Dopey Challenge Week 2: Planning the Season

Dopey Challenge update: Two weeks down, 27 more to go.

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Training has been going well. Nothing is off-track yet, although my workload is kicking up into high gear. My stress levels have been negatively affecting my training, but I’ve been aiming to at least get 6-7 hours of sleep in a night. On the nights I achieve that, training isn’t so bad so long that I’m not reading emails in between intervals. It also helps if I’m not ruminating over the amount of work I have on my plate.

I’ve been planning some warm up races for the long road ahead. There are some nice ones in the fall, so I signed up for the Breckenridge Half Marathon in September. It’s at 10,000 feet above sea level. My lungs will probably explode, but luckily there’s a 4-hour time limit.

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In December, when the miles pile up, I was able to find a two-day race in Dallas (called the Texas Double) that will allow me to get in my half-marathon and full marathon over the weekend for my training plan. It’ll be nice to run in the outdoors, rather than slogging out 39 miles on a treadmill. I can’t even begin to imagine what that is like.

In addition to those races, I have a few virtual races in progress too. I love races in general, but over the years I’ve found that they are fairly expensive, since I really enjoy the larger races. I’m now saving the big races for a few times a year at most, and I imagine that when I begin taking up triathlons again my pocketbook will suffer once more. Perhaps when I finish paying off my student loans (another 3 years/$110K later, if I follow my financial planner’s schedule), I can celebrate with an Ironman! Or an international race! Or an international Ironman! 😀

So, the Pacific Coast Highway virtual race is about halfway complete. I’m really enjoying the email notifications I get for the landmark mile markers! It’s such a neat little service.

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Another challenging race I’ve signed up for is the Amerithon Challenge. I’m using my FitBit to log all of my miles and so far in the first week I’ve logged a little over 25. Not bad!

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There’s a few other virtual races I want to sign up for. The Appalachian Trail series looks pretty neat. I’ve always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. There’s a schoolteacher in my parents’ town who hikes it regularly, and the local paper always covers it. Regardless, in the absence of being able to do the trail in person, it’s a nice substitute.

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My treadmill doesn’t afford a very nice view, but it allows me to run with my husband, who runs considerably faster than me. I’m currently trying to convince him to train to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but one goal at a time he says. (He’s also training for the Dopey Challenge.)

This is my mantra for the upcoming week:

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Since I try to run first thing in the morning, it can get pretty difficult. I usually want to jump right in to my design work, or grading student assignments. However, I know that by taking care of myself first, I can be the best version of me for everyone who depends on me.

Happy training! Until next time…

Race Recap: 2016 Star Wars Kessel Run Challenge

On the heels of a really great product launch I decided to treat myself to the Star Wars Light Side half marathon race entry, only to then be persuaded by the Mr. to sign up for the Dark Side half marathon race a few months later. This was my first Disney coast-to-coast challenge, which was something I never thought I’d get to do. The races were also a few months apart, which was unique in that I went in to the Light Side half with no training whatsoever. I paid the dear, dear price for that during the 2-day car ride home!

Here are some photos from the Light Side half marathon:

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However, in preparation for the Dark Side half, I didn’t get as much training in as I would’ve liked. Never mind an actual 9 or 12-week training plan…I was having enough trouble getting to the gym on a regular basis. If I were to average everything out, I realistically probably got about 2 workouts in a week, which is really sad. However, a week leading up to the race I decided to start a 21-day run streak challenge, which I think ultimately saved my legs from their demise. Epcot was still a blast, and since it was my first time at Disney World, it added to the magic. I don’t know if it was the new shoes, or the humidity, or perhaps the magic of being somewhere new, but I managed to shave 13 minutes off of my time in between races, according to runDisney and RunKeeper. I’ll take it!

Here are some photos from the Dark Side half marathon:

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I’m definitely planning on coming back for other Disney races! I saw that they added a weekend in Paris…that’ll have to wait for another year. I’m signing up for the Dopey Challenge for January 2017!

Race Recap: 2015 Beat the Blerch 10K

This was a really fun run hosted by The Oatmeal himself!

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The race was really fun. Along the way there were lots of treats and sights to see. It was a small enough race where you could actually run the whole thing, but big enough where you never actually lost sight of the pack. This was the Mr’s first big marathon. I was very much out of training at the time, so I stuck to a stretch goal distance of 10K. I used it mostly as a litmus test to see how much my HIIT workouts at elevation have been helping me, and after the race I felt great.

The course began/ended at Raley Field, and the 10K course was pretty solid — paved roads or well maintained urban running trails. The marathoners and half-marathoners had some dicey spots like cobblestone and wooden decks but all in all I didn’t hear too many people complain about it.

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The most endearing part of the race was seeing the blerches on site handing out treats, like bacon-wrapped dates. There was an aid station with cupcakes. I missed out on a lot of the birthday cake unfortunately.

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The strategic placement of couches were also appreciated by many, but it made me wonder how much work it took for someone to wheel them out around the field and course. Overall, this was a really fun race and I would run another Oatmeal race again. I just saw that there will be a race in Las Vegas in October so I will definitely sign up!

A Week in Niseko

After being flogged at work and school for about six weeks straight, I was able to score a week or so off to hit up the slopes in Japan. It was my first international trip since I left LA, and my first trip to Japan, and it was awesome! The groomed beginner runs were challenging enough to break me into a sweat, and when I got tired of the narrow hairpin turns I tried out a short blue run a few times which took me forever but alas, I survived.

I’ve learned enough about myself out there to know that I psych myself out way too much. Half of the time my mind is in panic mode and the other half is in lala-land. If I keep reminding myself that I can pizza my way down a hill then I keep my bearings and manage down fine. It’s when I watch the other skiers zoom down the hill gracefully and effortlessly that I eat a mouthful of pow.

I’ve gotten pretty decent use out of my Epic ski pass this year already. 3 days in Vail + 5 days in Niseko so far. It’ll be nice to head back to Vail (or Breckenridge or Beaver Creek) before the season is up, but I have a ton of summertime activities to prep for. Thanks to my diligence at Orangetheory, I was fairly strong for this season’s ski vacay. I’ve been adding in some running over the last month so I have some base miles under me now.

It’s time to turn my attention to my race schedule for the rest of the year. I have a half marathon in March, a full marathon in June, and an ultramarathon in July. I have a sprint triathlon trifecta this summer as well (an excuse to keep me on the bike and in the pool during my rest days). I’m still wondering how I’ll squeeze in some open water swim training. In October I plan on celebrating a season well done with a half marathon trifecta in beautiful Lake Tahoe! Squeeeeee! It feels like the odd-numbered years are my overzealous years and my even numbered years are my rest years…so let’s see if the tradition continues on.

This year is already off to a pretty good start. Granted it’s already late February but I could’ve sworn that it was just the new year. Regardless, I’m pretty happy how things have turned out so far. I’m never going to forget this trip and I am definitely coming back!

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Looking forward to being stateside again in a day or so. My birthday festivities are coming up and I need to find a place that has enough snow for skiing in early March!

Monday Morning Stand Up: Seafair Weeks 6-7-8 + Portland Weeks 1-2-3 2014 Training

For lack of a better way to combine the concurrent training threads, I’m now officially lumping them both together in the headline. The last few weeks have been insanely bizarre. Not only is my sleeping schedule all over the map, but so is my schoolwork and work-work (because when you say it twice, it’s legit).

So my swimming activities are pretty much nil. Same goes with my biking. I’ve finally switched out all the batteries on my speed/cadence sensors and my heart-rate monitor so things should be paired and working well with the Bluetooth dongle and TrainerRoad. I tried riding to work and making it a habit but I find my messenger bag to be quite infuriating. It’s not really worth riding the few miles to and from at this stage. I think when I was still learning to ride it made more sense. I suppose it would make sense now so that I could get comfortable clipping in and out at stops and stuff, but for most of my races I will be riding long distances between clipping in and out anyways. (Maybe I’m just rationalizing myself out of riding to work?)

Week 6 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 1 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 16: 4.08 mile run, 0.5 mile swim

Tuesday, June 17: Rest day

Wednesday, June 18: 4.06 mile run

Thursday, June 19: Rest day

Friday, June 20: 4.02 mile run

Saturday, June 21: 8 mile run

Sunday, June 22: Rest day

Week 7 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 2 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 23: Rest day

Tuesday, June 24: 4.68 mile run

Wednesday, June 25: 2.05+1.54 mile bike commute, 5.22 mile run

Thursday, June 26: 1.41 mile bike commute, 4.02 run

Friday, June 27: 10.09 mile run…before work

Saturday, June 28: Five Mile Lake Tri, which served as a season dress rehearsal – 0.25 mile swim, 14 mile ride, 3.1 mile run

Sunday, June 29: Rest day

Week 8 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 3 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 30: Rest day

Tuesday, July 1: Rest day

Wednesday, July 2: 4.88 mile run

Thursday, July 3: 5.01 mile run

Friday, July 4: 6.84 mile hike up Mt. Si, probably one of the most challenging hikes I’ve completed this season

Saturday, July 5: Rest day

Sunday, July 6: 5.67 mile run around Green Lake during one of the hottest days of the year

Week 9-10 training resolutions:

-I resolve to use my vacation as a partial jumpstart to my tri training. I would actually argue that it is way too late, but I’m going to aim for it anyways. I’ll continue my marathon training and try to add swimming during my leisure downtime and maybe wake up early to run and jump on a spin bike at the Waikiki 24 Hour Fitness. (I don’t think I’ll be renting a bike this time so this is my next best and free alternative, since I already have a membership.)

-I resolve to do as much swimming in Hawaii 5 out of 7 days, with a half-mile minimum. The clear and shallow water will be good for me. I can practice dodging humans and form while working on my tan. And since I’ll have to swim in open water without a wetsuit, it’ll help me regain some of that alignment I may have lost in all of the time I’ve spent out of the water.

-I resolve to ride on my trainer while doing my reading (as much as it is possible for me to still comprehend my reading and still focus on the workout). I would like to get at least 2 rides in while I am still in town, and to ride 4 times in the early mornings while in Hawaii.

-I resolve to continue with my marathon training plan, but giving myself permission to drop one of the easy/short runs, or to break up the weekly long run with half-run sandwiches (splitting a 12 miler between 2 consecutive 6 milers)

What’s really important is that Seafair will be the weekend I return from Hawaii, so it is really important that I at least get *half* of my resolved sessions in. AT. LEAST. I’m sure I’ll survive. I think I will. I think I can!

Lessons learned from the last three weeks:

-Respect the distance: Just because you’ve done the distance before, it doesn’t mean you can attempt the distance (comfortably) without the training. During my last race/open water swim I seriously thought I was down for the count. I’ve never flagged down a safety kayak but I did that morning. I ended up making it out of the water just fine but seriously…I can’t let that happen again. It’s a safety hazard at that point. I need to get in the training if I expect to be able to finish these races comfortably.

-Train before your brain knows what’s going on: Making things dead simple and automatic is the name of the game. You perform what you practice, so take the brainpower out of practice by scheduling everything in advance (as much as possible) so that you can focus on execution. This became apparent to me on race morning when I got my gear ready at the last minute (instead of laying everything out the night before) and then being at a loss of how to fuel before the race (since I’ve made it a habit to train in the morning on an empty stomach). It’s one thing to be self-aware…it’s a completely different story to self-correct.

-If you can’t get the little things right, you can’t achieve the bigger things: Seriously…fueling issues? Can’t get my swim training in? How do I expect to ever finish a 140.6 if I can’t nail the little simple things? 140.6 miles is no joke, and it’s a dream I’ve been chasing for years at this point. If I want to go for it, I’ll need to prove that I can stick to something consistently and get the training in. The more I fumble on these little things, the more the bigger goals are out of reach.

Humble brags from the last three weeks:

-Nailing an A-average across both of my grad school classes, despite my insane schedule

-Getting most of my marathon training in, on point and on schedule

-Still cognizant and self-correcting on my triathlon training mishaps

-Actively trying to make better eating choices, going to begin logging my food intake again

-Still managed to finish a triathlon, even though I had some pretty severe highs and lows during the race

-Raised $215 for my Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser in the first week

Week 2+3 Seafair Sprint Tri Training: Stay Overzealous, Friends

Hi party people! Four weeks in to my new training regimen and I’m feeling good. Still squeezing workouts into random time pockets in my calendar but at least I feel like things are somewhat back to normal. Week 2 was particularly momentous because I got some wonderful news: my fracture was completely healed up, and I received my long-awaited Bia! Woo-hoo!

Because my fracture was all healed up, I took to the streets and trails to make up for some lost time. Hence, I haven’t been biking and swimming as much as I should be. Running is just so convenient…all I do is lace up and head out. I suppose with my bike on the trainer it is still sort of like that. My swims are at odd hours of the day, mostly because of my work and school schedule. So far 2am has been the best time to catch some laps at my local pool. It’s okay though. Even though my training is not as regimented as seasons past, I think I can still forgive myself because I’m really still just getting back into the swing of things.

So far the odd scheduling is working for me: work during the day, go to sleep immediately when I get home from work. Wake up at around midnight. Maybe head in for a swim or get cracking on my schoolwork. Try to catch some sleep by 5am. Wake up at 7, get some training in, and then head to work again. Weekends are for resetting the sleep schedule and hiking during the day. I’m really beginning to appreciate my decision of sticking with sprint triathlons this year…it’s really opening up my schedule for school and for all the hiking I missed out on last year. Maybe I can finally have it all…?

I think what’s most confusing about me is that I focus on so many things simultaneously. I can’t choose one sport…I choose five. I have so many simultaneous goals and aspirations that it’s hard for me to give my time accordingly. Also, it really cuts out time for socializing, which I think is semi-okay, since the people I want to spend my time with will have similar interests anyways and will join me on some of these excursions! I just sent out a save the date for my December San Jacinto Peak hike. Still keeping my tri goals in check. Ever excited about skiing Niseko next winter. This girl can’t choose just one sport. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) So, I guess the only alternative is to do it all. Be overzealous. Always have a reach goal — something that causes you to stretch out of your comfort zone, something a little more difficult than what you want to take on. It is in that discomfort zone that the magic happens. Been there…and I want to be there again.

Hiking Cougar Mountain

Week 2 Seafair Sprint Tri Training:

Monday, May 19: Rest day

Tuesday, May 20: 11.25 miles cycling on the indoor trainer/45 minutes

Wednesday, May 21: 3.17 mile run. My first run in eons. My fracture-is-finally-healed victory run!

Thursday, May 22: 3.2 mile run. Still feeling good.

Friday, May 23: 3.56 mile run. Okay, maybe a bit overzealous. Legs are getting really tired at this point but I don’t really care because I get to run!

Saturday, May 24: 11.25 miles cycling on the trainer

Sunday, May 25: 2.81 mile hike at Cougar Mountain, Shangri-la Trail

Week 3 Seafair Sprint Tri Training:

Monday, May 26: Memorial Day weekend called for back-to-back hikes. 3.83 miles up Poo Poo Point trail. It was really steep for our level so we backed out. Will definitely go back soon!

Tuesday, May 27: That steep hike really kicked my butt. It kicked my butt so hard that my hamstrings were totally shot. Tried to head out for a run and only made it up the street and back. 0.46 mile run.

Wednesday, May 28: Tried to run again. 0.42 miles. Still hurting. Still icing and rolling. I hop on the bike instead for half an hour, 7.5 miles. (I killed my time going out for that test run so I couldn’t bike as long.)

Thursday, May 29: Squeezed in a 0.5 mile swim. Quick and efficient. Still hovering around the 20-minute mark. Would like to continue working on this and work my way down to 15 minutes. I wonder if I should even bother with a wetsuit for a sprint tri. I guess it depends.

Friday, May 30: 1.01 mile run. Hamstrings are mostly on the mend but are still a bit sore. Decided not to push it so that I could bank my recovery for weekend hiking.

Saturday, May 31: 3.74 mile hike at Cougar Mountain

Sunday, June 1: Today, I haven’t headed out yet…but will probably hike Tiger Mountain or Cougar Mountain, hopefully something in the 3-4 mile range.

Lessons learned this week (and last):

-Don’t go too hard too fast. My hamstring is still kind of annoyed with me. My heart has more endurance than my body — that’s a fact that I need to accept. Gradual adaptation is best.

-Balance and harmony is everything. If I’m not feeling a workout, it is better to stop early than it is to push myself and get injured. Personally, my injuries come from when I’m not paying attention. I rarely slack.

-Have goals in mind, but follow where your heart leads. My goals are an Olympic triathlon and a summit at the end of the year, but right now I want to focus more on running and hiking. That’s okay. I know that I won’t perform as well in the swimming or biking portion for now but it is a trade-off I am willing to make.

-Training slows down life just enough so that I appreciate my surroundings and the people I am with. Life moves at such a hectic pace, and training really allows me to slow down and regroup for a few small chunks of time. This time is sacred to me. I don’t get to experience the holistic picture of my life in front of a computer screen, at a bar, or with my nose in a book. I get to experience it when I unplug and explore my surroundings and my limits.

Sunset over Lake Union

-One of these days I’ll actually have to swim a bit more consistently. And I’ll have to do some practice swims out in Lake Union, just to make sure that I haven’t forgotten how to swim in open water.

-I need to take my bike off the trainer. There’s a park nearby — Interlaken Park — that is supposed to be wonderful for cycling. I can always hit the Burke-Gilman though. There’s just so many tree roots in the way.

So, on that note…onwards to week 4+5…Seafair awaits!

My 7-Week Training Forecast

Starts off at 13:30 a week. Tops out at 16:30 a week.

Clear your mind of can’t

The goal is to leave room for two consecutive rest days on the weekend, so that I may actually get a chance to enjoy my weekends doing non-training related stuff. Wednesdays by far are the hardest day since I stack all of my training on that day and I will be coming off of my long ride and going into my long run.

Okay, maybe it’s a bit overzealous. Now that I have a schedule I will probably do everything in my power to *not* follow it anyways…so this is a start.

Better head to bed so that I can get my training in and get to my 9:30am meeting!

(Click through to the calendar to see it in full size.)

My training plan for the next 7 weeks

Race Recap: 2013 Rock n Roll Portland Half Marathon

So I’ve had Rock n Roll Portland on my list for quite awhile now. I was really happy to knock this one off my list! This particular half marathon was very important to me since it was my first official long run since I sprained my ankle a few months ago. Thankfully, it held up to the punishing hills that I was NOT anticipating and it was business as usual.

The weekend started off normally enough. It was a busy one in particular, because I opted to squeeze in an open water swim clinic on my way to Portland. I got a good warm-up in (as the swim group called it!) and after that, I drove my drippy self over to Portland. I totally didn’t plan the post-swim drive very well. I really should’ve worn the tri-suit underneath my wetsuit and nearly had to contort myself backwards in the drivers seat to avoid flashing anyone in my car. I had a few hot yoga towels with me that kept me covered and dry during the wiggle out of the wetsuit and one-piece swimsuit and into some driving clothes.

It was a pretty boring drive. Green, lots and lots of green and trees and stuff. Pretty, but also pretty boring. I was by myself and had a pretty ass-kicking week at work as usual. I grabbed some breakfast in Tumwater (where?!) and then grabbed some coffee about another half hour down the highway. I made it over the WA/OR bridge and went straight to the expo.

There, I missed Kara Goucher’s talk but sat through a few other ones. Managed to stock up on a few boxes of Gu, grabbed some new compression socks, and got myself from free KTTape as well. Met a new friend in line (hi Leanne!) and met up with an old friend from a past race (hi Charlotte!), so that was really nice. Seems like running girlfriends become instantaneous girlfriends, but since I’ve rarely made friends outside of races I tend to still be a loner when it comes to the local 10K around the lake. (I keep trying to convince my guy friends to join me to no avail…)

I ended up crashing at a cheapie motel about fifteen minutes down the highway from the race. After the expo, it was raining like crazy and I ended up questioning all of my clothing choices. Dashing out the door, I didn’t bring a waterproof windbreaker, a running hat, or my gore-tex running shoes. After my carboload dinner with Charlotte (where we talked about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!) I headed out to a few shops to stock up on my potential rain gear. Yeah yeah, I know that you’re not supposed to wear new gear, but I’ve never been chafed by a hat nor have I ever been chafed by a windbreaker on top of a running base layer. So there. I also head to a supermarket to grab some low-cost bites for breakfast and a gallon jug of water for my Camelbak.

I prep my gear and head to bed pretty early. The race night butterflies have definitely settled. I didn’t feel nervous at all. None of the tossing and turning that happened in my first year of running. I think I’ve done a good handful of half marathons now that I don’t feel like there is anything to be scared of. Now, get me at the start line of a marathon or a short tri and I’ll feel like wretching…but that’s besides the point.

Portland, by far, was one of those easiest cities to navigate. Even on race morning, with all of the road closures, I was able to make it from my hotel to the start line in about ten minutes. Parking was ample, and as I turned off the highway and into the city I immediately found a parking lot that wasn’t charging an arm and a leg! I pulled in and it was a little more than an hour to the start, so I chowed down on my breakfast: 2 greek yogurts and a large coffee. The yogurt and honey had the carbs to keep me going. It had the fat to keep me full. And the coffee just wired me! (Although McD’s coffee is pretty weak. I would’ve preferred Starbucks but I had no time to spare!)

Met up with Charlotte and her friend at the start for some photo opps and good luck hugs, and pretty soon, we were off! I was in corral 19, pretty far down, but I didn’t mind. Prior to the race, I chatted with my coach to tell him that I was going to employ a new race strategy. Since I probably won’t start my Ironman marathon with a full-speed gallop, I figured that I could practice a walk/run strategy. Walk 1 mile, run a few, repeat until I finish. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when I ran it by my coach, he said — “you didn’t train all this time to walk in the half marathon!” I wanted to protest, but seeing as though he was not my Ironman coach per se but was really just a strength and conditioning coach I could see where he was coming from. I decided to just take it as I felt, and when I crossed the start line I had a plan. I wanted to work on pace, and oh man, those hills really challenged that plan!

Rock n Roll Portland Half Marathon Route

So, as much as I enjoyed the race, my legs really burned! Thankfully, only my legs burned and my ankles were holding up just fine. As you can see by the RunKeeper report above, I kept a pretty consistent pace. I stopped to walk at a few aid stations but I had my Camelbak and some nutrition with me. My least favorite miles were 1-3, mainly because the first 3 miles of every run naturally sucks, but also because we ran through a particularly smelly (like, urine smelly) area. I wish they moved those first few miles elsewhere, or at least made them more scenic. It was awesome running across a bridge (great idea to lay out that flooring so that our shoes wouldn’t get stuck in the mesh wires!) and some of the neighborhoods of Portland. One thing I will always love about Rock n Roll races is that it is impossible to get lost, and the routes always go through the best parts of town. It’s like being able to take a tour of the city on foot. (Now if they can only provide an annotated tour during the run…that would be awesome!)

Overall, it was a fun race and yes, I would do it again. Except this time I’d do more hillwork, for sure. I had my new running shoes ordered while I was at the expo, so it was nice coming home to them. They should last me the summer if all goes well.

After my jaunt around town, I headed to the downtown 24 Hour Fitness to get some quality swim and hot tub time in. It was so worth it!

Week 3 Ironman Louisville Training: Hope is Not a Strategy

This week was a great week. I’m coming off a high of a pretty awesome training week. I really feel like things are coming together. It’s not easy but I’m seeing progress (despite setbacks here and there). I spent some time combing through my training plan this week, doing research on the swim/bike/run route in Louisville. There’s still a lot of things to look over and study but I think I have a rough idea as to what I’m coming up against.

Hope is not a strategy – Luck is not a factor – Fear is not an option

I need to definitely work on performance consistency in the pool, getting in some endurance while still maintaining focus on form. I need to get lots more miles on the bike and as the weather clears up, I think I will have more opportunities to do some outdoor riding. I think indoor riding will save me in terms of hill/endurance/speed training this season, so I’m looking forward to more funsies with the plethora of indoor bikes at 24…and maybe taking a cycling class regularly. (I’ll have to work that in to my schedule!)

I finally hit the “Buy now” button on my cycling purchase: got some new pedals, new shoes, some jerseys and a new pair of cycling shorts. It should tide me over until I can get to a local bike shop to try on some saddles. I had one objective this weekend outside of training and that was to put my bike pedals on…I haven’t done it yet, and since I’ve done my nails already I don’t foresee myself doing it anytime tonight. Maybe tomorrow, after swim…

Got the shoes, got the pedals…

I was thinking that I could treat myself with a session of bikram yoga for a week well done. I was thinking I could try to make it tomorrow!

Today, I worked out my tri race season…found an olympic distance race in June and it looks like I’ll be doing the 70.3 Lake Stevens after all. Coach said that it should be an “easy” race and should get me ready for the full distance in August. I think I’ll push the olympic but go easy on my 70.3 since it’s only a month out from my A race and I don’t want to do anything stupid (like break all of my bones and pull every muscle in my body).

Week 3 Ironman Louisville Training:

13.4 hours training; Swim: 7656 yards; Bike: 77.61 miles; Run: 10.56 miles; Walk: 4.2 miles; Total mileage: 96.72 miles.

Monday, March 11: Runners conditioning class. I do some weird long jump over huge tires and land funny and pull my hamstring. I follow up this class with a 1-hour(1320 yards) swim class.

Tuesday, March 12: Walked to and from work. Took the day off from training completely because my left hamstring was hurting a lot when I put weight on it. Sat at home on an edamame bag and spent most of the evening catching up with reading.

Wednesday, March 13: I head in early morning to the gym. After my evening research about hamstring injuries, I find that using the elliptical can help me isolate some muscle groups. I use the elliptical to get in my mileage/time without bothering my hamstring. I run into my coach and ask if biking is okay; turns out that it is, so long that I ride easy and flat. I head home to grab an hour of training (I cut a half hour off) and keep it easy. After my chiro appointment in the afternoon I’m able to book a massage appointment for the next evening.

Thursday, March 14: After falling asleep really early on Wednesday night, I head to the pool at 5ish for a swim. I use a foam dumbbell to keep myself from kicking (therefore sparing my hamstrings again) and focus on mileage and my freestyle stroke. I swim for an hour and 20 minutes for 1.2 miles. I follow it up with an hour and a half on the bike before I jet to work with my car. That evening I get my massage and VOILA! My hamstring is back to normal. It was a sweet, sweet pain type of massage, but the work was so great that I felt good as new after walking out of the office. Huzzah!

Friday, March 15: I rejoin my tri team in the morning for agility training. Headed home and walked to work after breakfast. I head to the gym after work — despite my desire to do so — to knock out 45 minutes on the elliptical because my workout plan said so.

Saturday, March 16: This was one loooooong day. 1 hour in the pool (1.2 miles) + 2 hours on the recumbent bike (26.11 miles) + 45 minute run on the elliptical (3.5 miles). I got home at around 4 pm (I spent about 1 hour just chatting with my coach) and proceeded to eat and nap for the majority of my day.

Sunday, March 17: 1 hour 15 minutes in the pool (1.2 miles) and 50 minutes on the elliptical (4.1 miles).

I really look forward to running (on something that’s not an elliptical) next week!! I think laying off my hamstrings were a good idea and since they are not bothering me now, I should be good to pick up where I left off.

Feeling grateful for being able to rebound from an injury quickly. Work is uber stressful these days and balancing my training with it has been a challenge. Regardless…relentless forward progress!

Race Recap: 2013 Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Arizona

Despite the tragedy surrounding race weekend, it went pretty well. Everything prior to the expo was a bit of a blur. I quickly picked up all of my race swag and headed out to wander the expo for a few hours. I picked up a few safety items — a Brooks night running jacket and a few blinky lights. Also managed to replace a few of my iFitness water bottles since I seemed to have lost the top to one of them. I even loaded up on a 24-pack of Gu that I was able to pack back onto the plane. After sitting through one of the pre-race chats, I headed out to lunch/dinner and then quickly retreated back to the hotel.

Oddly enough it was one of the best nights I’ve had before a race. I got a full 8-9 hours of sleep. In the middle of the night I had somehow dreamt that I saw a bright white light. It started out as a faint glimmer, and as I stopped to examine it, the light moved closer and got brighter until eventually my entire field of vision was engulfed with it. I immediately woke up and for some reason, had bike helmets on my mind. I grabbed some water and headed back to bed. It was only later that I realized that the vision of sorts may have been related to my friend’s cycling accident.

Race morning, I headed into Tempe with a flood of other cars. I scored some parking really close to the start/finish line at Tempe Beach Park, which is the Ironman AZ swim start location.

Tempe Beach Park
Tempe Beach Park

The race started off without a hitch. In the middle of the crowd I felt a bit melancholy and sad. I tried not to cry like the day before but I couldn’t help but shed a few tears thinking about Ron. The peppy runner girls got weirded out by me and headed to another part of the corral. Oh well. What cheered me up was that I was next to a guy who was extremely happy to be there: he was dancing and had a huge, goofy smile plastered on his face. After examining his bib it turns out that he was a legacy runner, having ran the same race for 10 years in a row. I guess he had a plenty good reason to be happy!

It started off nice and cool. I tried not to overdress but I think I did. I was definitely still on Seattle weather, because I had my thermal running leggings and a long-sleeved shirt. I nixed the windbreaker at the last minute, since there didn’t seem to be any winds a-blowing. I started regretting the decision to overdress at around mile 7 or 8, when the cool air lifted and made way for desert warmth. I savored the sun and the heat, knowing that I’d very well miss it when I got back to Seattle.

Desert scenery @ Rock n Roll Arizona 2013

I want to say miles 7 through 10 was probably my most favorite miles of the entire race. Not only was it the most scenic, but the motivational signs really helped. It was right along here that I thought of Ron the most.

Trials are blessings in disguise.

This sign choked me up the most. It’s hard to see what good can come out of a friend’s death. I am sure in time it will make sense but for now, I guess all you can do is have faith that he did not die in vain.

The journey is the reward.

Running while choked up is really hard. It’s the whole “mind over matter” game. The minute I told my body to relax, it did. The minute I let my emotions get a hold of me, they literally choked me. It continued for a few miles but eventually I was able to get my bearings and get a move on. I had a finish line to reach for Ron. I eventually crossed it — 17 minutes faster than my last half marathon at the beginning of December. I attribute my time to 1) Ron, 2) all of my training, and 3) going vegetarian.

I headed out for my ritual reward meal…In-n-Out, strategically placed within a mile of the finish line. I gobbled everything in the sun. I felt like the weekend was finally picking up.

My reward: a grilled cheese and animal style fries!

Got my first dual-race medal, the Desert Double down. I’m excited about the 9 other Rock n Roll races I’m planning to run this year. Yay tour pass and ambitious goals!

Desert Double Down and Rock n Roll Arizona 2013 Medal

Then, that evening, I headed out of Phoenix. It was a crampy, rough ride back to Seattle, but the scenery was gorgeous.

Heading out of Phoenix

Overall a very steady and quick pace. Well, at least it was quick for me. Now if I could only sustain that type of effort over twice the distance. Now that’d be pretty nice!

Rock n Roll AZ Course and Elevation Chart