Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back on track

Yesterday, I survived my first track workout post ankle sprain despite the heat/humidity and lovely aroma of manure! Freeman was fertilizing the football field so that was an added bonus. So refreshing. I wanted to puke before the workout even started. Not good.

Karen, of course, made it a tough work out but the Pro-K crew made it much better and kinda fun. (in a weird bryan-deal-kinda way) We did some 800s, descending by every 400, some relays and then a timed mile. The ankle felt OK but I didn't want to push it much. It felt great to be back out there and sweat like that even though I was pretty whiny before going. Ok I was A LOT whiny but I sucked it up anyway.

On Sunday, I did about 11 miles with Millie and Gertie and it was amazing. No ankle sprains or surprise dog attacks were involved this time. I finally felt normal running again. Running is truly my happy place. I can plug in the Ipod (don't judge me) and get in a zone and work out all my thoughts/concerns/worries. Not much makes me happier than waking up early(ish) on Sunday and running through RVA with M & G. There is no pressure, no one asking me questions no worrying about checking the Garmin. Just me and my tunes and sight of the girls' happy, wagging tails just makes me smile. Plus, any run that starts with 'baby got back' is going to be a good run!

Still working on teaching the dogs the importance of negative splits but they aren't catching on very well...

Also, new to this year is YOGA and more massages! I'm fortunate with my job that I am pretty much moving all day. I stretch a lot and don't spend much time sitting down. Last year, I cursed everyone who had a desk job. All I wanted to do at work last year was just sit down and rest my legs. This year, I'm embracing the fact that I'm up moving and getting used to being on my feet for 12+ hours a day. 

After running Sunday, I did a yoga class with the very fit and talented yogi, Becka. It was amazing and I must make this a weekly routine. I'm also getting more frequent massages this year to keep the legs less tight and injury free. Between Becka, Randy-the-butt-man and Carole, my flexibility will improve damnit!

I also committed to going to the Wintergreen TortureFest at the end of July. This scares me, of course, because where there are hills and climbs, there are huge descents. By then, I hope to be even more comfortable on my bike. Lynn told me to put on my big girl panties (love her, she's awesome) and I intend to do just that. It gets on my nerves that I'm such a wuss about descending and it's kinda starting to piss me off. So I'm just going to suck it up and go for it.

I can't believe it has been almost an entire year since IMCDA. I remember it like it was yesterday and I can not wait until IMFL! Though judging by yesterday and the rest of the week, it's gonna be a long hot summer!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

fallin in love..

with my bike of course! Over the past couple of weeks I've had some pretty great and not so great bike rides. I'm trying hard not to do too much comparing of last year and this year IM training but it's pretty much inevitable that it will happen. Especially when it comes to the bike. I guess in order to move forward it is important to, every now and then, look back.

My days of triathlon started the day my good friend Beave said "let's do a triathlon". Without much hesitation, I agreed. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I went into a local bike shop which shall remain unnamed and bought the first bike the bike shop dude brought out. HUGE MISTAKE!! It was a pretty Cannondale Synapse Road bike. Carbon fork, aluminum frame, shimano components blah blah blah. I didn't know what any of that was but needless to say, it was not the bike for me.

I continued on said bike for 3 summers. At the end of each summer, the bike was unceremoniously tossed into my office and collected dust until Karen told me I HAD to get on it. You could say I neglected the Cannondale but it made me suffer. And not suffer in they way I've come to kinda enjoy on the bike. I was so uncomfortable. Bike guru, Les, gave me a fit that I'm pretty sure was the only thing that kept me from picking up the bike and throwing it in a ditch.

I admit, last year I dreaded getting on the bike and sometimes even cried. I found myself asking myself why I was even doing triathlons if I hated the longest part of most distances. Nonetheless, I stuck with it. I remember one particularly rough day at West Creek Karen said to me, "well you aren't fast but at least you're tough". This be the truth. Come to find out that the unnamed bike shop sold me a bike that was TWO SIZES TO SMALL. No wonder I look like a giant in all my race pictures:)

I do not blame this bike shop, (much) but it just makes me that much more grateful for the bike I have now. I'm happy to report that the Cannondale has been sold to an unlucky UVA student. Ha, good luck  with that! mwahaha

Getting off the bike at IMCDA was the best feeling ever and the cutest old bike catcher man took the Cannondale away from me, after I gave him a huge hug. Poor guy. I was tempted to leave it in transition but just couldn't do it because I had already paid a shit ton to TriBikeTransport to have it sent back to RVA.

Anyways, back to this year. Last Thursday, training peaks said to do a "hilly ride". This means Miller Lane out in Goochland. I started with the fast people and actually took the pull for a good stretch. Last year, I would not have attempted this because they intimidated the mess outta me. They dropped me going down hill which is no surprise but the important thing is that I tried.

Last Saturday, training peaks said "flat, fast 2 hours" .  Again, I went out with people who are much faster than I am and learned a tough lesson. Last year, because I never pushed myself on the bike, I never really had to pay much attention to nutrition. Now that I'm actually trying to push myself, I have to drink and eat. Well I didn't and paid the price. I kept up as much as I could but it wasn't pretty.

Today, I headed out to Lake Anna with a group to do an OWS and then bike. I did about 2 miles sans wetsuit then hopped on the bike for a 60 mile round trip ride. The first 30 miles, I hung with the fast peeps for a while but then they flew off. I trudged along and felt pretty good. We re-grouped after the first 30 and headed back to Lake Anna. I was able to stay with them the entire time. Yes, they were soft pedaling more than they usually do but I didn't drop off even though I wanted to at times! I have to stop being such a sissy on the downhills and I must get more comfortable eating and drinking on the bike.

But when I look back on how bad last year was, I feel excited about the potential this year! I think I can take some time off my bike split now that I'm happy and comfortable on it.  I'm so lucky to have such positive and skilled people around me! Here are some of 'em!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello Quads! One month down, 5 to go!

Soo, I have not been on top of the blog as much as I would have liked to have been! However, I now have a spankin' new lap top so that WILL change. I'm going into training this year with a different perspective and want to keep track of it all!

I've got a month of IMFL training under my belt and this year I'm actually tracking what I do on training peaks. The breakdown thus far:

- Bike: 17.73 hours
- Swim: 8.67 hours
- Run: 7.66 hours (not enough)
- Strength training: 6 hours (not enough but 6 hours more than last year!)

Anyone who has known me > 5 minutes knows that cycling is not my favorite! Last year, I had a love/hate relationship with the bike. I loved when I got off the damn thing and started running and pretty much hated every second I was on it. I'm happy to report that this has been remedied by the wise purchase of a new road bike!

BH Cristal Road Bike = much better for Mere than the old Cannondale!  I'd never really heard of BH before this season. I went to see Shawn @ Blue Ridge Cyclery to try out some of the Trek Madone WSD but tried this one out first. It's safe to say it was love at first ride.  Also safe to say that my crotch is now a carbon fiber snob and will not ride on anything else. I can ride over potholes and not feel a thing! yay for carbonfiber.

I may be the only person at IMFL on a roadie BUT at least I will be comfortable riding my new beloved BH. I shall name her Bruiser! We had a great bonding time during the Cap-to-Cap 100 miler. I rode 100 miles during my first month of IM training and ENJOYED it!! Huge progress!

So there is no question that the swim and run are my favorite! I'm feeling pretty decent in the water even though I haven't swam much since CDA last year. I'd like to MAYBE increase swimming from 2 x/week to 3x/week. That may change though as the weeks get harder.

My run doesn't feel quite as strong as it did at this point last year. I ran 2 marathons in the "off" season and felt pretty good but so far for IM training I haven't run much because of an medial ankle sprain. When it initially happened, I thought I'd fractured it and I'd kinda accepted that I may be doing  a LOT of aqua-jogging this year. The x-rays looked good though except now I know that I have an extra bone in my foot. Cool, as long as it's not fractured.

I went on my first outside run this morning with the girls, took it easy and felt pretty good. The longest I've run so far was 13.1 for Monticello Man relay aka the hilliest half-marathon ever. Thank GOD I wasn't doing the bike on that too! The 54 mile bike ride the day before was more than enough for my quads which, by the way, are starting to get HUGE again! I blame Bruiser :)

Looking on to Month #2, my goals will be
1.) Continue to become more comfortable on the bike and descending/handling etc.
2.) Be Consistent with Track (actually go when not injured)
3.) Hit the gym and not just what I do at work with patients
4.) Be patient with my run, I'll get it back