Monday, April 14, 2014

Columbia Triathlon Training Week 8

Week 8 was a good week for me. Things sort of fell into place for me. It was my biggest week of training so far this year but it didn't feel heavy at all. I've really missed logging higher hours and am excited to put in some more this week.

Monday

Monday's run was not my favorite but that's just because it was raining. More like pouring. It was cold and I only had shorts at my apartment so I paired them with a jacket and the result was freezing legs and really hot arms and chest. To be honest, the fact that I dragged myself out there in the rain marks a change in my commitment and attitude towards training.

4.34 mile run, 9:25 avg.

Tuesday

Swimming hasn't been great for me lately. Just kind of meh. It's not bad but I don't feel as strong and powerful as I normally should. I'm also struggling to get in higher yardage with the pool schedule on campus.

2300 yd swim
50 min strength

Wednesday

Not the best run, not the worst run. I had coffee in the morning after a late night at the National's game and was still jittery at 6 when I started my run. I wasn't sure how the coffee was going to affect me but I felt more or less alright. The hills of campus kicked my butt though.

6.15 mile run, 9:22 avg.

Thursday

See Tuesday's swim.

Strength training has been going really well though. Not only can I see a physical difference, if only a tiny one, but I can feel a difference in my training. My new favorite thing is assisted chin-ups. I think I did 40 total on Thursday and boy was I sore.

2300 yd swim
50 min strength

Friday

I should have known this wasn't going to feel good after such a hard strength session on Thursday. I planned on doing four miles but was done after three and walked the last one. Sometimes I forget the importance of recovery runs and easy runs. I can't be the only one who ends up going faster than they should right?

3 mile run, 9:29 avg.

Saturday

We had the most beautiful weather this weekend. It was warm, sunny and perfect. I started the morning with a short progression run to get a little speed work in. My splits were 9:49, 8:48, 8:34, 8:16. The first mile was my warm up before I got to work. It's crazy how hard it is to get my legs to turn over fast anymore.

I closed out the day with an easy bike ride through Dover. I've done this route a couple times this year and each time I feel better and better.

4 mile run, 8:52 avg.
18.65 mile bike, 15.1 mph

Sunday

One of the local bike shops hosts weekly Sunday morning rides that take you on the Columbia Triathlon route. Whenever possible I try to train on the course for races so I know what to expect on race day. There are some courses I know so well that I know where every pothole is. This was my only chance to ride the course with the group since my weekends are pretty booked for the next few weeks.

The ride was pretty slow but I was able to take note of certain hills, sharp turns and sketchy descents. I still don't think the course is that hilly, contrary to what everyone tells me. I'd say its more rolling than big climbs. Still it was good to do a practice run.

24.66 mile bike, 14.3 mph

4600 yards
43.31 miles bike
17.49 miles run
8 hours 46 min

Friday, April 11, 2014

Life Is Meant to Be Lived

Its crazy how my life is so different than it was last year yet in so many ways it feels the same. Growing up I was a creature of habit and hated getting out of my routine. I often preferred to stay at home and read than go out with friends. I'm very introverted but I think the real reason was that it was easier. Like most people, I hate failing and being rejected. I let this fear take over my life at times though. I don't like to admit it but I missed out on some really awesome opportunities because I was too scared.

The past few weeks I have been the exact opposite of my old self. Wednesday night I found myself at my apartment with no homework and no social plans in a solid two weeks. I have been either spending my nights studying/writing papers or making spontaneous plans with friends. Although I desperately needed a night off to catch up on sleep and just relax, I realized why I was constantly trying to fill my time.

We only get this one life and I don't want to spend mine wasting time. I don't want to waste it on people, activities, anything that I don't love. Lately I've been feeling a stronger connection to many of my friends and it is only drawing me in more. I have a hard time letting people in but I'm starting to realize that the only way to really get to know someone is to let them in. I've been working on trusting more and also giving up some control.

I have worked hard these past four years at school and if going out with friends one night means I don't turn in my best quality homework, so be it. I don't want to say that it isn't important to work hard and go after what you want but its also really important to relax and go with the flow sometimes.  I keep trying to remind myself that I might not remember that paper on secondary orality that I got an 83% on but I will likely remember the night I spent with my friends that prevented me from getting an A.

When I started running again at the end of January I was really out of shape. I knew I had lost fitness after taking an eight week break but I didn't expect how slow I had gotten. I thought after a week or two of running my paces would drop back down and I would be back to my old speed. That was not the case at all and to be honest it stressed me out. A lot. The absurd and record setting amounts of snow we got this winter also stressed me out.

Recently I've been letting that all go. I've come to terms with the fact that the Columbia Triathlon might not be a PR and that my running is going to take some time to fully come back. I started relaxing and just getting done what I could. And you know what? It's been working out for me.

My runs have been considerably better. Not only faster but stronger. My strength sessions at the gym have been filled with improvement and PRs. I may still not be where I want to be but I'm on my way. I'm trying to take life as it comes and enjoy it for what it's worth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Columbia Triathlon Training Week 7

Monday

Mother Nature decided to grace south central Pennsylvania with one last snowfall Sunday night which meant I stayed at home instead of going back to school. I squeezed in a quick run in between classes and ended up running in the middle of the day. It was scary how hot 65 and sunny felt. I'm certainly happy to see winter go but I'm not a big fan of running in the heat.

After my run I went to the gym to get in some strength work. I upped my weights quite a bit this week and my legs and butt were sore until Wednesday. I guess I'm doing something right, right?

3.08 miles, 9:47 avg.
50 min strength

Tuesday

This is when things started to go downhill. I was sore from lifting on Monday and felt really sluggish during my swim. I just couldn't get into a groove and my stroke felt off so I did a lot of drills and technique work.

I knew I felt tired during my swim but I didn't realize how exhausted I really was until this run. I didn't necessarily feel that bad but I was running considerably slower. Normally I end up speeding up a tad as my runs go on but instead I slowed down considerably. It was frustrating but it was out of my control.

2200 yd swim
4.3 mile run, 9:56 avg.

Wednesday

This swim wasn't much better than Tuesday's. Despite working on my technique the previous day my stroke still felt off. I felt something like a flailing duck which is never much fun. I was planning on doing 200's but switched to descending 100's and 50's after seeing I wasn't feeling much better. While a comfortably hard 100 might take me 1:12-1:13 I was putting up 1:15-1:16. It wasn't a big difference but I'm very type A about this stuff. All in all it wasn't a terrible swim but it certainly wasn't my best.

3000 yd swim

Thursday

After a tough strength session on Monday I was anxious to get back into the gym on Thursday. After reading Katie's latest post I have been intrigued about doing pull ups. I was never able to do them even when I swam and a little part of me was always bothered by that. The gym at UMBC has a pull up assist machine which is awesome. I was able to select a weight that allowed me to do 4 x 4 chin ups. Baby steps.

I had been out late with friends Wednesday night and overslept so I ended up missing my run. I tried to make it up later in the day in between classes but it just didn't work out.

50 min strength

Friday

Finally, a great run.

4.4 mile run, 9:05 avg.

Saturday

After doing a bit of a harder run on Friday I wasn't sure my legs would hold up for a longer run. I wanted to get in 8 miles but gave myself the option of bailing at 6 if I felt that bad. I made sure to keep the pace relaxed and easy. It's weird how 8 miles is considered a long run now when last fall long meant 18 miles. This run flew by though and I felt great the entire time. Mission accomplished.

8.13 mile run, 9:21 avg.

Sunday

rest

5200 yards
19.91 miles run
6 hours 29 min

Monday, April 7, 2014

You Get What You Need

I'm not entirely sure why but all of my workouts at the beginning of the week felt absolutely terrible. I felt like I had put in 15 hours of training when the previous week was closer to 5 hours. When I feel terrible in the pool that's when I know that something is off.

I ran on Monday and was just hot. It was a really hilly run so the slower pace didn't bother me but when I was struggling to run faster than 10 minute miles on Tuesday I got frustrated. I finally felt like my run was getting back to where it was before I got injured and then all of a sudden it was back to square one again.

I was planning on running on Wednesday and Thursday but got caught up in schoolwork and going out with friends (oops?) and it just didn't happen. Sometimes when my workouts aren't going well I like to skip one anyway because I hate having bad workouts. I train because I like it and I can deal with a few bad workouts here and there but when I feel worse after that's when I know something is wrong.

I spent all day Friday doing schoolwork and was going to run in the evening and then just as I was finishing up my schoolwork it started raining. I didn't want to take another day off from running but I didn't feel like I had the mental energy to deal with running in the rain. Excuses, excuses. I know.

But then it stopped raining. I went over to the local trail expecting to have a terrible run. And you know what? I didn't. I decided to do a progression run since I have been slacking on speed work lately and was pleasantly surprised not only with my pace but with how good I felt. I had just started doubting myself and telling myself that I would never run as fast as I did last year.

One of the nice things about being out of shape is not having any expectations. I ran the first mile easy before picking up the pace each subsequent mile. I did a similar progression run a few weeks ago and was hitting faster paces but I didn't really care. I was out there pushing myself and running hard. And it felt amazing.

I tried to drop my pace by 15 seconds each mile with the plan of really going for it the last mile. Since I haven't done much/any speed work I was afraid of going too fast early on and dying at the end. It's funny how things work out.

March 16- 4 miles, 36:09, 9:02 avg// 9:58, 9:01, 8:48, 8:21
April 4- 4.4 miles, 40:02, 9:06 avg// 9:46, 9:16, 8:49, 8:05

Even though the rest of the run was slower, my last mile was considerably faster this time around which means I am making progress despite having a few bad weeks here and there. I went into this run not expecting much and somewhat dreading it and ended up having one of the best runs I've had all year. After a tough week it was exactly what I needed.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm Only Human

The past few weeks have been hard for me. I think I tried so hard to be strong and positive that I forgot to grieve. I'm normally a very emotional person so it was weird that I felt so put together. I'm going to come out right now and say that everybody grieves differently and you can't judge someone by how they are grieving.

My dad and I used to watch Pirates baseball games together all summer long and now that the season has started I'm feeling this loss significantly more. The Pirates won their opening day game with a walkoff and I had to stop myself from typing in his email address and sending him and email about it. It is so unbelievably hard when something happens and the person you want to run and tell isn't there. It digs a void in your life that only seems to grow deeper.

About a week and a half ago my boyfriend of five years and I broke up. It was a long time coming but it doesn't mean it hurts any less. Once again I tried so hard to act put together and not be upset about it when in reality I was crushed. I still am crushed. I knew it was time for things to end but he was my best friend and it's honestly really hard to imagine my life without him.

As I was driving home the other night I heard the song "Human" and that's when it hit me. I don't care if you don't like when I cry or that I get emotional. It's not healthy to suppress emotions and try to pretend that everything is okay. I have spent the past four months trying to figure out what my life means without my dad in it and how to figure out what normal is anymore. I want to life a happy life and be optimistic but at the same time it feels like I am moving on without him.

Losing someone you love so much is a really freaking hard thing to do. Whether they are literally gone or you broke up, it's a bitch and it hurts. But it's okay that it hurts. It's supposed to hurt. I actually think by letting myself hurt and be upset I end up feeling better.

Over the past few weeks my training has been less than ideal and its been starting to weigh on me and stress me out. It's been either raining or too windy to get outside for a bike ride and I've been worrying about whether or not I'll be ready for the Columbia Triathlon in six weeks. I've skipped a few workouts in favor of going out with friends for drinks and dessert. But you know what, that's okay.

I love training and have some really big goals for this year. I'm looking forward to the summer when the weather is nicer and I can ride my bike all over Pennsylvania. But being with friends and people I love is equally if not more important. I have been having so much fun these past few weeks that I've stopped worrying about training and have relaxed. I'm not perfect and that's okay.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Columbia Triathlon Week 6: Life Happens

Last week kicked me in the ass. Hard. One of my best friends and I parted ways, and it took a really big toll on me. I wish I could say it didn't really hurt but I'm only human.

The week started great with a run reminiscent of my best training days last year. It was one of those runs where you feel like you are floating. Everything clicked and I was riding that endorphin high for days. I thought that run meant I was going to have a great training week but instead life happened.

To be honest I wish I could just erase last week. Since losing my dad back in December I have done whatever possible to keep myself happy and positive about the future. This past week I spent almost three full days crying and feeling sorry for myself. I'm not going to say that I can just flip a switch and go back to being happy with such a major life change but I'm certainly not going to sit around being upset. I took a few days to be grieve and be sad but now I want to move on.

The past few months have given me so much perspective about life. I had planned on making 2014 the year of the triathlon. I was going to 100% commit to my races. I was going to train all the time and go after some major goals. Although not too much has changed, triathlon isn't my life.  In the past I have given up opportunities to see friends or family for training. Now I'm having a hard time putting training first. And to be honest, I'm okay with that.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the monotony of life. To have this unconscious idea that we are immortal. I used to turn down opportunities because "there would be other parties." I am still prioritizing my training but I am also realizing that what really matters in life is the people we share it with. So for now I am trying to find a balance between training and school and life because ultimately what matters most is being happy. If that means I don't PR at the Columbia Triathlon I am okay with that.

Have a good week everyone!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Columbia Triathlon Training Week 5

Last week I took a much needed break from structured training and did whatever workouts I wanted to do. I ended up being pretty productive and having some great workouts. Sometimes it's too hard to plan workouts in advance when the weather is so unpredictable so instead I'm focusing on getting in what I can. If one week is run heavy that's fine as long as I'm getting in quality workouts.


Some highlights from the week include my first track workout of the season, an outdoors bike ride, and the fastest swim workout I've done since I was a competitive swimmer. I rode on Friday and was on such an endorphin high. I've missed spending time outside on two wheels. I was going to ride again on Saturday but it was super windy and I didn't feel safe enough to leave the parking lot. Plus I'm squirrelly when it comes to biking and get really nervous over silly things.

I had intentions of swimming more than once while home for break but the nice weather kept enticing me outside. Wednesday's swim more than made up for it though. The water was a balmy 85.6 degrees which is about 5.6 degrees too warm. I actually like training in the warmer water as it had me really prepared for my warmer water races. My main set was 2 rounds of 6 x 100 on the 1:35, first 6 were 75 easy/25 hard and the final 6 were 50 easy/50 hard. I averaged 1:14-1:16 during the first round and 1:08-1:12 during the second. I remember struggling to hit these paces during the peak of my training last summer so to see them so early on is huge for me. Swimming is already my strength but I want to really take advantage of that this year.

Here's how the week played out:

Monday

Puppy runs are the best runs

2.84 mile run, 9:36 avg.
50 min strength

Tuesday

55 min body flow
6 mile run, 8:57 avg.

Wednesday

Dear UMBC, please open your outdoor pool now. Thanks.

3000 yd swim
40 min strength

Thursday

2 mile run, 10:38 avg.
55 min yoga

Friday


18.71 miles bike, 15.77 mph

Saturday

4.35 mile run, 9:20 avg.

Sunday

Rest

3000 yards
18.71 mile bike
15.19 miles run
7 hours 51 min