Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Have you seen my "why"???

So, I still cannot find motivation to race Ironman 70.3 Raleigh in June, and yesterday was the day to begin training. Since I was driving home from a whirlwind weekend in Disney World with my mom, I obviously did not begin training. And today I had to return to working (both the home education job and the fit specialist job) so I chose a little extra sleep over training.

But tomorrow, it's time to start the training. Yep, even without the "why"! I don't even know if I will compete in Raleigh, but I am going to train like I will. I enjoy the swimming and the cycling and the running. At least, I enjoy them in the small doses that I can enjoy during the early phases of base training. I'll see how it goes as the training ramps up.

I'm going to use a new training plan that I found in this book given to me by my IronMentor:

I'm going to use the Intermediate Plan - the other options were "Just Finish" and "Competitive". Well, obviously I'm beyond "Just Finish" but especially in my current frame of mind, I'm not ready for "Competitive"! LOL

I chose this training plan because I felt like the Super Simple plan I used for the two times I did Augusta lacked enough saddle time and had far too few brick workouts. This plan has two brick workouts each week - one not longer than an hour at the most. It only has two swim workouts, though, which seems very strange to me, but we'll see how it goes. I will probably try to add in an Open Water Swim as often as I can manage it!

I'm not sure what to expect as I begin this training. I don't know if I'll stick with it or if I will want to go back to shorter workouts. Maybe I will take on a few sprint tris this year and see if I can improve my time. I'm just not sure I'm up for 5 hour workouts right now. Maybe during the summer? Maybe I'll focus on RyanMan 70.3? I just don't know.

I'm still looking for my "why"...

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Race Report: Dopey Challenge 2018

So it's been 3 weeks since I completed the Dopey Challenge, and I know the Race Report is long since overdue! But as you know if you follow my Facebook page, I came down with the flue immediately after completing the Challenge. And if you haven't had the flu this year, considering yourself lucky because it kicks your butt! I didn't feel right for nearly two weeks! I just started back into workouts this week, and even then it completely wears me out!

But let's get back to the purpose for this post: To let you know how the Dopey Challenge went!

It was "Practically Perfect in Every Way!" :D

Seriously! This will be the world's most ridiculous race report because I have nothing to complain about. Nothing I would do differently. I planned out each race, executed each plan, and everything went according to my plan! It was wonderful and fabulous and incredible! So basically what I'm going to do in this post is talk about the plan for each race and put up some of the race pictures and that's about it! :)

The 5K was on Thursday - it was so completely cold that for the first time ever, I drove to the race start so I could sit in the car! :D I fell in love with driving to the start and did it for the rest of the races! Even if the weather is warmer I will continue to drive to the start for future Disney races because it made getting back to the resort so much easier! I wasn't worried about pacing, since the course was fairly crowded, but BJ and I managed to run negative splits anyway! LOL

The 10K was on Friday and was every bit as cold! In fact, it was windier so it may have been colder! BJ and I decided to pace ourselves a bit better for this race so we threw in some run/walk intervals! We had run the 5K straight through. The pacing was a success and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly!

The Half Marathon was on Saturday and I was so glad I had brought extra running clothes with me. The weather was not warming up as much as the forecast predicted. I had planned to wear capris for the half marathon, but I ended up wearing long pants with a built in skirt! I had wanted to pick up the pace a bit for the half, and I was able to clock my fastest RunDisney half marathon ever!

Running up Main Street USA! It had been nearly 5 years since I've done that! 

I love my ponytail flying in this shot!

Doing some weird little hand thing with Spaceship Earth behind me!

My first time Running Through the Castle in 5 years!
The Full Marathon was Sunday! Not only was I feeling great, but I was incredibly excited! Everything had gone so smoothly all week (except for the crazy cold weather) and I was incredibly humbled and grateful for having come this far! Yet again I was glad I brought extra clothes.. I was planning to wear a skirt and short sleeve shirt with arm sleeves. Instead, I wore the unworn half marathon capris under the skirt and threw a quarter zip (that I got from the Brooks rep at work the day I left) over my short sleeve that just happened to match my planned outfit!

Running Through the Castle again - completely overcome with emotion!

Hollywood Studios, mile 21-22? Still with the quarter zip on,  but unzipped anyway! Starting to realize that I've got a big PR in my sights! And feeling SO good still!

Home stretch! Epcot and the quarter sip is off! LOL 

Almost there - feeling like I was flying! And according to Garmin, I was! Averaged 9:22 pace for the last half mile!

I'm sad that I missed seeing the photographer in Animal Kingdom! But I like this action shot!

More Hollywood Studios happiness!

Finish Line! Channeling my inner Shalene but not wanting to drop the F Bomb because I'm at Disney! But seriously feeling absolutely amazing at this finish line!
I really did do it! And we got these cool 25th anniversary Ears! :D
The only twinge I felt the entire race was in the home stretch through EPCOT. I had made a point to run straight through each of the parks. But in EPCOT, while I was doing that, my knee started to hurt so I stopped to walk for about 45 seconds. The pain subsided so I started running again and it never came back! Not even after the race!

I had an 11:30 Full Marathon PR! And, even better, I felt FANTASTIC after the marathon! (Well, until I started feeling sick which was later that afternoon. Started with a tickle in my throat which I attributed to breathing in the cold air! @@) But in terms of muscles, I felt incredible!

The only issue that I've been dealing with since the event is an utter lack of desire to ramp up training again. I had planned to take a full week off, but with being sick, I ended up taking almost 2 full weeks off. And this past week, while I have started back working out, it's only been short, easy workouts. I need to start building back some distance because my training for Ironman 70.3 Raleigh starts in two weeks. Sadly, I don't even feel the motivation to DO Raleigh. I'm not sure why! I assumed that, if Dopey went well, I would be super-charged and wishing I could do a 140.6 this year. Why is it just the opposite?? I'm going to explore these issues a little more in the next couple of weeks! I'd love some feedback if anyone has some insight to share! :)

Thanks so much for sticking with me in the training and for being patient waiting for this Race Report that's really lacking on report. LOL

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #13

The last full week of training! It's amazing how quickly it arrived! Due to the last race sim ending on a Wednesday, this week entailed the end of the 1st week of taper and the beginning of the 2nd week. Since it was also the week after Christmas, I really didn't notice very much because I was so busy doing other things!

Here is what the training for this week looked like:

Monday - planned rest day (Christmas)
Tuesday - 6 mile run
Wednesday - Pure Barre class; 45 minute swim
Thursday - planned rest day
Friday - 5 mile run; Pure Barre class
Saturday - 7.5 mile run
Sunday - planned rest day

As you see, I threw one final back-to-back run set in there. I just wanted to make sure the legs remember that they will have to keep working!

Christmas was lovely and I'm glad I worked my training schedule around to take the day off, even though Christmas with adult children is pretty quiet. It won't be too many more years before my kids may not be home with us at all on Christmas Day, so it was nice to just be around them while they were here.

Santa (aka Nana Claus) was very kind to me! I had sent two suggestions to her and received both of them, to my very pleasant surprise!

A triathlete's Christmas - HR monitor and waterproof ipod! :D
My wrist-based HR monitor died about a month ago and I really wanted to be able to use it for training on the Kickr. And I thought the waterproof Ipod would be fun for all of the long swim training I will have ahead of me doing TWO 70.3s in 2018! I will do in-depth reviews about each of these after the New Year! Right now, I've only used each once or twice and most of that time has been spent trying to figure them out! :D

My daughter who lives in Nashville also surprised me with gifts this year!

Embroidered towel and special Tennessee socks!
When she asked me for suggestions for Christmas, I had asked her for something that had to do with running in Nashville and/or Tennessee, since I've done a half marathon there now (and I've run with her there another time). But the catch was that it couldn't have the logo of a running store on it so that I'd be able to wear it in public! LOL Not as easy as it seems, you know! But she found it in these Swiftwick socks - that is the Tennessee flag! :) I didn't know until she told me - but now I do, and so do you! She also had my "name" embroidered on a Pure Barre towel! She's the whole reason that Pure Barre is in my life, so this is really cool!

The rest of the week was super busy but I managed to get my workouts in! The hardest day was when I ran and then went directly to Pure Barre. Ouch! I have done PB and then went directly to run and that wasn't a problem. I'll have to keep that in mind next time! The two activities are not easily switched!

Race week begins tomorrow! I have a short run in the morning with BJ, and then a short trainer ride Tuesday before work. The expo is Wednesday and the races begin on Thursday. I am taking my laptop with me and my plan is to write a race report each evening since I will be getting back to the room early. If I am unable to do that, I will at least be posting pics on my FB page: Running Through the Castle so please check there!

Thank you so much for following along with my training! I am so excited that the races are finally here! Happy New Year to all! Here is my Annual Mileage Report for anyone who is interested:

Swim - 67.04 miles
Bike - 1598.09 miles
Run/Walk - 1203.72 (pretty sure that's my first time over 1000 miles of running!)

Here's to a wonderful 2018 for everyone! :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #12

It was race simulation week and I couldn't have asked for it to go better!

Monday - Race Simulation, Day #2 (6 mile run)
Tuesday - Race Simulation, Day #3 (12 mile run)
Wednesday - Race Simulation, Day #4 (16 mile run)
Thursday - planned rest day
Friday - Pure Barre Class; 45 minute swim
Saturday - 6 mile run
Sunday - 60 minute TrainerRoad workout; Pure Barre Class

I tried to treat this as much as I could as a true race simulation, down to the clothes and shoes I was wearing. No, I did NOT wake up at 2 AM each morning. Even that's a bit over the top for me! LOL

My goal was to test out pacing and see if I would be able to continue to keep up the next day. To my pleasant surprise, I was! And this time, for the first time, I got to the end of my marathon training plan and I am NOT injured. In the last mile of my last run, I was fighting back the tears. I really believe the difference has been the focused strength training that I have added through taking Pure Barre classes. It's an expensive addition to my training budget, but if it keeps me healthy then it's worth it! And since I enjoy it (mostly afterwards... during the workout, I may not be thinking "enjoyable") then that's even better!

So, assuming that I continue to be healthy for another 9 days, I will arrive at the start of the Dopey Challenge uninjured! And then if I can make it through the first 3 races, I will arrive at the start of the marathon uninjured. For the first time ever. It's completely incredible!

Thanks to this last race simulation, I have a target pace for each race and I fairly good idea of the outfits I want to wear. The weather forecast keeps changing so my plan right now is to pretty much bring everything I own and go from there! This is one of the main reasons I chose to drive instead of fly, so I may as well take advantage of it!

Now I'm in taper which can be crazy but since it's a busy time of year anyway, I'm hoping that I won't go into a full Taper Madness. Maybe instead I'll be so busy and distracted that I'll just have a little bit of Taper Stupidity where I'm a bit distracted!?!

If you can believe it, I'm only a week away from heading down to Florida! And if you can believe it, I haven't even started packing! But I'm planning to get started later today! :) It's going to probably take awhile, thanks to my "pack all the things" philosophy!! LOL

Hope your holidays have been wonderful - and hope you got lots of fun goodies to help with your training! Here is what SantaNana (my mom and dad) got for me:

New HR monitor (left) and waterproof iPod for swimming (right)
My sweet daughter who is dancing in Nashville also got me a sweet gift: a Pure Barre sweat towel with my "name" embroidered on it, and a pair of running socks with the "Nashville TriStar" on them! She had to explain the significance of the socks to me because I wasn't sure about the logo! LOL But that makes them even more special to me!

My daughter gives the best gifts! :D
That's all for this week's training... one last training report will be coming next Sunday evening! Then it's Race Week! Happy Training!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Dopey Training, Week #11

This week was sort of a 'gap week' in my training. Due to having to back up my long run to Monday and having a big weekend of family events, I didn't start the prescribed "Race Simulation" until yesterday. So instead of having a 3 week taper, I'll have a 2 week taper which works better for me anyway!

Here is the overview of the week's training:

Monday - 17 mile run
Tuesday - planned rest day
Wednesday - 60 minute swim; Pure Barre class
Thursday - 9 mile run
Friday - 60 minute swim; Pure Barre class
Saturday - planned rest day
Sunday - Race Simulation, Run #1 (3 miles)

So, let's travel back in time to Monday's long run. Now, you may remember that I wasn't planning on going over 16 miles in training this time since that seems to be the tipping point for injury for me. The article I read that reinforced that this goal was sufficient actually indicated that a 3:00 long run was sufficient, which would put me right at 16 miles (like it did last week when I did a double long run). But this time it was a single long run and I wanted to try to push it a little bit more.

And I did! So when I hit 16 miles, I still had about 12 minutes to go. So I decided to run that extra mile. About a half mile into it, I started getting little twinges everywhere! LOL I tried not to panic and I almost stopped and walked back to the car, but it wasn't ever more than twinges. I focused on my form and kept going, and I was able to maintain the same pace. But I have to admit I was a bit freaked out. And to make it worse, when I got back to the car and checked my phone, I had a message from my massage therapist cancelling my afternoon's appointment. Ugh.

Tuesday was a planned rest day, and I worked - so I wore compression socks and my recovery sandals to work. Such is the benefit of working in a running store! I was able to use my foam roller and to stretch periodically when we didn't have customers in the store. I was still having twinges but nothing that concerned me too much. However, I had planned a run on Wednesday morning and I didn't think that was going to be smart. But that also meant that if I bumped my run back to Thursday morning it would have to be super early because I had to open the store. Luckily, BJ was willing to meet me in the dark on Thursday... so I switched everything around and prayed that my Thursday run would be OK.

The first mile or so was a bit iffy, but after that it was fine! I breathed a sigh of relief! I'm just trying to get to Dopey uninjured, darn it! LOL

I did two days of swimming for cross training instead of cycling...trying to take it easy on the legs. Pure Barre class also felt really good since I wasn't going to class in the evening after having run that morning! We did some moves that I couldn't do a month ago (of course, we also did a couple of new moves that I couldn't do - but I'm sure I'll get stronger and will be able to them at that time!). And I'm feeling much stronger in my core.

The YMCA decorated the swim lanes! I think the Life guard got a kick out of me asking to take a picture of it!

Weights, tube, and ball... the tools of a Pure Barre class! Looks easy, right? If you think that, come take a class with me!
Saturday was spent in the car driving to and from Nashville and then walking around Nashville two and from the ballet. But since I'll be driving down to Orlando and walking around the Expo the day before Dopey starts, I think that it was perfect for starting the Race Simulation! LOL Run #1 went very well - 3 miles not too easy but not too fast, either. That's the hardest part, I think - finding that balance! I'm getting so excited about Dopey and finishing the training gets me that much closer!

Oh, that reminds me... the corral placements came out last week, too! I'm in Corral D, which is a 4:30-5:00 marathon. I'm in the exact corral I should be in! Now all I need is for the weather to cooperate in Orlando! :D

Happy Training!! Be safe, friends!

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