Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Intervals

Today I decided to practice some run/walk intervals. I am doing the "Run/Walk a Marathon" training program from Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield, but the early weeks (and really all of the weekday runs through the whole program) are within my ability to run them completely. So my plan was to just run and run and run until later on in training when I needed to start intervals. However, I've been reading a lot on the ROTE boards lately about intervals and also about marathon preparation. Over and over, the common theme has been to get through your training without injury, even if that means being slightly under-trained.

It got me thinking! I am somewhat injury prone, as you may have been able to tell from reading my blog for any length of time. And I have not one, but two, marathons that I'm training for - within 6 days of each other! I really need to be careful if I'm going to make it through these events and have fun doing so! But I've always assumed intervals were reserved for folks who could not make it the full distance yet. I mean, I ran intervals with my friend Abbey at the Princess this year because she wasn't able to run the entire distance yet. That's what intervals are for, right? Even worse, I have felt like it would be a failure or a sign of weakness for me to walk these shorter runs. Oh, vanity is a bad thing, isn't it??

So today, I decided to try some intervals. And I was surprised that it wasn't really all that bad. I did a 5/1 interval because that's the only one I have programmed into my watch, from back when we went to Princess. It was very successful, and I actually ended up being a few seconds per mile faster than last week when I was running nonstop at a guarded pace. But the difference in my legs and fatigue level were amazing!! It was close to 80 degrees and unbearable humidity when I ran this morning, but I ended the workout feeling like I had a lot of energy left! This is a good thing!

I think I will play around with some intervals a few times a week just to see which one I like the best. My BFF and I are going to have to figure out a good long run interval that we can manage together - it's harder for her because she's a much faster runner than I am. Already her slowing down to meet my pace is an "interval" for her! LOL But that's part of what this training is about... trying out things to see what works the best!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Week 2

Why does it seem that whenever I really want to blog that's when I end up having the least amount of time to do it? This isn't going to be a very good documentation of my marathon training if I keep this up! LOL

Here is this week's training, with what was actually on the schedule listed in italics:

Monday - 60 minute Zumba class (35 minute run)
Tuesday - 35 minute run
Wednesday - 35 minute run (30 minute XT)
Thursday - 35 minute run w/ 2 form drills (4 drills were scheduled)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 6.5 mile run (6 mile run)
Sunday - rest

I had mentioned the problem with my left leg last week. This week I did the best I could to try to rehab the leg while still maintaining my workout schedule. I did this by really guarding my running pace. I was still unsure if the leg was injured, or if it was just a muscle issue from the new workouts I had taken on the previous week (Zumba and the massive hill). By the end of the week, I was fairly certain it wasn't an injury. By keeping my pace nice and slow, any tightness in the leg would work itself out - first by about mile 2, then later on my long run, by the end of the first mile!! What a relief!

But it is a reminder that I will need to be very careful with my pacing during training... I remember that from back when I was training for my first half marathon. I actually have to kick back a step on the pacing while I'm increasing my mileage and endurance. It's been such a long time since I've worked on adding mileage that it's hard to keep these things in perspective, especially since my pace seemed to actually increase while I was triathlon training. But that was reducing my actual overall running mileage, so that would make sense.

I am planning to take one more Zumba class tomorrow, since I've paid for it, and then I will have to stop. I'd planned to do Zumba in July, too, but I think I need to go ahead and drop Zumba so I can stick to the training plan.

In other news - I also have a decision to make about the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. A friend is going to run the relay (with another person) but she needs a room mate and someone to share the drive. I can't very well let her go down there alone, can I? And since I'd already be marathon trained, I could keep up the fitness for a couple of months and knock out the Marathon so I never have to marathon train again! LOL (Of course, with that line of thinking... maybe I should just go for the Goofy Challenge, right?? The half on Saturday and the full on Sunday??). Oh yeah. I'm crazy. ;)

The only thing that stops me is the money! My husband did tell me that at least this kind of mid-life crisis is cheaper than wanting a sports car! @@

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Week 1

I can't believe the first week is already over! I learned MANY, MANY valuable lessons this week already. But let's not jump the gun. First, a look at this week's training:

Monday - 60 minute Zumba class (off schedule)
Tuesday - 4.5 mile hill training (more than scheduled)
Wednesday - 35 minute run (off schedule)
Thursday - rest (off schedule)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 6.5 mile run (more than scheduled)
Sunday - rest

Yeah, yeah... didn't stick to the schedule very well, did I?? LOL This is what I was supposed to do:

Monday - 35 minute run
Tuesday - 35 minute run
Wednesday - 30 minutes XT (cross training)
Thursday - 35 minute run, plus form drills
Friday - rest
Saturday - 5 mile run
Sunday - rest

(This training plan is the Run/Walk a Marathon, from Marathoning for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. )

So that's my first lesson learned: I've got to stick to the schedule. It's going to mean letting go of the other things I want to do. But I want to be a marathoner, and I've got to put aside these other things so I can build up that endurance without getting hurt. The big hill on Tuesday hurt. I have been dealing with the consequences of that all week long. I have to take care during these 5 months that I don't overdo it.

Next lesson learned: I've got to guard my pacing again. I have gotten somewhat faster during the triathlon training (and during the off-season that preceded it). But I think I need to slow down a bit so as not to wear out my legs. I can run a faster pace during my runs and it feels good, but the recovery time is more than if I run slower. And I don't have as much time built-in to the schedule to allow for recovery.

Third lesson learned: This is probably not the best time to try new things. I assumed I could do this Zumba class and then run the same day and then continue on with the schedule. Or that I could, at least, do Zumba and then run Tu-Th, switching the cross-training day. And maybe I still can. I don't know if the lingering fatigue and soreness I've been experiencing is due to that nasty hill on Tuesday, or to the Zumba class, or a combination of both.

With this lessons in mind this is my plan for the upcoming week: I will try Zumba again and attempt the 3 days of running. I will skip the hill training and guard my pace. If that doesn't help, then I will have to drop Zumba, which is OK! It's fun, but the marathon is the goal! I am going to have to give it up after July anyway because we will be resuming lessons in our home school. So if I have to let it go sooner, it won't be the end of the world.

I've gotta get these aches and pains resolved before the mileage starts really taking off! I really regret not resting more during the week between the triathlon and training beginning. I hope I have learned my lesson now! :(

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rest Day

Today, I'm taking the day off. Tomorrow, I'll be doing the same thing!

It's shocking, I know! But I looked at my calendar yesterday and I haven't taken a day off in 7 days.

One thing I've been struggling with since the triathlon has been over, and my focus has turned to the marathon, is not wanting to 'give up' any of the previous training I have been doing. I want to continue to swim twice a week and bike twice a week, take this Zumba class I started on Monday (and loved!), add in some Power Yoga and Strength Training DVDs - all while ramping up my mileage for the marathon.

It's just not going to work. The "Mother of All Hills" on Tuesday really took a lot out of my legs. Yesterday when I did my regular run, my left calf was very sore. I wore my compression socks yesterday afternoon which seemed to help a little bit - but what I think I need the most is some good, old-fashioned rest. I pushed my long run last Saturday, and then turned around and did a bike ride on Sunday, and then added a strenuous Zumba class on Monday, and THEN ran up this insane hill on Tuesday.

That's just too much for my old body! And far better to take an extra day off in this first week and get my body rested well, than to go into 19 more weeks of training with sore muscles that are only going to get more sore as the mileage increases.

I've gotta play this smart. There will be plenty of time to re-train for triathlons next spring. And after the marathons this fall, I'll figure out a way to increase my strength training! LOL

Just too much stuff I want to do and too little time! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First Run of Marathon Training!!

Here I am after the first run of my marathon training! It was a rough one, too! We did a VERY steep hill (400 feet up in less than a mile!), and I was feeling it really badly all day! I think I need to start off with a slightly less strenuous hill and work my way up! LOL

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The calm before the storm!

This week has been a recovery week, and the literal calm before the storm. When I finished the triathlon last Saturday, I was left with 8 days before the start of marathon training! I decided to do whatever I felt like doing:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 1000 meter swim
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 35 minute run
Friday - 40 minute bike ride
Saturday - 6.5 mile run that turned into 8.5 miles
Sunday - 30 minute bike ride

As you see, the rest turned into a little more than I had planned to do, especially this weekend. Yesterday, I went out to run - and I was alone because my BFF was doing the Muddy Buddy with her sister - and I did my 3 laps and just was not ready to stop! I just felt so good! And then this morning I was just going to rest, but my husband leaped out of bed this morning at 6 and ran outside to move his truck from behind my van. "Sorry, forgot it was Sunday!" How could I possibly say, "Well, I've changed my mind about my bike ride today!" after he did something as sweet as that? LOL So I did a nice, leisurely 30 minutes at the park. But I still feel like I overdid it a little bit. At least the training starts off fairly low.

I am already modifying the plan, though... I'm supposed to run tomorrow for 35 minutes but I want to take the new Zumba class my daughter's dance teacher is doing! So I'll do the Zumba and I might just trade that off for running and run on the cross-training day. It's just so hard to cut back after adding in all the biking and swimming for the last 9 weeks! I want to do it ALL!! :)

20 weeks of marathon training... then 2 marathons in 6 days. No problem!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Triathlon Race pics!

These were taken by the course photographers! Have I ever mentioned how thankful I am to have a mom who buys all the professional photographs for my races? :)





Sunday, June 5, 2011

Race Report: My First Triathlon 2011

I actually slept pretty well on Friday night, which is unusual for me the night before a race. But the whole week had actually been quite unusual. I hadn't been overwhelmingly nervous. I mean, I had a couple of nights of flat tire nightmares which stopped when I finally went to the bike shop and had them show me how to change a tire (and I bought a tire pack for under the seat of my bike). But I just wasn't freaked out like I tend to get. It was sort of freaky! LOL

Saturday morning, I had planned to meet up with my BFF, Sherry, my friend Abbey (who I ran Princess 2011 with), and my friend Jill from the ROTE board (who I finally met IRL on Friday night when we went to pick up our race packets). We would caravan over to the start and get our transition areas set up near each other.

We got to Lake Lanier in plenty of time, which was good because the traffic backed up at the entrance gate. They were charging $8 per car admission, which I thought was unusual. I've run at Lake Lanier many times and never had to pay to get in. We found out right before the start that this was an error, and we are all being given a $10 credit for a future event. :) We still got parked with plenty of time and went to set up our transition area.

After transition was all set up, we went over to pick up our timing chips and to get marked on the arm and leg. That was really exciting!
Here are the 4 of us all marked up and ready to go:
Really before I knew it, it was time to make the 1/3 mile walk to the start line. Sherry, Abbey, and I were in the 6th wave and Jill was in the 7th (and last) wave. That was really good for me because it was nice to watch the other folks swim ahead of us. The water felt just fine to me, and I waded out a little ways so I was lined up with the buoys. You didn't have to swim around the buoys, since this was a My First Tri (you could stay closer to shore so you could stop and take rest breaks), but I figured I could manage it and I wanted to try.

They counted us down from 10 and then we were off. My coach told me to let people take off ahead of me so I could just relax and not have to worry about getting tired out during the swim. My form was not as good as I wanted it to be because my goggles fogged up and made it pretty hard to see the buoys. Also, I was going faster than I expected and I was sort of disoriented. I only bumped into a couple of people but it really wasn't too bad! I felt really strong in the water, and I couldn't really see much further than my hand so I didn't have to worry about seeing fish swimming by or anything! LOL Before I knew it, I had reached the end of the swim course and was ready to make my way to the first transition. This was between 1/3 and 1/4 of a mile and was absolutely ridiculous. The end of the hike was uphill, culminating in THIS CLIMB:

That was just so entirely wrong! LOL I walked out of the water, across the sand, and up the stairs. Then I jogged the next flat portion (sidewalk, so I wanted to be careful not to stub my toe), and then I walked the rest with Abbey who finished the swim about the same time. My time for the swim, including the long trek back to transition, was 15:57.

At transition, I turned on my GPS and ate my beans while standing on my towel. I looked down to see my feet covered with sand, so I used my extra water bottle to rinse off my feet. I dried off my feet and put my socks on (the rolled down trick worked so well) and then my shoes. Garmin was ready to go by then and I put that on and then my helmet. I had decided to save my skirt for the run. I took my bike off the rack and headed for the bike start. Funny transition note - Sherry was in transition, too, and I didn't even notice her! LOL I knew Abbey was there, but I was expecting Sherry's swim to take much longer than ours - but she was actually 2 minutes faster! T1 time - 3:26.

It took about a full minute to actually mount my bike and get my feet in the holsters for my shoes. I can't imagine having clip-ons. I'd probably still be standing there trying to get it to work! LOL The bike was my weakest area and my goal was just to survive. Since my gears wouldn't shift down onto the first set of gears, I knew I needed to conserve my energy for the hills. They would be hard in the 2nd gears. I was very nervous but just decided to deal with it. I rode near Abbey for a little while but her bike is more of a cruiser and weighs a lot more so she ended up behind me. I had not secured my race number on my bike very well and it fell off within less than a quarter of a mile! Next time I will do a better job! About the 3rd mile, Jill caught up to me and rode with me for a few minutes! It was nice to see her! Biking is her strongest, so she left me quickly. On a big nasty hill, I came within inches of crashing. People were just stopping going up the hill, right in the middle of the lane. This man stopped, causing a lady to crash into him. Then the lady in front of me crashed into them. I quickly steered into the oncoming lane, missing them by inches. It all happened SO quickly. My heart was really pounding, not just because of the hill, but because of fear. I decided to be a lot more aware of my surroundings, especially going up the hills.

I saw Jill again and knew I must be getting close to the turn-around. The turn-around was pretty intimidating because I have a hard time keeping my balance when turning on my bike! LOL I let the lady riding next to me know that I was not good at turns and she should give me a wide berth! ;) But I did it, and I was on my way back! I saw Abbey soon after and knew she was not far behind me. Remember, though, that I had not seen Sherry in transition to know that she was actually ahead of me, so I spent a good part of the ride back looking for her and getting a little worried. The ride back was easier, overall, for some reason. I dismounted my bike with more ease that I had mounted it, and headed into transition. Bike time - 55:24

I got into transition and put my bike up on the rack and took off my helmet. The person next to me had really invaded my space and it was hard to get to my stuff. Jill was there, too, and it was good to see her! I am really glad we all had our transition areas together. Sherry's bike was already racked so this is where I got confused. I was hoping everything was OK with her. I ate some more sport beans, pulled on my skirt and visor, and headed for the run start. It was really, really hot by this point, so I grabbed a cup of water on my way out. T2 - 2:14

I had to laugh as I left the transition area because the announcer was saying that the run course was much easier than the bike course. I knew he was lying, though, because I've run tons of races at Lake Lanier! I know this course was all on the resort property, unlike the bike course. The hills are nasty around there! At least I knew what to expect. Running is what I do... there was nothing really to think about. One thing that completely surprised me was that I had no issues at all with my shins. My shins had plagued me during my first brick practice and during one in the last week of training and every now and then during other bricks they would sort of scream out at me briefly. But not this time. I didn't feel anything, except for heat and the natural fatigue from having already swam and biked. A couple was running next to me at the start of the run and he said, "You know, this is the point where training really would have helped!" and they both laughed and started walking. I wasn't trying to feel cocky, but I couldn't help but agree. I really felt quite good.

The sun started to get to me about a mile into the race. It was just HOT. I don't know the actual temperature, but it was after 9 AM by this time and the temps had started at 71 when we got up at 6AM, so I figure it had to be at least 80 degrees. The high yesterday was 94. I'm used to being done with my workout by 8 AM, so this was just unbearable. It was SO hot.

Jill spotted me on her way back from the turn-around and gave me a high five, which was REALLY great! I was looking for Sherry on the way out and Abbey on the way back but didn't see either of them. I walked through the first water station and drank up, and then walked through the next water station. I simply can't run and drink from a paper cup at the same time! But other than that, I ran the entire course, even the nasty last hill. I knew exactly where I was, and that I was almost there!

The finish line was flat right after a nice downhill and I let loose! My Garmin shows I averaged a 6:49 pace in the last tenth of the course! ROFLOL
Sherry got this great picture of me at the finish line (since she had finished 12 minutes earlier! LOL) ... and I hope the course photographers got some good pics of me as well since I was pretty much by myself at the end! No worries about someone blocking the view! ;) Run time - 30:14, which is my third fastest 5K (and the others weren't preceded by a swim and bike ride!!).

My total time was 1:47:15!!!

I already posted the picture of me after the race with my medal, so here are the four of us after the race with our medals! Don't we all look amazing for having just finished our first triathlons???
Would it be a terrible cliche' to say that I had "the time of my life"??? But it's the truth! I had so much fun! When I got done, I felt like I could have kept on going! It must have been adrenaline or something, though, because after I finally sat down and ate lunch, when I got back up, I could barely stand! LOL I got home, posted the pictures to Facebook, and promptly took a 3 hour nap! It was hysterical!!

But today I feel quite well and really not much sore than I had been during the peak of training. I am more tired, though, this afternoon and will go to bed early, again. But that's to be expected, I guess. I am looking forward to more triathlons in my future, and I hope to be able to participate in IronGirl Atlanta next year. It sold out last year, though, so I'm not sure I'll be able to save up the money before it sells out. I would also like to attempt an olympic distance triathlon, which would be twice the distance I did during yesterday's sprint distance. Not sure when I might be able to fit that in, though. Maybe fall 2012? Jill sent me a link to one at Lake Lanier in the fall called the 5150 series. So I wouldn't have to travel anywhere. But that's putting the cart before the horse! Definitely can't do that this fall, and I would like to get a few more sprints under my belt first! :)

Now I have a week off from any formal training. Next Monday, June 13th, I begin Full Marathon training!!! :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I am a triathlete!!

Race report to come tonight or tomorrow!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Triathlon Training: Week 9 (Race Week)

This was the taper week!

Monday - Transition practice
Tuesday - 800 m swim
Wednesday - Brick (30 minute bike ride/15 minute run)
Thursday - rest
Friday - Brick (20 minute bike ride/10 minute run)

Tomorrow is the big day! Tonight I'm going to pick up my race bib and timing chip and, hopefully, some race instructions since we haven't been given any of those yet! LOL Check back tonight for a few pictures!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The last workout...

It's hard to believe that in 3 days I will be doing my first triathlon! Since I signed up way back in September, it seems like the triathlon has been on my radar for quite awhile, but seemed far enough away not to feel like reality (sort of like the marathons in October and November LOL). But all of a sudden, it's just a few days away! Time moves so quickly! Welcome to June!

Today was the last real workout of training, and it was a brick. Today I was scheduled for 30 minutes of biking and 15 minute of running. Everything went very well! No shin pain at all! And I was pleased with my pace. The only problem was the heat and humidity. I finished my workout at 8 AM and that's what time the tri will be STARTING. There is nothing I can do about the weather, though, except to make sure I'm hydrated and slow down my pace if necessary.

Yesterday I ended up taking my bike to the shop. I had had nightmares the previous two nights about flat tires, and I have no idea how to fix that. I decided that I needed to just go ask, even though it was intimidating. Bike shops are not warm and fuzzy places for women, especially for women who don't know what they are doing! But the folks at Apalachee Cycle were very kind. Bruce showed me how to change a tire, and I asked him to look at my tires and tell me if they look OK. He said they looked fine, and I also asked him about the trouble I have with the one valve - it wants to let air out, and it takes both me and Russ to hold it in just the right spot to put air in it. He had the same trouble with it, so we ended up changing out the tube in that tire. He used this time to show me the steps, and then he gathered up the necessary supplies and put them in a little pack to go under the seat of my bike! He also did some lubing and adjustments, including raising my seat a little bit. And while it was an unexpected $65 expense, it was worth it not to have bad dreams last night! :)

So tomorrow is a rest day, and I've decided that I won't practice transitions again. I'm feeling confident in those. I think the kids and I will go to the library and to the outdoor pool so they can get some play time in. Then Friday is a "baby brick" (20/10) to loosen up the legs. Friday night I need to get packed up, and we're going to pick up race packets that night instead of waiting until the morning of the race. The extra gas expense is worth my peace of mind of having everything and not being surprised at any race instructions.

Then Saturday is the big day!