral B for this race, which was pretty good. I wasn't planning on a fast race because I just did a Race Simulation this past weekend (later than usual due to the cold) and I haven't been feeling my best. I lined up towards the back of the corral so as not to be in anyone's way, but the course was still fairly crowded. There were a number of times during the entire race where I had to skip my walk break because it simply wasn't safe for me to stop running and there was no place for me to get out of the way to walk.

I started out at what I felt was an 'comfortable' pace, and this is where it's getting to be a bit of a challenge. What feels comfortable is faster than what I'm expecting. I'm not totally sure how to handle it. I really do not want to push and get injured, so I'm not sure if I need to slow down to the expected pace, or if it's truly OK to accept this new 'comfortable' and just go with it. I will see how I feel over the next several days. I don't have another long run until next Friday and Saturday's double long runs, so I have plenty of time to recover. If I feel especially achy the next couple of days, then I know that I need to train by time. This will also give me a good idea about how to pace the half marathon during Dopey, because I don't want to be out there on my feet more than I have to - so if I can go a little faster and still recover well, then I will do that.

I felt like this course was a bit easier and less hilly than the 10 miler. There were definitely a few decent hills, as one would expect for a race in downtown ATL, but it wasn't anything overwhelming. I saw my friend Debbie volunteering at the mile 6 water stop, and my friend Shawna cheering for her team and for her fiance' in Piedmont Park. But that's all the people that I saw that I knew. And I knew a ton of folks running this race! I thought that was kind of odd!

With running so many downtown races this year, I found that I actually sort of knew where I was! Like, I knew the road leading into Piedmont Park, which was great because that's where Debbie's water stop was so I knew to be looking for her soon. I do wish I had stopped to take a selfie in Piedmont Park with the skyline in the background. I'm not even sure why I didn't do it. I am a dingbat!

Oh, let's go back to the "what to wear" thing again - SO glad I dressed down a bit, because by the time I was in the 3rd mile, I had removed my jacket, stuffed my gloves in a pocket, and tied it around my waist. I would have done better with capris, too, instead of tights! I would have been totally miserable in long sleeves with a vest that I couldn't remove! I have got to remember that, especially when I don't have to stand around outside for long before a race, I need to dress cooler.

Once I hit mile 10, after battling with my pacing for the entire race, I got so aggravated with myself that I just stopped doing regular walk breaks and just threw a couple in once a mile or so. And yeah, that didn't 'help' my pace, but it helped me to enjoy the rest of the run! LOL I do not mind the walk breaks at all, but the constant frustration of being 20 seconds off my target pace and trying to adjust on the fly was driving me insane.

The finish line was a welcome sight - the Olympic Rings and the downhill finish are always so inspiring! I finished with a smile on my face and picked up my medal, warming jacket, and food and looked around for the Triple Peach tent. I couldn't wait to see the shirt! The shirts for the previous two years have been fabulous and couldn't wait to see what they had in store for us.

Boy, was I disappointed.

Now, the medal?? The medal is FABULOUS!

Yes, the Triple Peach medal IS a spinner, with the date of each race under the spinning thing!

It's a good size, too - and I like the rectangle shape!
But the shirt. (And this is just a commentary on the Triple Peach shirt... the Half shirt is "OK" but I find myself wishing I had gotten the unisex sizing instead of women's cut because it's just such a weird and uncomfortable fit). I guess if I have to say something good about the Triple Peach shirt, I could say that I think it will at least fit me.

The front...

The back... sideways, sorry! The ATC logo is at the bottom. 
See what I mean?! It's BORING!! Oh my goodness it's so boring! It doesn't even say Triple Peach except for a tiny thing on the back! I'm so very disappointed. I hope I'll at least be able to run in it - it feels awfully "cotton-y" though.

So that's my race report! Overall, I had a great time and was super excited to be able to complete this race after so long of wanting to do it! OH! One more funny thing... I sat down to put my results in my spreadsheet to discover that I missed this being my 2nd fastest half marathon by ONE SECOND! LOL Literally... the Peach Jam Half in May was faster by 1 whole second! But in my heart I know this one was a better effort because that race was 13.11 miles and 174 feet of elevation gain, and this race was 13.18 miles and 699 feet of elevation gain and only ONE SECOND slower. So, go me! I am certain that if I want to shoot for a half marathon PR next year (would need to take off 2:45, so 13 seconds per mile) I could make it happen.

And just like that... there is nothing between me and Dopey! Which just so happens to start 6 weeks from TODAY!! WOW!

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Running!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dopey Training, Week #7

7 weeks of training down - in 7 more weeks, I'll be a Dopey Challenge finisher! It's incredible to think about! Training went very well this week, despite a series of challenges.

Monday - 2000 meter swim; Pure Barre class
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Wednesday - sick/rest
Thursday - sick/rest
Friday - 5.25 mile run
Saturday - 10 mile run
Sunday - 14 mile run

So, as you can see, Race Simulation week experienced a bit of a hiccup. I woke up on Wednesday morning and my throat hurt terribly and I was feeling very tired. My resting heart rate was also elevated. I know the standard for "should I run when I'm sick" talks about if it's neck UP then you're OK to run, but I have a healthy respect for strep throat - so if my throat is involved at all, then I'm calling it a rest day.

I kept telling myself that this race simulation was not necessary. I know that I can complete the 4 races. I completed the big two (Goofy) in 2012 when I hadn't really run more than 4-5 miles for 2 months prior. Not that I'm recommending that approach but I had been injured during MCM 2011 and I did what I needed to do. But training is just going so well and I want to keep up my momentum. Still, it's best to get to the start line healthy! So I took the day off.

Thursday morning, my throat felt a bit better - but I had big plans with my youngest daughter that night for her birthday and I didn't want to compromise feeling well for the show. So I took another day off.

Friday morning I woke up and I felt pretty good and my throat didn't hurt at all. So I went for a short run - the mileage for Run #2 of the race simulation. I wanted to see if I would cough or have trouble catching my breath. And I didn't! YAY!

Saturday's run was a bit harder only because the congestion had started to clear which meant my nose was running like crazy. And I wasn't able to sleep well on Friday night. I met my friend BJ to run together and she had 8 miles on her training plan (followed by a bike ride) and I had to work all day - so we ran early and I continued on for 2 more miles to get in my full 10 miler. I felt great during the run and for most of the day at work, but when I got home, I was exhausted. I fell asleep at 9 PM! LOL

After 8 miles on Saturday! BJ left for her bike ride and I headed out to do 2 more on my feet!
BJ met again to run this morning at the Mountain - my heart rate was not a normal as it had been Saturday morning (when it was the closest to normal as it has been all week) but I had done 10 miles and worked 7 hours and I was still congested. So not surprised. But I hadn't been coughing, except that my throat was dry from the mouth breathing! LOL All of it is in my head and sinuses. Annoying. But not horrible.

Post 14 miles in the cold and wind! We are totally Dopey! 
The temps were warmer than yesterday morning but the wind was crazy which made it feel bitterly cold! And we were doing the Mountain which means the hills you would expect! So it was a nice, slow pace and we just got it done step by step! I felt great the rest of the day at work, except my sinuses were killing me with the pressure. My boss gave me a cold/sinus med which helped SO much!

So now I'm home and I ate warm soup for dinner and am getting ready to take my Epsom salts bath. Then I'm heading to another early bedtime! Tomorrow is a rest day for me - and Recovery Week! I am going to try to set up my new smart trainer and see if I can't get the whole system communicating. Ok, I won't lie... I'm just hoping that I can figure out how to take my rear wheel off! :)

This is going to be the best training tool ever. Once I figure it out! 
Happy Training! And Happy Thanksgiving! :D

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dopey Training, Week #6

Well, it seems hard to believe, but I am officially halfway done with Dopey training! 6 more weeks of training, then a 2 week taper, and then BOOM! It's time to do this thing! I really can't believe how quickly the time is passing! I get more and more excited with each passing week!

This was a "One Long Run" week, and this is how training played out this week. I have had to make a few adjustments to the training plan to accommodate "real life" but so does everyone!

Monday - 8 mile run; Pure Barre class
Tuesday - 60 minute trainer ride
Wednesday - 8 mile run; Pure Barre class
Thursday - rest day
Friday - 3 mile run
Saturday - 15 mile run
Sunday - rest day

There was supposed to be another cross training day in there (swimming) but I got my hair colored yesterday and I didn't want to immediately jump into the pool today nor did I want to do a trainer ride after a long run yesterday. Also, due to my work schedule next weekend, I'm going to have to start my race simulation two days early, so a rest day today actually is the best thing overall! And that's really what is the most important thing - considering the overall training plan and not just the individual workout. The cumulative training effect is really important and has to be forefront in my mind!

Physically I am feeling great. I started off the week feeling fairly tired and sore, but considering that I ran 2 long runs last weekend while I drove to Tennessee and back on the same days... it's not surprising that I was stiff! It's not easy to sit in the car for 4-5 hours right after you've run 10-13 miles! But I kept up with my rolling and stretching, and didn't push incredibly hard in any workout, and over the course of the week I started to feel much better. My long run was yesterday and it was the longest run I've done since the marathon in February (I think??) and it felt fabulous! My pace was strong and I was only a little sore. I woke up today feeling even better!

Mentally, I'm hesitant. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I keep waiting for the injury, just like it always does when I'm training for a marathon. It usually happens about a month before the race, which is just a few weeks away. I think it keeps me from really enjoying myself with the training. I'm scared. :( I'm trying to remember that all I can do is my best - and hopefully I won't get injured again. But I can do all the 'right things' and I might still end up with an injury. So I want to try my best to enjoy myself! After all, this is my hobby! This is what I do to de-stress from life! It makes no sense for it to contribute to my stress! LOL

This coming week is a race simulation! I'm really looking forward to it, if you can believe that! It's going to be starting on Tuesday this week and go until Friday! With a little faith, trust, and Pixie dust, I'll get it done! :D

Happy Training, friends!! :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #5

Last week's training was the beginning of the 2nd rotation in my Dopey cycle - and this meant that I did two "long runs". Sort of a miniature "Goofy" training, which I think is a great idea. After all, it's those last two distances that will be the most demanding. I do one race simulation per month but that week of two long runs two weeks before the simulation is also good for simulating the stresses my legs will be under during Dopey!

Here is what the week looked like:

Monday: 7 mile run/Pure Barre class
Tuesday: XT (60:00 bike - trainer)
Wednesday: 8 mile run/ Pure Barre class
Thursday: XT (60:00 swim)
Friday: 10 mile run
Saturday: 13 mile run (Harvest Half Marathon - race report right before this post)
Sunday: rest day

8 miles will be the longest run I do during the week, so I'm almost up that distance. I want to make it feel easy, if that makes sense. It's a little further than I would normally go during the week during full marathon training, but since I'm not going to run further than 16 miles (my sweet spot - every time I go further than that in training I get injured) in my long runs, and I want to still keep up my overall volume, I have to add a couple of miles to those weekday runs. And I since I have the time to do it, it makes sense to build up to that now and keep it at that level until recovery weeks and/or taper.

I got to select my Fast Passes for the trip on Saturday and they really worked out beautifully once I had a moment to really consider it. I hope I haven't under-estimated the time it will take to get to the parks, but I have most everything scheduled to get me back to my room very early. And I will need to balance walking around enough with not tiring myself out! I felt like we had that perfect balance during the Dark Side Challenge trip, so I'll have to go back and see if I wrote any reports about that weekend! Of course, once Dopey is complete, all bets are off! I'll be back in "Close the Parks" mode (which won't be hard because they are closing super early while I'm there! LOL).

This week (since it's already Wednesday) is a One Longer Run week and, like last month, I'm feeling much more tired and sore. I'm not sure if it's from the two long runs last week or just the overall volume. Regardless, I'm actually really excited to get to the Race Simulation again next week! ;) Also, I have 2 weeks until the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, which will be the completion of the Triple Peach. That is going to be during Recovery Week so it will be a nice chance to practice keeping a slow pace in a race atmosphere!

Thanks for keeping up with my training! Hope training and racing is going well for everyone! Look for the report for Week #6 this coming weekend!