Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ahh, the hills, how I've missed you!

This morning I made it back out to Stone Mountain to ride my bike. And this time, I wasn't experiencing any delusions about the route being flat. This time, I was ready to embrace those hills!

Since I'm just starting to get over being sick this week, I left the actual decision to this morning. If I felt OK, I'd hit the Mountain. If I still felt puny, I'd go to the park nearer to home. Luckily, I felt pretty good this morning so I got ready for the drive.

The weather was dreadful this morning. 74 degrees and 89% humidity - fog everywhere. I should have taken a picture because you couldn't even see the top of the Mountain from the parking lot. That was unreal!

I headed out with a plan to do 2-3 laps. I also wanted to avoid braking on the downhills and to try to spin gently up the really big hill on the back side of the trail. The other hills I wanted to take head on.

I think did a pretty good job with these goals. I ended up doing 3 laps, and on the last lap I tried to get up the last big hill in the 2nd to last gear instead of the last gear. I made it almost all the way!

According to Garmin, I averaged 13.8 mph which isn't too bad! My max speed was 29 mph - yay for not braking on the downhills!!! And my fastest mile was mile 12 (out of 14 1/2) at 17.3 mph!

My plan for the fall and winter for my long bike ride is to alternate hills and long flat rides. And I'd like to slowly build up my hill rides. I have plenty of time. I just need to be patient! I really think that if I can get to the point where I can ride 25 miles at Stone Mountain and feel strong, then I can ride pretty much anywhere.

I would also like to do some running at Stone Mountain, both the regular path around and the trails. But I'm not sure how I'd be able to work that out. :) And then - oh yeah - bricks at Stone Mountain?? I would certainly be TOUGH if I could do that!

Friday, August 30, 2013

When I ran, but I probably shouldn't have...

I started to feel a little better yesterday afternoon. I found this big bottle of Airborne that I bought at Costco before my Tink and Princess trips and decided to dose myself up. I don't know if it was a placebo effect, but I did feel better afterward!

This morning I woke up and argued back and forth with myself about running this morning. Friday mornings my daughter has an outside class that is very near a park that has a nice running trail. So I could drop off, run, and come home to work with the other kids. So tempting that I couldn't resist today.

I decided that I would take it nice and easy even though it will be my "long run day." I need to practice going slowly as I ramp up my mileage again, so this would be a great day to practice. It was hot and really humid, and coming off a cold really didn't help matters I'm sure.

I struggled to maintain my goal pace. One mile I'd be way over - one mile I'd be way under. Too slow. Too fast. Back and forth. In the end, my overall pace was right where I wanted it. Now I need to practice maintaining a nice, even, relaxed pace for a long run. I used to be able to do it with no problem. Now I feel all off trying to do it.

I haven't felt any worse today since my run - still sneezing now and then and dealing with the runny nose. But I'm not as achy as I have been. Night before last I slept 11 hours and woke up feeling like I needed to sleep another 11 hours! My plan is to go for a bike ride in the morning if I sleep well and wake up feeling OK. :D

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tapper Girl

Yesterday, I had my first ever Adult Tap class! I have wanted to do this for years but never had the opportunity between scheduling or finances, but this year, everything came together just right!

Here I am before class!
The class itself was great. I was worried that the regulars in the class would be upset about having me as a newbie and holding them back, but I needn't have worried. Everyone in the class (who I have known for years!) was very encouraging and kind, and our teacher (Sarah - my Zumba teacher) really did a good job balancing the newbies - one in addition to me - and the regulars.

It was a LOT to learn, and I had my daughters help me today in a couple of things I was unsure about. One thing that discouraged me is that I have completely forgotten the little dance combination we did at the end of the class last night. I guess there was so much for my brain to remember and I reached my limits! LOL I really can't wait until next week! I had so much fun and my legs muscles got a lot of use in different ways than they do in triathlon training.

As for training, that has been sporadic this week so far. I have been fighting off a cold for the last few days. Add to that the fact that my period started yesterday and that makes for an icky feeling and quite exhausted me. I am taking advantage of the fact that I have nothing on my race calendar (seriously - NOTHING!) to let my body rest. This is what I wanted - a break in 'having' to train so that when I 'get' to train, I can do it for the sheer enjoyment of it all!

I did run on Monday in the neighborhood - for the first time in months! I did not miss running in the neighborhood! Forgot how boring that is. And then I did my strength training for the first time since the the taper - I did actually miss that. Surprising! But then yesterday I skipped my swim because I couldn't breathe well and I wanted to save up my energy for tap class last night. This morning I postponed my bike ride on the trainer to this afternoon, and then this afternoon I decided to skip it completely. I am not feeling any worse, but I'm truly feeling so weak. I know that the rest will do me better. I have another swim on the schedule tomorrow, which I would like to do because the pool will be closing next week for maintenance between the summer and winter season. But if I'm not feeling markedly better I will skip that as well in favor of another day of rest.

This makes me so glad that I decided not to sign up for the triathlon at the end of September. No pressure and no worries about missing some workouts this week. Just eager anticipation at getting back out there when I am feeling 100%!

So what will my fall and winter "off-season" look like? That will be the topic of my my next post!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

There are FISH!

Yesterday after the race, my husband and I went out to the lake so that I could practice some open water swimming. I have been concerned all week that the anxiety problems I had at the triathlon last week after I was grabbed in the water would continue. I didn't have much time to get my swim in because of other obligations, but I felt that it was so important to get into the open water again as soon as possible.

I wasn't expecting there to be any people at the lake in the morning, even though it was Saturday. I figured they would come later on. I was incredibly embarrassed, especially since I was wearing my swimsuit and not a triathlon outfit. There was even a church group that had apparently done a baptism moments before we arrived on the scene. They moved over to the picnic area as we were walking down to the shore which was good. I'm not sure I could have gotten in if they were still having their service - and my time limit was just a few minutes.

Quickly, I got on my cap and goggles. As I was walking into the water, I noticed some small fish swimming away. Turning back to my husband, I said, "There are FISH!" He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Duh!"

My lifeguard!

I continued on into the water and started to swim. My plan was to swim out to the line that marks the end of the swimming area that way if I got panicked, I could hold on to floats until my husband could figure out how to get to me!

The first lap along the swim line reminded me of the first couple of laps in the pool on Tuesday. My heart was racing and I felt nervous. I checked with my husband to see if we had time for me to do one more lap and he shrugged again - he apparently needed more coffee to be verbal! ;)

The second lap went much better and I'm glad that I pushed my luck and did that lap. I was able to concentrate on relaxing and slowing down my breathing. I turned and swam back to shore and knew that this was time well-spent!

I hope to get out to the lake on a regular basis, especially once it cools off a little more so I can practice swimming in my wetsuit! One of the Olympic distance tris that I'm looking into next year is at the end of April and that is definitely wetsuit weather!

Maybe I should get my hubby a kayak so he can follow me around?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Magnolia Run for Epilepsy 5K

I was cranky this morning and not really 'feeling' this race. I was supposed to be walking it with a friend whose daughter has epilepsy. But her daughter has had a rough week medically, and her mom was understandably not comfortable with leaving her. This has been a rough week for many of my friends and their children (and parents - a dear friend is saying goodbye to her father as I type this, along with having a couple of children in medical crisis) and I have been so sad about it all. It's not fair for kids to have to go through all this stuff.

But I decided that I would run the 5K in honor of all of the people we know who have epilepsy. So I took another rest day yesterday and ran this morning.

I woke up to MORE news of friends whose children are seriously struggling. I was so sad. I left in the dark for the race, listening to the new Blue October CD (which does help, to some extent). Got to the race and picked up my race number and my friend's stuff since she couldn't make it. Then I talked for a little while to the rep from the Epilepsy Foundation of GA. While I was talking to her, a young adult male came and started talking to her - he reminded me very much of my own son. He said he has Epilepsy (I suspect he also is on the spectrum) and he just had a seizure last week after being seizure free on medication for a long time. He was sad because he can't drive for 6 months now. Broke my heart.

They offered pre-race Zumba, which was not the same without my favorite teacher. And then it was time to head over to the start line. I realized as I was walking that I hadn't pulled together a playlist, so I worked on one quickly as I was walking. Gotta love the iPhone for that! Then I put in the earbuds that I grabbed this morning out of my iPhone box - was saving them for backups since the girls keep borrowing mine. Well, I couldn't get them to work. I'm sure it's user error, but it was very aggravating!

Then it was time to start! And my earbuds weren't working and I'm all discombobulated! I tried to tuck the earbuds in my pocket, and I looked down and they were sticking out and flopping all over the place. So while I was still trying to run I grabbed the phone and earbuds and shoved them in the back pocket of my top (thankfully I was wearing a multisport tank this morning! LOL).

UGH! I was just so blasted aggravated. So I started running. By this time I just wanted to get it OVER with and get back home.

I had planned to run this as part of my recovery week, at a nice and easy pace. When I finished the first mile in 9:30, I realized that I either needed to slow down or just decide to go for it. So, I went for it.

I remembered the course from last year and knew there were quite a few hills in the middle. I hadn't fueled for such a pace - just a half a bottle of Nuun, and I didn't even carry anything with me to drink. I did stop for a drink of water on the course, but by the middle of the third mile, I was feeling icky. My side was getting a stitch and I was afraid that I was going to be sick. Thankfully, I knew that we were done with the worst hills, and that I would be done soon.

As I rounded the corner with the mile 3 sign, and the finish line came into sight, I saw that I had a good chance to come in under 29 minutes. I remembered that my 5K PR was in the upper range of 28 minutes, so I gave it what I had left - which wasn't much! LOL After I crossed the finish and turned off my watch, I saw that I just barely made it under 29 minutes.

At least I felt bad for a reason! :)

But I was feeling miserable. I kept walking around and got some water and a banana. They had lots of food there but nothing sounded good. The banana didn't either - but I knew I needed something, and I had nothing in the car (since I was planning on taking it easy @@). So I walked slowly back to the car, eating my banana, and I started to feel better.

At least I have a good reason for looking this dead!! LOL 
After the race, I hit Trader Joe's since it was just one exit down - BIG mistake! Hungry Jen buys all the junk food at TJs. At least it's all-natural junk food, right? LOL

When I got home, I was able to analyze my data - negative splits, which is always good. Mile 1 - 9:33; Mile 2 - 9:28; Mile 3 - 8:36!! I think that's my fastest mile ever recorded!! And the last bit (as you can see on the watch) was 8:22! WOW!

So while this wasn't necessarily the best idea for a recovery week run - it sure did help me to get out some frustration.

And now I need to take a nap! :D

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Recovery Week - midweek update

So what have I been up to the last few days? Why, a recovery week, of course.

Or maybe I should call it "recovery" week. You be the judge!

The day of the triathlon my parents came into town and took us to the Atlanta Braves game, where they played for 15 innings. We got home around 2 AM. Remember that I woke up at 3:15 AM for the race. Yeah, 23 hours awake - not good for an old woman.

I woke Sunday around 7:30 AM. Sunday was busy the way Sunday always is.

Monday I woke up and decided to take a rest day. It was raining and I was exhausted. We all slept in a bit, but then did school work. The girls had dance and we were at the Studio from 4:30-9.

Tuesday morning I got up and went for a little swim. I have been nervous that my anxiety from the craziness of the race would continue into the pool. I was nervous for the first couple of laps but I settled down a bit. It didn't feel nice and easy, though, like it usually does. I'm hoping it's just fatigue. I swam 600 meters.

Came home and did school work with the kids, then went to the oral surgeon. I broke a back molar a few months ago but it didn't bother me much so I didn't worry about it. It started hurting in mid-July but by that point I didn't want to be told that I couldn't train, so I just ignored it. I told some motrin when it was the worst. Finally I couldn't stand it any longer (the week before the tri) and called to make an appointment. So yesterday it was, "Bye, bye broken molar!"- and I was told not to exert myself for 24 hours.

Last night was a meeting for my homeschool group and I didn't get home until 9:30. This morning we did some school work and then my son had his first outside class, from which we just got home. We have more dance tonight and tomorrow night, as well as a dentist appointment for my youngest in the morning.

Tomorrow I'll put the bike on the trainer and see how it goes! I am really, really fatigued. I'm not sure if it's from the triathlon, or from all of the other stuff around the triathlon - or a combination of the two. I've actually been debating taking the entire week off. I'll see how I feel in the morning. This morning I was very sore all over so I was fine taking with taking a rest day. I would much rather be really ready to go with my training again and feeling good that to feel so drained and exhausted.

Recovery is as important in the cycles of training as the actual training is!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Race Report: PTC Sprint Triathlon

Sorry for the lack of posting... those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that this week has been crazy busy with homeschooling, and then just when it settled down enough to allow me some time to post, the internet went down! But I'm back up now, just in time to write a race report about today's triathlon!

First of all, the weather got extremely wonky on us here in Atlanta in the last couple of days. Our high temperature yesterday was in the mid sixties (and the low was about the same. Typical temps this time of year are lows in the low 70s and highs in the high 80s). And there has been rain almost nonstop. I was quite worried about the bike ride, especially, since I haven't trained in the rain at all. I was really afraid of skidding on the wet pavement and falling.

I woke at 3:15 this morning to leave at 4 AM. It was early, but not Disney early! Peachtree City was further away than I realized! Packet pickup opened at 5 AM and I like to arrive early. On the dark ride down, it started to rain. This did not help my frame of mind. I actually turned on the heat in the car! 63 degrees and raining - crazy!

I arrived around 5:15 and walked over to Packet Pickup/Transition with a couple of ladies from the MRTT Triathlon group. Everyone was very kind and helpful - asking if I knew where all the race numbers go. When I picked up my packet, they surprised me by asking me what size socks I wanted. Socks? You're going to give me socks?!? I love you, PTC Triathlon Club! LOL I just put everything into my bag, though, since it was drizzling. Picked up my timing chip and got my body marked. When I walked into transition, I was actually escorted over to my rack where a volunteer helped me out because someone had put their bike in my spot. Each race number had a sticker where you were supposed to set up your stuff. Truly this was a well-organized race!

I got all my stuff set up, including my new Triathlon Bucket. This turned out to be a lifesaver, for reasons you'll read about soon enough!

My transition area - optimized for the rain! Notice the trash bags and grocery sacks!
Ready to go!
I ran into one of my local friends and we talked and hung out before the swim. It was announced over the PA that for the first time in the history of this triathlon (and this was the 11th anniversary), it would be wetsuit legal! Absolutely unbelievable! I hadn't brought my wetsuit so it didn't matter to me. I only saw two people wearing them so I'm guessing most people hadn't brought theirs, either. I was surprised that the lake was just right there with no beach. Also surprised that the "two at a time every 5 seconds" start wasn't organized by swim time as I believed it would be. People were finishing their swim before we even got into the water!

It was my turn and I got into the water. I had never done a start like this before - not being in the water and getting used to it first. But it was OK. I just did my thing and started my swim. I was sighting every other stroke and couldn't believe that I was actually going straight. Suddenly, just before the first buoy, someone grabbed hold of me. When I got upright, I saw it was a man with a terrified look on his face. He said, "I need to hold on to you!" And he was still holding on. I yanked away and said, "NO! You can't!" Looking back, I should have told him to swim to one of the kayaks, or I could have gotten the attention of a kayaker for him, but in the moment I was too freaked out. And then my swim fell apart. My heart was racing and every time I put my face in the water, I felt like I was going to drown. I tried to do a breast stroke but just putting my face back in the water was overwhelming. I did a sort of doggy-paddle combination with some backstroking past the second buoy and around. I was really scared and afraid that I wasn't going to be able to finish. My goggles fogged up and I swallowed water a few times and it was really scary. I decided to do a backstroke for a few strokes and then flip over to sight. And I kept telling myself to try to calm down. I am disappointed that I didn't think to pray - but that tells you how freaked out I was. Finally, as I passed the third buoy, and I could see the finish in sight, I was able to put my face back in the water and swim. I took a breath and sighted with each stroke, but that's OK. It allowed me to get my heart rate down and gave me a bit more confidence. I breathed on the right for a few strokes, then on the left. At last I reached the shore! I've never been so glad to put my feet on land! This lake has no huge hill to climb to transition and I was so glad! (Swim time - 16:51. Honestly that's not too bad considering the freak out. I was expecting about a 14:00 swim time for the 600 yards. And my friend said she though the course might have been a little long, which would be even better. Regardless, I'm not upset about the time. Just glad I made it through!)

 I ran towards transition, but I started to realize that my heart rate was super high again. I started to walk so that I could settle down before the bike, which I was already anxious about. I got to my transition area, got my stuff out of my bucket, and sat down on it. I was SO glad for that bucket to sit on. The ground was wet and gross, and the ability to sit on the bucket and get my shoes on and collect myself was such a blessing! (T1 time - 4:18. Longer than I wanted but well worth the time so I could feel prepared to get on the bike)

I walked my bike to the mounting line. After the trouble I had clipping in at the Super Sprint in June, I was nervous. Would I get mud and grass in my cleats and not be able to clip in? Would my wet cleats slip on the wet pedals? I moved out of everyone's way in case it took me a long time, but it didn't! I clipped right in and didn't even have any trouble going up the starting hill! I took it nice and easy starting out. My legs were much more tired than usual from the doggie paddling and backstroking. There was nothing I could do about that now, though, so I decided not to think about it. I had to concentrate on the wet pavement and the drizzle. There were a couple of small hills near the start, and since I hadn't trained on any hills, it was harder than it should have been. But I remembered reading somewhere, "There is no shame in spinning up a hill" so I did that - I put it into a low gear and just did a spin, not worrying about my speed and not trying to wear my legs out more with pushing on the pedals. The roads were mostly closed off to traffic, which is a wonderful thing! I've never done a tri that closed all traffic and I was very grateful for it today. I took water to drink on the ride and a half a PB sandwich. Right around mile 6, I ate the first part of the sandwich, then I ate the rest around mile 10. The course was well-marked and I was pleased to see regular aid stations where folks were helping with tire changes, etc. Also, course officials in trucks patrolled the course and picked up people who could not continue. I felt comfortable that if something bad were to happen, help would reach me fairly quickly. I don't think it was actually raining, but there was drizzle, and it covered my sunglasses and water dripped from my helmet. At times, if felt like it was raining - but that might have been a combination of the drizzle and the speed of the bike.

After the first couple of miles, I felt surprisingly strong. I didn't want to brake too heavily on the descents because I was afraid of my tires skidding. Thankfully, there weren't too many really big downhills or sharp turns. I think training at the park really helped me with my comfort on the turns. I did better on the rolling hills than I was expecting! The funniest part of the bike was that I kept wondering when I would get to the turn-around. I had seen folks coming back as I was going out so I kept waiting for the turn around where I would start to see other cyclists! Slowly, I started to recognize my surroundings and I saw a sign on the opposite side of the road: Mile 3. I was already on the turn-around, there was just nobody starting out! I was REALLY bringing up the rear! LOL! I got back to the dismount line and another volunteer asked me if I was ok when I hesitated to unclip my other foot. Everyone was really very helpful! (Bike time - 56:13. I think the bike course must have been a little short because that time has me at 14.9 mph. I felt strong on the bike, but I'm not sure it would be THAT strong!)

As I walked into the transition area with my bike, a volunteer directed me to the run start, which was on the opposite end of transition. It was great having the volunteers being so proactive in making sure I knew were I was going. I didn't once have to ask! Back in transition again, I was feeling much more positive after a strong bike ride. I'm really glad that the bike went so smoothly and I didn't feel like I was slipping or skidding. After the scary swim, I'm not sure if I could have mentally handled a scary bike ride, too! I didn't rush through transition again. (T2 time - 2:25)

At least when it comes to running, I have more confidence. My legs were more tired overall, though, and I felt it. And not wearing a Garmin (due to the rain), I was having to go by feel and not by pace or, in the case of the bike, RPMs. I was passing people quite frequently, and I have to admit that it felt good and helps to make up for being passed like I'm standing still when I'm cycling. I was 40th out of 44 in the swim and the bike, but I was 25th in the run! LOL I carried Cherry Limeade Nuun with me in my handheld bottle. I almost didn't carry it because it wasn't hot but I'm glad I did. I drank almost all of it. I carried Pomegranate Honey Stinger Chews with me but didn't need to eat them.

The course was all on the famous golf cart paths of Peachtree City and was a lovely place to run. It was mostly shaded, and I can imagine that if it's a hot, sunny day like it usually is in August in GA, that would feel very nice!  Again it was an out and back, and again there was nobody going "out" when I was coming "back"! That made me laugh out loud! Several times I felt like I wanted to walk, my legs were so tired and I was breathing harder than usual. But it was important to me that I run the entire way this time. And I did it! (Run time - 30:11. So maybe that's why I was breathing heavy? 9:44 miles on some pretty used-up legs!)

I gave a big smile to the course photographer at the 3 mile mark and made my way up the hill to the finish line! It was wonderful to hear my name called as I crossed the finish line! It felt like a long journey from the swim freak-out to the finish line, and I gladly accepted my medal! I'm so glad this tri had a medal, because I really needed it this time! :) (Overall time - 1:49:54. 569/637 overall, 40/44 age group, 190/234 women. Right about where I figured I would be based on looking at last year's results.)

Finisher's medal, thank you very much! LOL
All in all, I really loved this race! It was well-organized and everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. I would absolutely do it again next year. The only negative was the guy grabbing me on the swim and freaking me out, but that has nothing to do with the race - it could have happened anywhere! I would highly recommend this race, especially for first-timers! I will definitely be putting it on my list of races for next year if it works out in my training schedule and with finances. It was a long drive for me, but I think it's worth it! Especially since they gave me socks! LOL And the shirt is really cute and comfy!

Seriously... aren't these cool!?

There's even a "swim-bike-run" logo on them!

Front of the cute race shirt!

Back of the cute race shirt!

I am hoping to get over to the lake in the next couple of weeks and practice my Open Water Swimming. I need to get back out there and make sure that I am "OK". I think I will be since I was able to put my face in the water again towards the end of the swim, but I want to be sure. Besides, I definitely need to practice. I haven't been done any OWS since the tri last September!

Wow, did you make it the whole way through this race report?? You are awesome! Thank you! :D

Friday, August 9, 2013

Long and strong bike ride!

Week 11 training is nearly done!

Because my Moms Run This Town chapter is having a group run/race tomorrow, I moved my training schedule around a little bit and did my long bike ride today. 90 minute ride - at the park - before school! Yikes! With the sun not coming up until shortly before 7 AM, that doesn't leave me enough time to get back home and get cleaned up for school. I'm going to have to figure out how to work my longer rides in - either doing them on the trainer before sunrise or at the park after lunch (when we have a 90 minute free reading/rest time). Since this was the last long bike ride of training, I figure it wouldn't hurt just this once to be late getting started.

Today's ride was excellent! I pushed myself a little bit on the hills, pedaling in a harder (lower?) gear. My RPMs were down slightly but it was OK. I also practiced eating peanut butter on sandwich thins which I like MUCH more than Bagel Thins. The pocket on the top I am wearing for the tri isn't as roomy as the one I wore to the trail last week, but that's OK for this time since this is a sprint distance and I won't need to carry as much food with me. I did learn to only put what I am eating at one time in a baggie - I put the whole sandwich in one baggie but only ate half. When I reached back into my pocket for the Honey Stinger Chews I packed (YUM!), the sandwich had come out of the still-open bag and was getting smushed! Oops!

I did very well on my hydration and my fueling and managed to average 14.2 MPH in the park, with all of the slowdowns for the curves and turns and getting around people. Pretty solid, I think!

This time next week I'll be trying to get a good night's sleep for race morning! I think I'm going to have to leave around 4AM to get there in time for packet pickup and body marking. I didn't realize that Peachtree City is as far away from us as it is! Oops! Oh well, the race starts nice and early and that means I'll be home early - to take a nap! LOL

I am really, really, really getting excited!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


This morning the weather cooperated long enough - literally - to get my Pretty-Big-Brick workout in! It was iffy because it was sprinkling most of the time, and humid like a sauna, but this could be the weather on race morning, so I may as well train in it.

Today's workout called for a 65 minute bike ride and a 35 minute run. Since we started school on Monday, I knew I would need to do the workout at the local park, which isn't the end of the world. Actually, there are a few smaller hills, and lots of turns, so that is actually good for my training!

I have been really tired the last few days. Not sure if it's from the weekend's workouts, or if it's from the fact that we did start school on Monday, but last night I was doubting if this workout was going to happen or not.

Imagine my surprise when it not only happened, but it ROCKED!

I averaged 14.0 mph - in the curvy park! My RPMs were lower than I wanted, but I wonder if that's because I did a lot of non-pedaling around the curves.

On the run, I hit negative splits again! I did stop a little more than halfway through when the car repair shop called to tell me my car would be ready this evening and to give me the cost. I ran fast afterward, probably due to hearing the cost!

 I have felt so great after the workout, and I've felt pretty good the whole day! This reminds me why I like training for triathlons so much! :D

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Let the taper begin!

 Week 10 PEAK training is DONE! 

Today was my last 'long run'! Since I did a 60 minute run last week, this week I decided to try 6.5 miles (Yeah, I was a little naughty on both of my long workouts this weekend... yesterday was supposed to be 2 hours and I went over by 6 minutes, and today was supposed to be 60 minutes but I went over by 5 minutes).

I didn't have anything to eat before the run, but I did drink some Nuun. I wore my iFitness belt with one bottle of Nuun and one bottle of water, and then I took some sport beans to eat 30 minutes in. For some reason, the run felt really difficult for the first several miles. I kept trying to take it easy but it didn't seem to be working. In the 4th mile, I got that tingly feeling that tells me that I'm getting overheated, so I made myself really slow down. After that, I felt better.

But here's the thing - when I got home and looked at my Garmin stats, I wasn't any slower in those last 2.5 miles. Isn't that weird? It felt easier, it felt better, and I didn't have anymore tingly feeling. What was the difference? Was it that the beans/Nuun finally kicked in? Or was simply perception - I told myself I was taking it easier therefore it felt easier? Was it hard because it was the first few miles of running and yesterday I rode 30 miles? I really have NO idea.

In the end, though, the workout is done and I felt good overall - a little icky afterward, but no aches and pains. The next 2 weeks are taper - though this week is only a slight taper. I still have a pretty-big-brick on Wednesday and a 90 minute ride (that will both have to be done at my local park because we start back to school this week! LOL). But there is no strength training, and no more building up miles and/or time. I'm expecting to either feel great this coming week, or to welcome the aches and pains that have been lying dormant. I'm going to be good with my stretching and rolling, though, so hopefully I will be able to keep all of the aches at bay!

Just 13 days until the triathlon! Today was the Acworth Women's Tri that I had considered doing. I'm sad that I missed it, and wish I had signed up for both! LOL Though at the time, I wouldn't have known I would feel ready to race so soon. Maybe I'll be able to work it into the schedule for next year.

And yes... I'm already thinking of next year's schedule. This might be a record, even for me! :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fueling really does make a difference!

Today was the "BIG BIKE RIDE" that I've been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading! These longer bike rides have been a struggle, but I had been thinking it was a problem with my fueling.

After today's ride, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that it was at least partially related to my fueling (or lack thereof)!

Thanks to help from my MRTT Triathlon group, I decided that I needed to be doing MORE fueling than just a few beans halfway like I did last week. And I needed to drink more. So today, I took a bottle of Cherry Limeade Nuun and a bottle of water. I also took some sport beans and a peanut butter sandwich made with a bagel thins bagel. I cut it into 4 pieces and put two pieces each into a snack sized baggie. I wore my Team Tough Chik tri top and put one baggie into each pocket and one sample size thing of sport beans into each pocket as well. I was feeling very much like a cyclist, or a triathlete, or something!

I continued with my plan of drinking every 10 minutes, but I made a point to drink a little more each time. I think I have been seriously underestimating how much I was actually drinking each time.

On the way to the trail, I ate my entire granola bar, instead of just half like I usually do. So I started out with more fuel. I also drank some Nuun on the way over.

30 minutes into the ride, I reached back and pulled out a packet of the sport beans. I opened it with my teeth and then pushed the beans into my mouth. Yes - I ate WHILE I was riding!!! If I hadn't been able to eat on the ride, I had planned to eat the beans at one of the stop signs. But, to my surprise, I didn't need to! I was eating while I was cycling!! How cool am I?!? LOL

60 minutes into the ride (half way), I started eating my sandwich. I ended up eating only half, but I don't think I could have eaten much more. It was fairly dry, being on the bagel thin. I think next time I will try it on wheat bread and see if that is any easier to get down. I'm sure the bread will get a bit squashed, but I don't think that will be a big deal.

90 minutes into the ride, I took another sample pack of the sport beans. (I wonder where I found these?! Anyway, I want to try the Honey Stinger chews so I can put them in baggies if I need to.) By the way, I put ALL of my trash back into my pockets! Do not litter on the trails, folks!!

One of the side effects, I think, of eating on the ride was that I was actually quite thirsty throughout! By the end of the 30 MILES (yes, you read that right - THIRTY MILES!!!!), I had finished just about all of both of the bottles. Compare that to last week's ride that was only about 17 minutes shorter and I barely drank half of one bottle. That is a huge difference.

Averaged 14.3 MPH and my fastest mile was the 27th at 16.9 MPH! Amazing!!

What I noticed the most is that I didn't have that feeling now and then like my legs weren't going to make it. Yes, I had some miles that were faster than the others, but nothing like I had experienced at this trail before. Those first 5 miles that had been so slow previously were a more typical pace for me. I did have a couple of miles where I felt like I wasn't moving efficiently, but I wasn't warmed up, either.

Now I can see why people enjoy riding bikes for long rides! LOL Just like I didn't understand before I got my new bike why anyone would want to ride at all because it hurt me so much, now that I fueled properly, I understand why people would enjoy riding for a few hours! It really is pleasant! Also, I'm sure that my increased time in the saddle has to be contributing to that as well. I'm noticing that I am not having as much difficulty with The Queen as I used to have. Not even today when I got to the park and realized that my period had started and I was completely unprepared for it (sorry to any guys that might be reading! LOL). I was really afraid it was going to really bad for The Queen but it wasn't too bad. I kept needing to scoot back on my saddle, and that positioning helped with both my pedaling and The Queen. Still, I would like to find something that I can carry with me for The Queen that I can reapply easily at the trail or mid-ride. My "Hoo Ha Ride Glide" bottle is too large to carry with me. Hmm, while getting the link, I just noticed that they offer little travel packs that you carry in your pocket. That might be a good option - they are a little pricey, but maybe I can find a deal since I like the stuff so well!

So that's my two hour ride report! I still can't believe that I did it!! Tomorrow is my long run, and then the peak of training will be done and it'll be time to taper!! :) The tri is 2 weeks from today!