Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Road to Ironman Lake Placid Week 1

I've decided to document my journey to Ironman with the hashtag #roadtolakeplacid on instagram and thought I might as well bring the trend over to my blog as well. This journey is going to be filled with ups and downs and I want to highlight everything here. When I first got into endurance sports I used blogs to learn the ins and outs of training. I want to be able to provide insights into what training for an ironman is like, and I also want to be able to look back and relive my experience.

Monday was the first day after my wisdom tooth surgery that I was cleared to work out. As much as I wanted to run I was told the pounding would increase the risk for dry sockets. To the gym I went. Although spin class is short [45 minutes], it always gets my heart rate way up and makes my legs burn. After class I went to the weight room to #liftheavyshit. I'm an endurance athlete by nature but am working on really getting better at lifting things up and putting them back down.

Tuesday means Gung Ho trainer class. Before sweating it out on the trainer I made my return to the pool. I have to say, swimming after having my wisdom teeth out felt super weird. I had a little discomfort when trying to breathe, which made for a quite interesting 2300 yards. At trainer class we rode around 15 miles and "climbed" almost the entire time. As much as I hate the trainer, I know these workouts are going to make a difference come spring.

Wednesday. Finally, a run! My legs were still pretty tired from the previous night's workout so 3 easy miles was it. The good news was my knee gave me no grief. #progress

Thursday marked probably the first time I could honestly say I liked riding on the trainer. The class at Gung Ho was a solid workout but also fun. Being able to ride with other people brings out my competitive side and made me push so much harder than I would have by myself. Another bonus, the hour class FLIES by.

Friday. Thankfully this swim went a little better than Tuesday's. 2400 yards felt comfortable yet still a little challenging. I have a lot of work to do but could be in worse shape. I kicked off the weekend with a short but sweet run workout of 6 x 30 seconds hill sprints. These were more about form and running strong than running fast.

Saturday was not supposed to be a rest day. I had every intention of getting in a run but accidentally fell asleep on the couch instead. Given how tired I was I took it as a sign to take a rest day and keep sleeping.

Sunday. I can't tell you how long I have waited for a run like this. Winter storm Juno was starting to make an appearance so I was only planning on running for 20-30 minutes. I felt like I could have kept running forever and for the first time this year have had absolutely no knee pain. None whatsoever. Four hilly, rainy, snowy, slushy miles concluded my first week on the road to Lake Placid.

Swimming- 4700 yards
Biking- 39.26 miles
Running- 9.68 miles
Total- 6 hours 45 min

Thursday, January 22, 2015

In January

I have never been one for resolutions. Most years New Year's Eve rolls around and I'm so caught up in it being my birthday that I totally blank when someone asks me what my resolution for the new year will be. Committing to something for entire year scares the living shit out of me, to be completely honest. Each year I set intentions to be a better version of myself and this year isn't any different.

When I look back on the past few years I feel like I wasn't really living. It's so easy for me to get caught up in thinking that what's coming next will bring me real happiness. Sometimes I forget that I am living right now. I'm trying to not fall into the pattern of waiting until grad school (fingers crossed!) to enjoy life. Part of me is relieved to have a bit of a break from school since this past year has been so stressful. The other part of me hates that I am essentially doing nothing for the next seven months. Although nervous, I am excited to be coaching Girls On the Run this spring. And I am in the process of lining something else up.

Anyway, I thought I would put together some combination of a goals post and what I'm up to post for each month. Breaking the year up into smaller chunks seems so much more manageable and lets me focus on what matters most at that particular time. I am also stealing Michelle's idea of planning something to look forward to each month to help the time pass as enjoyably as possible.

So what am I up to in January? I'm getting back to what makes me feel like me while also getting out of my comfort zone. Which means...

Reading. I used to read so much but some time during college reading for class took the fun out of reading for me. I am currently working on The Romanov Prophecy and just ordered The Well Built Triathlete and Iron War. I like to have a mix of fiction and educational things to read. Maybe it's because I'm not in school anymore but I have been really enjoying historical based books. What recommendations do you have? I need more ideas!

Eating. I'll be the first to admit that I ate way too much food over the holidays. I did some version of the no carb behind experiment except it also included anything with sugar in it. There was the apple pie and sticky foggy pudding for Christmas, graduation cake, birthday cake... SO MUCH CAKE. But really, what are the holidays if you can't indulge right? I'm trying to combat my poor eating choices and curb my sugar cravings by doing some version of the Whole30. In short, I am cutting out sugar, refined carbs and alcohol for 30 days. I started a few days late so I'll be wrapping this up February 3. Wish me luck.

Organizing. I moved home from college around a month ago and have yet to unpack. With the holidays and graduation I wanted to wait until January to really go through all of my stuff. My bedroom looks a little like a storage unit right now but hopefully by the end of the month everything will be organized. Update: Operation spring winter cleaning is underway and it is not pretty.

Refining. My skincare regimen. I have always had super sensitive skin so I am really careful with which products I use. I have also dealt with acne and dry skin. Triple whammy. I am notoriously bad at taking care of my skin and maybe it's because I just turned 22 (I feel old, I know I'm not) but I want to take care of my skin now before it's too late. Especially because of how much time I spend outside in the sun.

Training. January means the start of ironman training. Finally! As challenging as it can sometimes be to really commit to training in these cold winter months when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, I know that putting in the work now will pay off in the spring and summer. I have been in the pool a handful of times so far, with the focus primarily on technique and regaining a feel for the water. Biking has mostly consisted of trainer rides at my local bike club mixed with a few spin classes. My approach for winter cycling is to get stronger before going longer because, quite frankly, I don't want to spent countless hours pedaling nowhere.

Running has been the discipline that is giving me the most trouble so far this year. After completing a solid 31 day run streak in December I felt some discomfort in my knee with the switch to new running shoes. Between my knee and not being able to run because of getting my wisdom teeth out, making real run progress has been pretty nonexistent. For the rest of January I plan on getting back into the swing of things with easy and smart running.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Workouts // January 12-18

This week was less than ideal but for good reasons. I only managed to get workouts in Monday and Tuesday but they were both quality days and that's what matters.

Monday- I've been trying to get to spin class at least once a week in addition to the two trainer classes I'm going to. I really hate riding on the trainer but I know that I need to do as much riding as I can this winter. For now that means supplementing with spin class. 10 miles of intervals followed by 50 minutes of work in the weight room.

Tuesday- After having some knee pain last week I took a few days off from running to let things calm down. I ran a short and easy 2.1 morning miles with no knee pain. Whew! Tuesday evening was spent on the trainer for another round of the Gung Ho trainer ride series. This ride was so intense it the way that makes you hate every minute while you're doing and love it once you're done.

The rest of the week was a combination of traveling to Philadelphia for my official grad school interview immediately followed by wisdom tooth surgery. The interview went as well as it could have and now I'm just waiting for a final decision. Fingers crossed! I took the opportunity to explore Philly a little, including Chinatown. Really hoping to be able to call this city home in the fall.

Thursday morning I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed and was prohibited from all exercise through Sunday. I'm happy to report that I spent almost every hour of those four days on the couch being completely useless. I drank my share of fresh juices and smoothies and tried to get down as much solid food as I could. Which was basically none.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekly Workouts // January 5-11

When I first started racing triathlons I had this far fetched dream of completing an ironman someday. I formulated a multi-year plan consisting of a year of sprint and Olympic distance races, a year dedicated to a 70.3, and culminating in a year with an ironman. I came up with this specific plan knowing that I would be graduating in December and not starting grad school (fingers crossed!) until that August. Instead of taking my time off to travel I wanted to train for an ironman. Despite this plan of mine, I was still in shock when that Monday in July rolled around and I was actually signing up. I think because I was still in the heart of training for Nationals and that 70.3, it never really sank in that I had signed up for an ironman. It was like I signed up, went back to training, and then my senior semester started and successfully navigating my senior research project and applying to grad school took over. Then the holidays rolled around and now suddenly training for that ironman has started.

I'm still putting the final touches on my training for Lake Placid so these first few weeks are certainly not going to be anything special. It's more about the consistency and the mental side of being "in training." So with that, here we go!

Monday. After almost four months with no swimming, I made my way back to the pool to see what kind of hole I had dug myself in. Although there is a lot of work to do, I'm not in as bad of shape as I was expecting. Three cheers for 11 years of competitive swimming giving me one hell of a swim base. I rounded out day one of ironman training with a short 2.5 mile neighborhood jog in my new Hokas.

Tuesday. Of course we would get our first batch of winter weather during my first week of training. Luckily we only got some snow showers. I managed to head out for another 2.5 mile run that unfortunately was cut short by some IT band pain.

Wednesday. Thankfully all the ice and slush on the roads melted in time to get in 2000 yards of swimming and some strength training. The new year means a new way of lifting: heavy! I'm lowering the reps and increasing the weights and trying to gain some muscle this year.

Thursday. Another day, another 2000 yards in the pool. My focus in the pool for the next few weeks is slow, steady technique. Today also marked the first of many trainer rides provided by my amazing local bike shop, Gung Ho. 16.76 miles full of intervals concluded the day.

Friday. After taking my grandma to the airport I hit the gym for some more strength training. Nothing fancy, just picking things up and putting them back down.

Saturday. Ahh, glorious rest day.

Sunday. Because it's still winter and I love winter, I hit up the local trails for some data free snowy trail exploring with my best girl.

In non-training news, I have officially been cleared to coach with Girls On the Run. I spent all of Saturday in training and getting certified in CPR. To be honest, I am super nervous about coaching these girls. I have never been in charge of a bunch of elementary age girls and am a little afraid they are going to eat me alive.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Year of Triathloning 2014

Yes, I realize it has already been 2015 for a week now. I debated whether or not I wanted to write a 2014 recap post but ultimately decided I would regret not having something to look back on. I could really write a whole novel about this past year, but instead I am doing Miss Zippy's year of running survey. Only I modified it for triathlon. So here we go!

Best race experience

Hands down the Rev3 Poconos 70.3. Going into this race I didn't know what to expect because this was my first half ironman. Not only did I have one heck of a race, but the entire race weekend exceeded all my expectations. I could not be happier to have picked this race for my first 70.3.

A close runner-up was USAT Age-Group Nationals. I didn't have the race I wanted but the whole trip was certainly memorable. Nothing bonds family more than driving14 hours each way and drinking your way through Milwaukee.

Best swim

I hate to admit that I don't remember many particular swim workouts I did this past year. There was one workout I did in August I think that was pretty solid. I don't remember what exactly the workout was but I do remember truly pushing myself in the pool for the first time since I swam competitively. I have a tendency to coast through my swims, which really needs to change for 2015.

Best bike

Back in July I had a long ride scheduled for the same day as my best friend's rehearsal dinner. I mapped out a route and hit the road only to find out one of the roads was closed for construction. Knowing I needed to get the ride in then, I rode aimlessly around York turning when and where I felt like. This was the first time I rode without knowing how fast I was going or how far I had gone. Let me tell you, it was glorious. Ever since I have been trying to focus less on my garmin while training.

Best run

I will be the first one to admit that I could have done more running this past year. Because of this, I can't pick one training run as my best. What was the most surprising and rewarding run, however, was at nationals. I came off a sub-par bike with pain so badly I could barely walk. Never in a million years did I expect to have such a good run split. I fought for every one of those 6.2 miles and for that, this is my best run of 2014.

Best piece of new gear

Although I didn't get it until after I was done racing, I'm going to say my new bike. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my road bike. But I thought it was time to finally invest in a tri bike before ironman training. I was super nervous about riding in aero and still am about descending in aero but overall aero it really fun! 2015 is going to be the year of #bikelove.

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

Believe in yourself.

Most inspirational runner/triathlete

This one is tough to answer as I don't have many friends who run or do triathlons so instead I'm going with the beautiful and talented Erin of sweetsweatlife. Erin completed her second ironman this past year in total rockstar fashion, finishing fourth in her age group. Every time I would want to bail out of a workout I would log in to Strava and see what training Erin was up to. I was [and still am!] so motivated that it made me want to work harder.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

An adventure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Start of Ironman Training

Happy 2015 everyone! So much has happened since I posted here last including graduating college, turning 22 and catching up with so many friends over the holidays. This past semester was by far my most stressful between completing my honors senior research project and applying to grad school. The biggest question I have gotten over the last few weeks is "What next?" Right now I am still in the application process. I have an interview next Wednesday at my top choice school and will hopefully know by the end of the month. As for what's next this spring I am excited to be a Girls On the Run coach at one of the local elementary schools. I'm looking for something else part-time to do to fill some more time but to be honest I'm really looking forward to having a little bit of a break.

Another thing I'm excited about it the start of ironman training. Yesterday marked day 1 of 29 weeks of training for Ironman Lake Placid. I am not working with a coach, which initially I was nervous about but after seeing how well I did at my 70.3 in September I am excited to train the way I want. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved working with a coach and credit him for really pushing me out of my comfort zone and showing me what I am capable of. But I really enjoy the extra challenge of being in control of my workouts. I have been an athlete for so long that I have learned to listen to my body.

So what does the early stage of ironman training look like? Right now my goal is to swim three times a week, bike 3 times, run 5 and lift twice. I did a 31 day run streak between Thanksgiving and Christmas that really gave me a solid running base. I hate biking on the trainer and know that I will be able to put in some quality time on the bike once it warms up a little. This means I am working on building strength, improving my run base, and getting back in the groove with swimming and biking.

I am still working on finalizing my race schedule for 2015 but right now I'm looking at running an early spring half marathon and then a late spring half ironman. The two race I will be doing for sure are the York YWCA Sprint Triathlon in June and Ironman Lake Placid in July of course. I don't have any racing goals yet as all I really care about is crossing that finish line on July 26.

Happy 2015 everyone!