Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Keep going, Rosanne

I’m not sure why I haven’t written much; just keep on keeping on, I guess.


Training is fine.  I feel like its turned down a notch—or two, or three.  Or maybe I’m just getting used to it. Today I only had a 4000yd swim and will do some core work.  "Only."  But, no, I know the volume is down.  It’s hard not to be anxious about it..but I trust my coach.  That, and there’s literally no point it stressing about it.  The only thing is the bike—I am hardly biking at all these days, and I already knew I needed to work on that.


But, I’m trying to keep at it.  Trying not to compare my training to everyone else and seeing they have 18 hours and I have 12; trying not to worry about it.  Trying to just focus on what I’m supposed to do and block out the rest.  It’s mostly working.


And, I’ve seen evidence of it, if I’m being honest.  On Friday, I had a 3 hour run.  Yes, a run.  For three hours.  I’ve never run that long/far (consecutively) except for during the marathon I did last year.  Even training for that, I would split up my runs (2 hours in the morning, another hour at night, etc).  So I was intimidated, I was worried, I was straight-up not looking forward to it.  I knew it was mental training, I knew my coach gave me that run for a reason, and I knew I would do it..but I fully expected it to suck, to fall apart, to be a battle.


It was hands-down the best long run ever.


I was supposed to not run at race pace, so I let myself shoot for 8:45s.  Nice and easy.  I had a sip of water every 2 miles and a gu every 4 (trying to get the fueling schedule right!! and mile increments is better than time, since I intend to live off the course).  I kept waiting and waiting to feel worse.  I kept expecting it.  I kept having to slow myself down.  Especially the second half!  I would realize I was running 8:10 which is close to what I expect my IM race pace to be (or even a little faster than what I expect it to be).  I remember around mile 17 of the Vancouver marathon is when I started to realize I was getting tired.  Mile 17 came and went, and I still felt awesome, just the same as when I had started.  Just keep running!  I remember mile 20 of that marathon is when I hit the wall and was convinced I was done, and the last few miles were a miserable struggle.  But mile 20 came, right around 2:50, and…I still felt great!  I finished at just over 21 miles, and honestly wanted to keep running.  I felt like I could keep running forever.  Everything felt spot on.  Yes, I was tired, but nothing worse than..running.  For further consideration: the marathon took me about a month to recover from.  This time, I was pretty much fully recovered from the 21 mile run in about 48 hours (and nothing more than a little stiff and sore, and extra sleepy for a day).


So yes, it was a “slower” run, but it was easy.  I know I could have run it stronger.  And now I know I can run easy and not even have those mental battles.  I was so, so happy and proud of myself for that run—not necessarily because of the time or distance, but because everything was 100% spot on.  I could have drank a little more water, will probably increase to a sip every mile because I got thirsty at the very end, but the nutrition was finally, finally spot-on.  My stomach was able to handle it, I wasn’t overloading it with gu, but I stayed juuuuust ahead of any crashes and felt perfectly fueled and steady the entire time.  No ups and downs.  About time I got that right!


So, maybe my training  volume is down.  Maybe I’m not doing as many intense workouts as everyone else.  But if nothing else, that was quantitative proof that I have improved over last year ;)  So, maybe I need to chill out.  I’m happy with my running.  Really happy with it, actually, as long as I can actually run the same way off the bike.  I also survived my first open water swim of the season, with only mild panic attacks.  I know with a few more I’ll get used to it.  The swim will be stressful (understatement, I'm already freaking out), but I am confident I will survive, and therefore, I am happy with my swimming.


Worried about the bike.  Worried about nutrition on the bike.  Worried about wearing myself out on the bike.  I need to be on my bike more.  No, calm down, Rosanne!


We went downhill mountain biking on Memorial Day, too.  Which was amazing :)  Josh and Kyle are the best/worst influences, and I had so much fun chasing them around and, you know, riding the NW Cup DH course, no big deal.  I won’t be doing any more DH until after ironman (not risking getting hurt now that it's a month out), but it was a really, really fun way to spend the day off and I’m happy we went.  A nice change.  I love new things!


But now it’s a weekday again, and I’m a triathlete again.  Honestly, I know I’m getting burnt out.  Which is funny, considering I just spent the last million paragraphs talking about feeling like I'm not doing enough.  But I’m just...tired of it.  I love it!!  But I’m also tired of it.  I know this is totally expected; I remember my coach told me back in December, “about 1 month out, you’re going to start to hate me, and not feel like doing your workouts, and you’re going to be so sick of triathlon and be tired of it and just want to do something else.  But just do it.  You’ll be fine.  It’s a normal feeling, and it will all be worth it.”  So, I'm just going with it.  My coach says swim, I swim, even though I found myself daydreaming this morning (on the way to the pool) about July, when maybe I can just…not get up and not go swim!  And just…do nothing.  But of course, I will be doing something, because I can’t sit still.  So, who knows.  On the other hand, I couldn’t be more excited about CDA, so…I don’t know.  Keep on keeping on, I suppose.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kirkland Mother's Day Half Marathon - 2015

Well, I did another half marathon.  I think I have finally lost count.  I mean, if I stop and think about it, I think this was #6.  Maybe #7, I feel like there was another one last year.  But anyway.  Not that that’s a ton, but it’s just funny for it to seem so normal now.  In fact, it hardly felt like I had a race coming up, it was just another long run that I guess I was going to have to wake up early to do.


Anyway!  It was in downtown Kirkland, which was nice—I love local events, so much easier!  We picked up Mac and Kyle on the way (Kyle decided to run it the day before, go figure), and drove to the start.  One unique thing was that this was actually a point-to-point race, which I guess is only the second time I’ve done one like that (the other being the Vancouver marathon last year).  So, Allen parked and hung out for us for a while (including in line for the porta-potties…seriously, who only puts TEN porta-potties at the start of a race?!?!) and then left to go park/meet us at the finish.


We did a quick little jog, I was wearing new shoes so I was obsessing over the lacing, we stood around and waited…then waited some more, because they acutally delayed the start a bit to try to let the porta-potty line get a little shorter.  It was pretty chill, a very nice, local feel, but a pretty big crowd actually.  The start was at Northwest University, so that was kind of neat—not in the middle of a city street, or anything.


Anyway, after a very quick count-down, we were off!  Oh shoot.  Time to start running…


I wasn’t really feeling like running.  I had planned for a long time to try to race this race, but I just didn’t feel like it.  I knew it would be tough.  I certainly didn’t taper, much less rest for it, and I even ran hard on my “easy” run the day before (Kyle and I are incapable of running together without egging each other on and running faster and faster.  Oops).  Needless to say, my legs were not exactly feeling the freshest they’ve ever felt.  Plus, I knew that I have not been training for that kind of running; I’ve been training to run far, and steady, and fast obviously but the focus is on sustainability.  Like 8:10-8:30/mile, most likely, if not slower.


For my goal of a 1:35 finish, I wanted a 7:10/mile average….for the full 13.1.  Well, I needed like a 7:15 but distance is always a little longer etc etc so I had 7:10 in my head.


Anyway, I knew very well that it would likely backfire, but I needed to try.  I needed to go for it, and push myself, and see where I was.  I knew there was a hill about halfway, but they kept making sucha big deal about the “net downhill” of the course that I was hoping I could just make up a little extra along the way.


Luckily, it started with lots of downhill.  I took FULL advantage of it.  I wanted to bank as much time as possible right away.  I think my first mile was a 6:47, second mile was up a bit, then third was down… I was keeping track of my time deficit in my head and by around mile 5, I think I had like 1:23 in “spare” time.


Then it all went downhill.  Not literally.  Literally, it went uphill.  It was a long, slow, gradual climb up to the actual hill, and I put me way over my target pace.   Then the actual hill happened and seriously what the heck is it with me and hills, lately?!  I used to kill it on the hills!  They were my strength!  I could pass everyone on hills!  On the plus side, this hill was very reminiscent of the CDA hill (very steep and just kept on going) so I sat there telling myself to suck it up, keep my head down, quicken my cadence and just get up the dumb thing.  I did pass a person or two, but I got passed by another guy with the m-dot tattoo and then he just kept opening up the gap and got away, so I sat there fuming about how if maybe I were a real ironman athlete, I would be able to do that, too.


Anyway, I was hoping that once we got to the top, and back onto the trail, things would all be downhill to the finish (this time literally).  Unfortantely, that trail just never feels very fast, and I was spent.  I could not for the life of me maintain anything less than a 7:30 pace, and honestly, a 7:40-7:50 was a struggle.  I started getting passed.  A lot.  I kept trying to hang on to people when they passed me, and it would work for a good 30 second then..nope.  Just not happening.  I was “that girl,” who went out too hard and was getting passed.   Rookie move.  Oh well.


I started to re-evaluate.  I finally gave up doing the math on how far I was behind at around mile 9 because I knew there was no way I was making it up at that point.  Even hitting 7:15s wasn’t happening.  I was annoyed, but not destroyed.  I shifted my mindset, and started thinking about just maybe a PR.  I needed to be faster than 1:37:59, that’s all.  I started thinking about ironman a lot, actually.  I started taking inventory of how I felt, of my mindset as well as my physical body.  I realized that as dumb as it was, this was actually a really awesome training opportunity.  I’m not going to fool myself into thinking the 26.2 at the end of on ironman will feel good, and I knew this was about as close as I was going to get to simulating that before race day.  It’s been a long time since I really pushed myself, and I don’t intend to do so again until June 28, so I started focusing on that.  Staying out of my head and not getting negative, focusing on what I needed to do, etc etc.  My body just did not want to move any faster, no matter what I tried and no matter how much I wanted to.  I “needed” to, but I just “couldn’t,” and I am 100% positive I’ll be feeling that next month :)  In hindsight, it was a really great training opportunity, and I can happily say that I took advantage of it, learned a lot, and am pleased with how I handled it.


Anyway, the course kept dragging on and on.  I knew we had to be turning off the trail soon.  Finally we did.  The road to the boardwalk took forever.  Even running downhill, I was barely hitting 7:10!  I got passed running downhill.  I was a mess.  I also forgot to mention how much my stomach was hurting—I literally spent the last few miles thinking about how excited I was to see a porta-potty at the finish.  No one ever said this whole acing thing was glamorous, did they?


The funny thing is that the finish was (roughly) the same finish as the Kirkland triathlon—which was my first triathlon, which I did again last year, etc etc.  So the very end of the run course (~1 mile or less) was the same.  Amazing the difference!  The tri is a sprint, and despite how hard I pushed myself last year, I was just not nearly as worn out as I was now.  So I had all those feelings, knowing how it felt to be running that boardwalk to a finish line, and still couldn’t make myself move any faster!


Rounding the corner, the last few blocks, I kept checking my Garmin.  It was going to be close.  Really close.  I wans’t 100% sure where the finish line was, just knew roughly, and of course it was around one last corner so I couldn’t see it until I was right on it.  I saw my watch hit 1:37:00 and remember thinking “ok, where is that finish line, I need to get to it like literally right now….” And there it was!  Allen was at the finish and taking photos, it’s funny I’m so smiley looking happy in them because I was not feeling it!  But finally, I was done.  Official time of 1:37:29, meaning I got a whopping 30-second PR.  :P  (side note: my last PR was at Seattle, which is very hilly and considered somewhat challenging, and I’m super proud of that time.  This was a MUCH easier course, so yeah I was a few seconds faster, but I kind of feel like it’s not nearly as good.  Oh well.  I guess I should just accept it!)


Found Allen and Kyle’s mom, who was there for Mac and Kyle.  Got a text from Mac saying someone had collapsed and passed out on the course in front of her, and she and Kyle (who caught up) were there helping him, etc. so they would be finishing later.  That is why you have your phone with you when you race!!  This was Kyle’s first half marathon (and longest run) back since having open heart surgery just 5 months ago, AND he just kind of decided to wing it the day before.  He “should” have been fine, but if he had been 20 minutes late without any of us knowing, we would have all been really, really worried that something had gone wrong.  So that was really, really good that she was able to let us know.  Also, the guy who collapsed had his phone with him, which was set up with all this MedicalID information.  That is just as important!  They were able to immediately (after calling 911) use his phone to find out who his wife was to call her (who also happened to be running, and was a couple miles behind).


Anyway, they finally made it to the finish, about 20 minutes later than expected.  The unexpected break hurt them (cooling off for that long, then having to run again), Kyle was bonking and Mac decided to just run him in.  Which was great, of course :)  I am so, so proud and happy that he did the half, regardless of anything else!  I was so happy to have him there at the start line with Mac and I, mostly just because it meant things are getting better and he was able to.


Post-race, my stomach was not happy and got worse throughout the day.  But that’s whatever.  It did remind me I need to figure out better bike nutrition though, so am working on some new fueling plans for IM race day.


All in all, it was a good morning and fun with friends.  Despite the fact that it was really, really poorly executed, I guess I still did get 1st in my age group and 9th female overall, so I guess I should quit complaining :) It was a “good race,” I just know that I was not pretty, and definitely not the way I want to race again.

Friday, May 8, 2015

CDA Recon = Good, This Week = Bad

You’d think I would have written about our CDA recon trip sooner, but this week just..sucked.


The weekend was wonderful, but then on Monday, there was a last-minute decision to put my family’s cat, Shadow, to sleep :(  It was a long time coming, she had been really sick for almost 2 years and no one expected her to hang on that long.  It was just an unfortunate circumstance and kind of “rushed” and stressful, but I know it was the right choice.  Needless to say though, that kind of ruined that day (and the rest of the week, being depressed about it).


Tuesday was just long, with workouts in the morning because of a wedding to go to in the evening, which just meant a long day.


Wednesday was depressing again (thinking about Shadow too much) and then got hit with a migraine in the afternoon.  I’m “lucky” in that they really only last a couple hours, and I managed to get home, sleep a bit, and wake up feeling better in time to still get outside on the bike.  My hill repeats weren’t the best and I only did 5 instead of 7 because by then I was really running out of daylight, but at least I still did some.  But, it did really mess up my plans (changed my route, etc etc etc) and then of course I didn’t get home and to bed until late.


Thursday was an early, early morning with a swim and run before work, because Mac and I had hair appointments in Silverdale at 4 hahaha.  I know, super high priority!  Hey, it’s the little things that make a big difference.  It was great to catch up with Heather, and fun that we both did it together, and REALLY NICE to finally fix my hair!  It was turning brown.  Gross.  Now it’s back to dark black with some tints and….blue on the bottom ;) very subtle, can only see it a bit in the right light, but I really, really needed a change before  I went crazy (and also I hate brown).  So, I feel infinitely better.  Of course now it’ll fade fast with all the silly swimming and chlorine, but..whatever.  Anyway, after everything was said and done, it was a good day but not home until after 10pm…and when you leave home at 430am, that’s just a long time.


Swam this morning, getting ready to head out and do a loop around Lake Washington after work, per coach’s instructions.  I am just…tired.  Not even training-tired (although I have to say, I was SUPER SORE yesterday, oh my gosh what is wrong with me), but just tired-tired.  Too many 4 and 5am alarms in a row, after late nights.


And through all this, Allen was gone all week.  So it was a lot of me rushing around and trying to do things and not lose my head thinking about Shadow (I was unsuccessful on this, I’ll admit).


ANYWAY!  Coeur d’Alene!


Because it really was great, I promise :)


I am so, so glad that we went over and saw/did the course.  Such a huge help!  The bike course is…nice.  I guess it’s super different than the old course, which is what Mac knew, but oh well, I kind of liked it.  The “big hill” is…well it’s a big hill, I guess, but nothing to be scared of!  It’s just a nice seated climb for 2+ miles, but you just spin spin spin it out.  I guess if you never ride hills it’s a big deal, but honestly it’s much less steep than the hills right around here (although it is longer), so that was good.  Not to say I wasn’t super slow, especially the second time we did it.  I want to be 10-12mph up that thing, and I was more in the 8-10mph range.  So, nothing to laugh at, but I definitely don’t need to freak out too bad about it now.  The rest of the hills are more rolling up and down, and again—just spin spin spin.  Aboslutely nothing anywhere that I would even consider getting out of the saddle for.


The downhills though…geez.  I guess they have to be a little steep, because you go flying down them!  I spun out once or twice and hung on for dear life.  I definitely could have gone faster but I was freaked out quite enough, thank you very much.  I tried to stay aero as much as I could but for the big one, now way.  I am just way too much of a baby.  I think I only maxed out at around 37mph.  Which is scary, considering that’s about what I crashed at last year.  Don’t think about that, Rosanne!  Anyway, the bike was amazing.  Handling was great, absorption of everything on the road was fantastic, super solid and grounded…definitely the right choice, and I am so, so glad that I got it :)   It’s exactly what I was hoping it would be, even the fit is what I wanted!  I’m more on top of the bike and can have a better pedal stroke, and my shoulders feel more stable.  Super happy with it.


What else?  Oh, wind.   So maybe THAT is the biggest thing.  We did the second loop on Hwy 95 later in the day (probably around the time I’ll be on it) and the wind had picked up…yikes.  It wasn’t having the wind slow me down that the was the problem—the problem was just getting blown around!!  I’m already scared going downhill, now add heavy wind and side gusts?  No thanks.  On the other hand, I’m “glad” it was like that, because it forced me to get some really good practice and goodness knows I need to experience it as much as possible in order to get more comfortable in it.  The wind here just doesn’t feel the same—it’s usually just a stiff headwind or tailwind, not as much tossing you around in a wide open space.  So that’ll be fun to deal with (mentally).


Run course is the same as part of the bike course.  Ironically, I’m more worried about the run now than before.  We did one loop of it on Sunday, and I was beat.  Mac was pulling me along at an 8:50 pace and I would have fallen behind more if she had let me ;)  Just sad.  Also, the hill on the course is dumb.  That’s one thing I had always heard people say, and I’m actually pretty darn good at running hills if I do say so myself, so I wasn’t too worried about it.  Boy was I wrong.  It a LONG hill, and it’s pretty decently steep for running, and it has a weird off-camber corner, and did I mention it’s long?  To make it even worse, it comes at halfway on the loop—meaning you run all the way up this hill, all the way down the other side….then turn around and have to go up and down it again.  And two loops means you come back and do it all over again after that!  I dunno man, we’ll see.


I do believe on race day I’ll be able to run better.  I want to be closer to an 8:20 average pace on the run if I can, but we’ll see.  I’ll be more inspired on race day, that’s for sure, and the race environment will help…we’ll see :)


Mac made me get in the lake to “ice my legs” and I will grudgingly admit it helped prevent soreness…but holy cow that’s cold, and you better believe I complained and moaned and made a big deal about how freezing it was.  I  honestly don’t know how people do that on a regular basis!

Friday, May 1, 2015

CDA, here we come!

I can’t decide if this week went by super quickly, or super slowly.  Either way, I guess I’m glad it’s Friday! :)
Honestly, this week was mostly spent worrying about my new frameset, so the training part was a bit of a blur.  Not huge volume—think I’m at ~6 hours right now.  A few swims, a run, a bike and some core work.   Funny how 6 hours in 3 days (yesterday was rest day) now seems like “really nothing much.”  Plus, I'll get plenty done this weekend.
Anyway, frameset!   It finally arrived!  Argon 18 E-116.  After falling in love with how the Krypton rides, and knowing I could really benefit from a more stable-feeling tri bike, I’m so so so happy I managed to get this frame!  However—I thought I would have it early last week, giving me plenty of time to get it built up.  Instead, I didn’t get it until Wednesday, and then finally had time Thursday to have Kyle build it up!  Which would I guess be OK, except that Mac and I are heading over to CDA this afternoon to see/train on the course!!  I know it wouldn’t be the end of the world to take the BMC if I had to, but I really, really wanted to have the new bike to experience it.  I am so, SO thankful for good friends who drop everything to make sure I’m taken care of :)
I still have new bars on the way which will help with the whole stability/steering thing, but they aren’t here yet so old bars it is!  Not a big deal, though—the new frame is the biggest thing.  I am really, really looking forward to 1) riding the new bike, duh!, and 2) riding the CDA course!!   I have read everything on the face of the earth talking about the course, which of course means I’ve read everything from “oh my gosh, it’s so steep, it’s soooooo hard” to “ehhh not that bad, just spin, what's the big deal about it?”  I’m taking everything I read with a grain of salt, of course, so it’ll just be really good for me mentally to see it and actually ride it.  The biggest thing will be to just take it easy and NOT freak out about it feeling hard right now—Shawn even texted me earlier telling me not to get mental about it if it seems hard, because there are still 2 months of training to go.  So, that’s good that my coach has acknowledged I may not feel ready yet, and that it’s perfectly ok!  Now to just keep that in mind this weekend...
On Sunday I think we’ll run at least part of the run course too, which will also be good.  A lot less worried about the run, but will be good to just get eyes on it.  Weather looks fantastic in Eastern Washington/Idaho for the weekend, so I’m really looking forward to it!  Plus, some good girl-time and training time.  We’re also meeting Sam there, who is also little Miss Ironman Extraordinaire, so will be good times for sure!  I will definitely soak up all the knowledge from both Mac and Sam, who are both super talented and experienced athletes.
Now to pack, get some last-minute bike tuning/finishing done, and hit the road!