Training Week: Aug. 26-Sept. 1

This was the first week I actually mostly almost completely followed the schedule I wrote out at the beginning of the week. Mostly. I don’t have a coach right now, primarily because Coach Mario is way busy, having a book published and flying all over the country giving talks and stuff, which is super awesome for him, but lame for me. I haven’t really decided if I want to go through the trouble of getting to know a new coach yet. But, mostly, I’m also having to wing my training some — will my foot hurt, will work have to get done, will I need to go to high school cross-country practice — and it’s easier to keep track of your own constantly changing obligations than trying to get someone else to keep track of them.

But, all that means that I also have been doing my classic bullshit: over-scheduling my training, getting exhausted, bailing on a bunch of stuff, feeling terrible about myself, deciding I’ll feel less terrible if I train a whole bunch, over-train. It’s a cycle. That’s why actually following my schedule this week (more or less) was a big deal.

Monday

Driving, flying, driving, flying.

Tuesday

Ran 5 miles easy with the high school kids.

Swam 800y easy. It was, you know, easing back into things.

Wednesday

Ran 4 miles easy with the high school kids. 10-15′ of core which included trying to do a plank for as long as possible. I lasted 3:30 or so. One of the kids did like 6′.

Biked the 14 miles back from where I was working to the high school, then home. Easy-ish.

Thursday

Masters in the morning: 2,800y, which included a whole bunch of 25s stroke, IMs, and then repeats of 50-100-50 with decreasing breathing during the 100y. I never quite understand why not breathing is a thing in swimming.

Ran a bit over 6 miles with the high school kids with 9 x hill repeats at varying levels of effort and speed.

Friday

TRX in the morning

3:10 ride in the afternoon. I did my most favorite Marin ride. It’s actually not the best ride or anything; there’s other cool, long rides. But, it’s the three-hour ride that always makes me feel good about three-hour rides. The last bit sucked, though, with all the cars, all the angry angry cars.

Saturday

Hot, shitty 7 miles on the side of the hot, shitty road at Steve’s bike race. That included two miles at 6:54, 6:59. And then pouring ice on myself and eating an off-brand It’s-It; I think it was called a This Is It.

Sunday

Swam 3,000y on my own. Made up a workout again of about 1,000y warm-up and drills. Then, 3 x [200 at tempo pace (on the 3:00 for me), 100 easy IM, 50 hard]. 300 pull. 5 x 100 at like steady threshold with little rest. Usually I do those at 1:23-1:25 on the 1:30, but sometimes when I’m in shape I can do them at 1:20 on the 1:25, but then the math gets really confusing and complicated, so it’s just easier to be slower. Cool down.

Rode 25 miles on the TT bike with Steve. I think. I didn’t have a computer on my bike or a watch, so when I did a few 1′ and 2′ hard efforts I just went off Steve telling me when to stop. He said he held about 240W on my wheel during the efforts, so that’s a plus. I think things are moving in the right-ish direction.

What Bike Racing Is Like…

Mostly, bike racing is really pretty much like this article. But, for the spectators and at the not exactly US Pro Challenge level, it also is a lot of standing on the side of roads in the middle of nowhere. Specifically, here:

Sort of by Challenge, CA?
Sort of by Challenge, CA?

Steve went around in a big circle for 4.5 hours and he went in those circles faster than everyone but two people. This meant that I sat in the “feed zone” for 4.5 hours and handed him water bottles. By “feed zone,” the race organizers meant a patch of dirt on the side of a road where they can put a few crates of water bottles that were discarded at the last weekend’s race and then refilled. This is called “Neutral Water.” It was handed out to cyclists by a weathered 50-year-old man and a soon-to-be-weathered 15-year-old girl, both of whom chain-smoked the entire time.

image
The Feed Zone.

I handed Steve his bottles. And, then I went for a run down the side of the road in between two of the laps — since it was taking them over an hour to do each 33-mile loops, what with the heat and the hills. I, however, didn’t quite think about the heat and the hills until I started running. At first, 20′ out easy was fine, then what was supposed to be 17′ tempo back turned into only 14′ + walk/shuffle. Which is basically almost the same thing.

The plan was to do marathon pace (7:00-7:10) on the way back. The first mile in 6:54 felt hard/ok. Then, I hit the kind of long rolling hills on an exposed hot road that don’t seem like a thing in a car, but are crippling when running. So, I made one of those deals that you make when a workout is going from good painful to if I pass out I hope someone will find me painful. I promised myself if I hit the second mile under 7:00, then I could stop. I hit 6:59 and started walking.

After I grabbed some water, I jogged the other direction for 10′ just to cooldown. But, then I turned around and realized I had just run downhill for 10′ in the sun.

The run back turned into a jog turned into a shuffle turned into a walk. The street sign I was aiming for up ahead kept moving farther away and, well, also it kept sort of moving. Sweat was dripping off my hair. The only reason I kept heading forward was because I was very worried I might not make it back to the feed zone before Steve did. I just barely made it and then poured some ice down my sports bra. By then, all the other wives and girlfriends and dads had left and it was just me and the chain smokers waiting.

They were 100% convinced I was insane. Though it’s also possible they didn’t even realize I had been sitting right next to them the whole time, because at one point the girl said, “Oh my god, that’s crazy, is there a running race going on too.”

Training: Aug. 12-18

My foot hurts. It’s supposed to be getting better, per doctor’s diagnosis, etc. It’s not. This is worrying.

Monday:

Off. I had vague intentions of getting lots of work done and getting ahead on all of the deadlines and projects I had coming up. Instead, I didn’t. I think I internet-stalked acquaintances (except not stalk, because that’s actually a real problem, so some other word).

Tuesday:

Masters – Whoa. People at practice were surprised/obviously-super-impressed I was there. I hung on for a 3,300y set that included 8 x [25 hard, 50 tempo, 100 same pace as 50]. We did it at 1:20 pace. This was, perhaps, over-ambitious.

Biked from ferry to office, home from ferry. Around 45′ of biking. Then, laid on the floor of the living room too tired to eat.

Wednesday:

Very exhausted from my HUGE swim effort the day before. Ran 5.5 miles so, so slowly. Did some drills after, while listening to this high school boy explain on the phone to some other (presumably) high school boy about how “she just needed to be respecting me more.”

Took a Body Align class, kind of like yoga, but not.

Then swam 1000y easy when I got home. Then, laid on the floor of the living room too tired to eat. Except, actually, I got really sick after I did eat. So, well. Lesson learned. No eating.

Thursday:

Tried to run, even though had been throwing up the night before. It did not go well. 6.5 nasty, terrible, awful, no good, very bad miles.

Friday:

Biked 1:45 on my time trial bike (I think, I didn’t have a computer on that bike, so it’s like it didn’t even count). Half with Steve, rest slower and by myself.

Mild core work, looked very similar to lying on the floor of the living room too tired to eat.

Swam 1000y easy.

Saturday:

TRI FOR FUN! Good race, good race practice. About 4.5 miles total running, 10 miles biking, and 1,800y or so swimming. About 4 hours of sleeping.

Sunday:

3,000y swim workout on my own — 1500y warm-up, 1000y for time as repeating 100-hard/100-easy, 500y cool-down with hella pulling. (Jen gave me that 1000y workout once, so I still do it every now and then)

I did NOT do my long bike ride. I did work instead. It was less fun.

Mildly discouraged, despite the race ‘victory.’ My foot — which never hurts WHILE I’m running — has been sore and aching all week. With being sick Wednesday night and cutting my Thursday workouts and being tired/swamped with work on Sunday and cutting my ride, I did way less than I intended. So far, this Ironman training thing is not off to such a great start.

 

 

Training Week: Aug. 5 – 11

After the last two weeks of actually doing stuff, topped off by the Marin Century last weekend, I deliberately intended to take this past week lightly and have a few easy/recovery days, so as not to overdo it in the first month I jump back into training. I did not, however, intend for it to be that light. That just happened because, I dunno, because I suck.

Monday:

REST! Except, my recollection of this day is that I actually worked two jobs in two different offices and barely made a hard deadline at like 10 p.m. and it was not restful.

Tuesday:

43′ run in the Sleepy Hollow-Terra Linda Open Space. Easy and, dare I say it, pleasant.

Wednesday:

1,000y easy swim, which is so short so as to almost not even count as a workout, but I also was up at 6:30 a.m. in search of Cronuts, so you know, shit happens.

Thursday:

Bike 25′ from office to Crossfit, Crossfit, bike 45′ home from Crossfit.

The Crossfit workout was 5 x [800m run — except, like, really, I don’t accidentally run 2:45 800s when I’m uptempo jogging, so I’m pretty sure calling it an 800m was overly optimistic, 30 kettlebell swings, 30 pull-ups].

Obviously, since I can do a grand total of four pull-ups normally, I did those with a resistance band for support in order to get through them. The only problem was that since no one in Crossfit knows how to run I was finishing each round way ahead of everybody else. Also, no one in Crossfit understands pacing — side point. On the third time through, then, the instructor told me to go up in weights to slow me down and I tried to explain that the weights weren’t the part I was doing quickly. In fact, the strength part of the workout was definitely going to max me out by round five (hopefully, not round three) and my arms were already starting to give out. Endurance and speed aren’t my limiters, muscle strength is. If I can’t do one more pull-up, it’s not because I was going too quickly, it’s because my arms have failed. He said the only way I was going to get more arm strength was by lifting heavier weights and I was like, if I can’t lift them then they won’t give me more arm strength sitting on the floor. So, I did one round, sort of, with the heavier weights and with a lower support band on the pull-ups (making the pull-ups harder), except I did a shitty job because it was too much and my form fell apart as I struggled to make it. By the end of the round I was taking a break every pull-up and then kind of flinging myself up until my chin cleared the bar. And, then, he said, “See, don’t say you can’t do it.” Which, probably, sort of summarizes why Crossfit can be stupid. Then, I did two more rounds at the lower weight again, only my arms were fucked by that point. And, now I haven’t been able to fully straighten my right arm since Thursday.

Friday:

8 mi. run easy(ish), finished by adding the hills above my house.

Did not swim because of the seizing in my arm muscles.

Saturday:

1:50 bike with 4 x 5′ at 200W uphill (last one was 6:35 just so I could see how long it’d take to get all the way up the hill). This turned out to be quite exhausting later in the day.

Sunday:

Swam 3,000y with a set I made up of three 500s as [2 x 250y steady with 5-10″ rest, 50-100-200-100-50 faster on the back end with 10″ rest, 5 x 100 on tight interval, fastest sustainable] It was harder than I thought it was going to be, but that was also the longest I’ve swum in months and my pace is getting back down in the low 1:20s. So, good news.

Did not run. My toe was aching after wearing dress shoes at a wedding Saturday night.

I’m mildly concerned that my toe feels fine when I’m running, but then aches at random points later and has been sore the past two days. It turns out I should just never wear dress shoes or walk. Problem solved.

Why Is It Easier to Go Harder Uphill?

chickenmountain

It sounds stupid, but anyone who has biked uphill knows that it is easier to bike hard uphill than it is to bike hard on a flat surface. My best power (the effort I put out when pedaling my bike) is typically just under 200 watts for an hour — ie. my threshold. This is hard, you know, since it’s my threshold and the best I can hold for an hour. It’s not easy. But, it’s a lot easier to hold 200 watts going up a hill. It’s still the same effort, the same wattage, but it just feels easier. Steve says it has something to do with muscle recruitment and that the muscles you engage going uphill are more similar to our natural movement. Or something.

All I know is yesterday I had planned on doing 4 x 5′ threshold efforts on my time trial bike. Since I’m a triathlete again — at least in my head — this sounded like a good idea. But, my time trial bike doesn’t have a PowerTap computer on it to measure my wattage and I didn’t feel like putting it on and also that sounded really hard as my first hard workout back. So, instead, I decided to do 4 x 5′ threshold efforts uphill on my road bike. I thought it would be a good easing back into hard bike workouts.

It felt a lot easier than I expected it to. Still hard. But easier.

I did the repeats up and down the Lucas Valley hill to Big Rock, which I have done hill repeats on dozens of times and biked up probably more than 100 times. Typically, it takes me just under 8′ to get all the way to the top if I’m going hard. Once, I think I did it in like 7:45 or so. Yesterday, I was making it nearly all the way in 5′. That seemed weird. And, I wasn’t wasted. So, on the last one I just went all the way to see how fast I could do the whole hill. 6:35!?! (According to the Strava, if I was into that kind of thing and, you know, on Strava, I’d have gotten the QOM.)

It’s a little weird to set a bike PR, even if it’s an informal one. Because I know I’m getting fitter, but I wouldn’t have thought I was that much fitter. There may have been less wind than usual and I was riding Steve’s PowerTap wheel, instead of my shitty one that needs to be sold for scrap metal, and in the past I probably rode my time trial bike more, which doesn’t climb quite as well as the road bike. But, still. If the difference in bikes really accounts for over a minute difference in an 8′ effort, then I need to re-evaluate riding my time trial bike for Alcatraz.

Training: July 29 – Aug. 4

Last week I did more training hours than I have in, I dunno, a year, two years, a while. It was just over 14 hours. So, yay me. Of course, almost half of that was in the Marin Century and I went pretty light the other days, knowing I was playing Russian roulette with whether or not I’d finish the century.

Monday:

Swam 2500y in the morning, which included a broken 1000y [300-250-200-150-100 with 10″ rest between each] as the main set. AND, I did a 2:50 200y and low 1:20-something 100y, so maybe I’m starting to remember how to swim. Not quite completely, but glimmers, faint recollections.

Biked home from the ferry the slightly longer way to get in a full hour of riding in.

Tuesday:

Ran a bit over 7 miles easy on the trails above my house. The trails above my house are hilly. That’s why they’re above and not next to my house. Took over an hour.

Wednesday:

Rode to the ferry and to and from the ferry to the office, but did not ride all the way home from the ferry because, see, the ferry is right next to Marin Brew Co and so sometimes that just doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to. Ended up being something less than an hour of riding, depending on what you count as “riding” in the city.

Thursday:

Epic day of ridiculous hotness and exhaustion. Ran the 5.1 miles to TRX class fast. Did TRX class + some extra TRXing. Ran the 5.1 miles home slow.

Swam 500y in the evening, which was more like floating than swimming.

Friday:

Swam 1,900y. Planned on swimming more, but then I didn’t. Really it was a feat of mental strength to swim the 1,900y. My abs hurt so much from the TRXing the day before that pulling my legs over to flipturn was incredibly painful.

Planned on running, but then I didn’t.

Saturday:

Marin Century. Also rode my bike the 1.2 miles from my house to the start of the century, so that’s like super extra. At the end, after I ate and got ice cream and more ice cream and was riding home eating my ice cream, that 1.2 miles took like 8 minutes. So.

Sunday:

Swam 2,100y. Very, very slowly. Like, so slowly, I basically didn’t finish before they opened the pool up for kids to play and had to then navigate around small children.

Totally ready for IM training. Obviously.

Not a Race Report: Marin Century (Subtitled: Mean Things I Thought About Century Riders)

Yesterday, I did the Marin Century. And, despite the fact that I haven’t done any biking in months and everything lately has been SLOW and shitty, I biked the whole thing, with the 7,000 feet of elevation gain and the stupid extra three miles, in like 6:45 (which sounds like a lot but isn’t for the hills and the wind and my bike needing a bottom bracket replacement and etc, etc) and I felt crazy strong the whole time and had the highest wattage I’ve ever seen for anything over four hours.

So. What was my secret?

I basically ate so much I felt sick. The whole time. I started eating and drinking right from the start, from the free bagels at registration, and never stopped. Tired? Eat something. Legs hurt? Eat something. Guy in front of you being annoying and you want to give him space? Eat something. I ate so much I actually still don’t really want to eat. Today, I kept looking at food and wrinkling my nose and being like, ugh, do I have to. I also don’t know that I ever want to see another Oreo.

But, besides the insane amount of burping this caused, it worked.

My second secret was the secret of any long-distance: sometimes it sucks, sometimes it doesn’t. Just before four hours, I felt terrible, awful, wanted to lay down on the side of Highway 1 because maybe if I was on the ground the wind would be less shitty. Instead, I ate some more and drank some more and kept going, and it passed. I don’t know what I did for the 7+ hours I was out there by myself — all that stopping at every aid station took at least an extra 40′ plus there was a rather drawn-out incident with some bib shorts and a port-a-potty. I talked to a couple people, but not really, since I don’t like people. I talked to myself, but not really, since I don’t like to look crazy. I mostly did the long-distance mind zoning out thing. Oh, and I thought mean things in my head.

What mean things you ask? Well.

  • I started around the same time everyone started, which meant there were lots of different people doing different distances and the level of abilities ranged from those “hammering” in a “pace line” to those still pulling the price tags off their bikes. This made the first 30′ or so sort of a shitshow. And, at the top of the first longer climb, people were just stopping and gathering right in the middle/sort-of-side of the road. There was only one lane closed, so cars were waiting to get by the other way and there was a police officer and a mess of people and this couple in front of me starts weaving wildly looking for their friends and taking up the whole road and are about to stop right there in front of me, just as it’s dropping into the descent. So, I say under my breath, “Stop being sketchy.” Except, since I hadn’t really talked to anyone yet because I pretty much just woke up, played with Tupac, and rolled out, instead of coming out as a whisper, it came out as a way louder than I intended rasp. “STOP. BEING. SKETCHY.” After that, I kept my thoughts to myself. Like…
  • Stopping at the top of the hill just because it’s the top of the hill is inefficient and also dangerous and it makes me dislike and judge you.
  • Stopping abruptly in the road makes me dislike you and also want to hit you.
  • Are you seriously wearing earphones on this large a group ride with open traffic? Are you even more stupid than you look?
  • Because, fyi, if you’re a guy and wearing a full-on BMC team kit (or any pro team kit) and you can’t ride at least as fast as me, then you’re going to look stupid anyway.
  • If you’re a guy and you sprint to pass me and then can’t keep it up every time my steady effort catches back up to you, then you’ll also look stupid, but more importantly you should feel stupid.
  • If we’re leap-frogging and you acknowledge it, that’s cool. We can be friends. (And, also in hour five, it was nice to have someone to ride with.) But, if we’re leap-frogging and you just keep ignoring me, then we will be frenemies forever.
  • If you pass me on the right when I’m already to the right of the road and I don’t see you and you crash, it would be your own fault.
  • If you jump on my wheel so I can “pull you” and you don’t say anything, you’re really just tempting me to slam on my brakes. That would also be your own fault.
  • Maybe if you can’t ride in a straight line, you should practice that some more before you sign up for a Century.
  • Standard lanes on roads are 12 or 13 feet wide. Minimum regulation width is 10 feet. Bikes are maybe a foot across. It should be possible then to ride two-abreast without hugging the yellow lane. Surely, we can do this.
  • I know you’ve seen pros riding downhill with no hands. Generally, though, it’s because they had to in order to put on a jacket or zip up a jersey or grab some food. Also, they are better at it then you. When you ride downhill with no hands in your cargo shorts in the middle of a group of people for no reason other than to show off, you don’t look cool. You look like a moron.
  • If you want to race, sign up for a race. If you want to race and you sign up for a Century, we all assume you’re a jackass who couldn’t hack it in a real race.

I’m not the only person who thinks mean things about other people, right?

Wish Me Luck: Marin Century

Right now, this very second, I’m biking the Marin Century. I hope.

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to try to ride 106 miles after having not ridden more than 40 miles in eight or nine months — and that 45 miles was three months ago. I figure this is all I have to do. It doesn’t look that far:

marincentury

Last year, I did the Century for the first time and I didn’t fully enjoy all of the rest stops (which is really why you do a Century, per my understanding) because after my shifter cable broke and I had to spend 30′ in Tomales having it fixed, I then had to haul ass to get home in time to shower and leave for a wedding 20′ later.

This year, my plan is to eat more calories than I burn. That is also my philosophy on how I’ll get through this with no biking endurance to speak of. If I just keep eating Oreos and brownies, then I’ll never crash from the sugar high, right? I see nothing that can go wrong with this logic.

Training Week: July 22-28

This week’s training log is not super excited, since it’s basically just me repeating ‘I’m tired’ over and over.

Monday:

Bike home from ferry. Plan on doing more, am tired, don’t. 45′ of riding

Tuesday:

I felt Shitty, capital S, and stayed home from work, slept, moaned, etc. I tried to go for a run in the afternoon. I ran an hour, but it got disgustingly slower as I went until I was running 9:00/mile pace.

Did light core when I got home, which really was just laying on my floor. But, if you lay on the floor for 40′ and do a sit-up every now and then, that totally counts as 20′ of core. Then, swam for 10′ – which isn’t like a metaphorical or approximate “ten minutes,” it was really just 10′.

Wednesday:

Rode the TT bike. Oh shit. To and from work + around China Camp on my way home, around 25 miles total for the day.

4.5 miles easy run in the hills in the evening. Did not feel terrible.

Thursday:

Bike to ferry. Plan on doing more, am tired, don’t.

Actually, I got drinks (and free ribs) with Maggie at Smuggler’s Cove, had a guy break the window of the Muni bus on the way there with his fist, and then sprinted to the ferry after. FYI, coming out of a dark, unmarked bar when it’s still light out and you’ve had three drinks and running full speed in ballet flats through Civic Center Plaza is enough to get the homeless people living in the plaza to cheer you on. In case you were wondering.

Friday:

Swim 2,200y. It is the worse 2,200y I have swum in years. Did at least a few 100s that weren’t even under 1:30. My arms are so sore and painful within a few minutes of starting that I’m convinced I somehow did push-ups in my sleep the night before.

Plan on doing more in the evening, don’t. Drink instead. Theme?

Saturday:

Run 9 hilly miles easy. I am then crippled by fatigue — despite my tried and true method of eating an ice cream sandwich after my run. I abandon all other plans for the day and lay on the couch and nap. It seems like doing the Tiburon Triathlon on Sunday would be a bad idea. If it’s suppose to be a fun start back into racing and it sounds the opposite of fun, then why do it. I decide to DNS, go watch the San Rafael Crit bike race in the evening, and drink beers from plastic cups so as to not get in trouble for drinking in public. Flawless technique.

Sunday:

Give up.

(And, yes, I am aware I change tenses when telling stories. Let it go.)