Resetting Expectations

The thing with injuries is that it allows me ample time to reflect. An injury pretty much grinds all of my training plans to a screeching halt. The Whidbey Island Marathon in April (which was downgraded to a half marathon, which was then downgraded to a 10K) is definitely out of the picture. I think I’ll still be on target for some Olympic tris this summer, but my 70.3 and 140.6 may be a bit at risk. It’s going to take some time to rehab this ankle and get my strength back to where it was last December. To think that so much could’ve gone right and wrong in the last three months…

Resetting expectations isn’t a bad thing. For someone like me who loves going at full throttle, there’s value in slowing down every once in awhile. It’s frustrating, but I think back to my rack of medals hanging in my living room and I remember that it’s all a process — I didn’t get to where I was overnight, and it’ll take a lot more than an annoying ankle injury to keep me away from the activities that I love.

These next few weeks will be a bit crazy with work deadlines, but I’ve given myself a stretch goal: Over the next 16 days I need to log 30 miles in the pool. I think it’s doable. The pool won’t aggravate my ankle. It’ll help me build some much needed conditioning. My long swim days (which are most of them) can be broken up into shorter day and night segments, or a long day/short night, or short day/long night segments. This will probably help cure some of my insomnia woes and will force me to manage my time a little better. What will be difficult will be juggling the long swims during the weekends, which is generally the time I go skiing. I guess if I can go skiing in the mornings I might be able to squeeze the swims in to the evenings. Maybe that’ll be too taxing. Now I’m just speculating…

Regardless, it’ll be nice getting back into training mode.

Here’s my schedule, for those of you who are curious what 30 miles over 16 days looks like:

Looking forward to knocking out this stretch goal…and if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll come close and at least get some swimming in. I’m certainly looking forward to some spring swimming with my tri group and some summer swimming in Lake Union. By the way, that cover image is one of me, swimming into the sunset in Lake Union. Best thing ever!

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

Week 6+7 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: Warrior, Not Worrier

Week 6 and 7 are in the books. Only 10 weeks left to go before the big day!

I’ve spent the last few weeks pretty stressed and exhausted. I never knew what it was like to be so tired that I couldn’t sleep. My legs and body would be sore but my mind would wander and race. (Typical me.)

In between week 6 and 7 I went tandem skydiving. It was really awesome. One of the only times this year that I actually found peace. Not having to really worry about equipment and such it was really nice going along for the ride. There’s nothing like falling out of a plane at 12,500 feet with a minute of freefall to give you a new perspective. When I was falling, all was calm in between the ears. I was mostly awe-stricken by the beautiful scenery. It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. The irony is that my father (and probably by proxy, mother) were horrified that I had made the jump. I got a few choice words, like “what were you thinking?” “you could do anything else, just not this” “you know everyone is talking about this”.

In life, be a warrior, not a worrier

Let me be clear — crystal clear — that I don’t do any of this to impress anyone. I do these things because I want to do them, plain and simple. And I don’t care if people gossip or talk ill about me behind my back. I could honestly care less. My goals have never been able to impress anyone. I’d rather befriend and motivate people to make changes in their lives for the better. Yes, I take risks…like swimming in open water, riding my bike in traffic, driving my car around, and okay, once jumping out of a plane. All of these things are calculated risks. No one ever expected life to be a safe ride, right? I’m tired of hearing that people are scared of doing things. Fear holds you back. Fear is what keeps people from learning about others, experiencing new things, exploring new places, or understanding themselves. I’ve spent my twenties conquering a lot of my fears — fear of success, fear of falling, fear of failing, fear of swimming, fear of responsibility, fear of commitment, fear of never being able to speak openly about the things that have happened to me. When you live in fear, you lower expectations. I never want to live that way. I could care less if it makes someone else uncomfortable, because frankly I think the positivity I bring to the world far outweighs the fear of naysayers.

Life doesn’t have to suck – do something about it

On a good note, I also had another win last week. My friend signed up for the Whidbey Island Marathon! Looks like I’ll be running another 26.2 after all in April. I’m really excited about getting him race-ready. I’ve put together a pretty sweet plan between the time he gets back from vacation. We’ll be running once or twice a week together. It’s going to be awwwweeesome! On a bad note, my coach cut his hand pretty deep with an ax during a camping trip and it looks like I’ll be doing my Ironman solo. Bahumbug. You win some, you lose some.

Week 6 HITS 140.6 Training: 9.9 hours, Swim: 1408 yds, Bike: 58.75 mi, Run: 10.43 mi

Monday, September 9: 50-minute swim, 50-minute tri team conditioning

Tuesday, September 10: Morning 10K around Seattle

Wednesday, September 11: 40-minute swim

Thursday, September 12: 1-hour ride, 50-minute evening run

Friday, September 13: 1-hour ride

Saturday, September 14: Skydiving! (but the day started out with a 1-hour ride)

Sunday, September 15: 2-hour ride

Week 7 HITS 140.6 Training: 16.7 hours, Swim: 6547.2 yds, Bike: 83.39 mi, Run: 27.17 mi

Monday, September 16: Rest day 🙂

Tuesday, September 17: 1:15 ride

Wednesday, September 18: 8.35 mile sunrise run

Thursday, September 19: 1.32 mile swim, 12.63 mile ride, 5.24 mile run

Friday, September 20: 1.2 mile swim, 3.24 mile run

Saturday, September 21: 30.84 mile ride

Sunday, September 22: 1.2 mile swim, 26.25 mile ride, 10.34 mile run

Also, thanks to everyone who has donated to my fundraiser so far. $244 of my $1500 goal. I really appreciate it!

$244 down. $1,256 to go!

Week 4 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: Inspire Through Example

Le sigh. SIGH SIGH SIGH.

I feel like I’ve made some good progress with swimming this summer. However, I’ve made almost zero progress with my cycling. I think I have actually digressed because at the beginning of spring I rocked a 56-ish mile ride and did great, and now I’m struggling through a 28 mile ride. That’s bad news for me since, well, as of today summer is kind of officially over here in Seattle. I mean, it doesn’t pour rain for days on end (I think? I can’t remember) but the outdoor training time that I so desperately need is dwindling down. Why oh why did I pick a winter race knowing that I’d be coming into a season of cycling training?! What was I thinking?! Do I have to go head-first into cycling in the rain? (I had better invest in a better helmet, if so.)

Bahumbug.

So this week I had one really good win — I finished my first 1.2 mile swim in open water. Granted it was lap intervals in the little dock near my place, and I took a few breather breaks in between, but I finished! That’s a good first step. I was hipping and hopping from such an awesome swim, thinking about how far I had come in conquering my fear of the open water, when I hopped on my bike on Sunday to realize that my planned ride of 60 miles seemed so physically out of reach. I timeboxed my saddle time to 3 hours and I only went 28.75 miles. UHG! Slowpoke much? To top it off I fell of my bike once at an intersection (hello neosporin) and wobbled off my bike at another intersection. I’m starting to feel that I’d feel a lot better about my rides if I didn’t ride with a GPS, but unfortunately it is a necessity in my training. I feel great when I am just riding along, but when I look at the data of how slow I am going, it is soul-crushing because I think of the cutoff times for my race:

Race starts at 7am
9:20am swim cutoff (max time 2:20 for 2.4 miles)
5:20pm bike cutoff (max time 10:20 for 112 miles = 10.84mph)
12:00am run cutoff (max time 6:40 marathon = 4mph roughly)

Okay, so maybe when I actually see it spelled out that way it doesn’t seem too bad. Still, I don’t want to finish off the skin of my teeth. My times are manageable at these snails paces at the half IM distance at best. I really need to rehab this ankle quickly and get a move on my training! And I need to get some good experience on the bike without wrecking my budget. Trying to budget my time, energy, and money simultaneously is exhausting. Remind me to never attempt so many different things all at the same time ever again. This might’ve been worse than that time I decided to train for a sprint tri and a marathon at the same time, where training for my first sprint tri included learning how to swim and bike. It looks like I’m still technically on that same path, right?

I was really, really down on myself after that bike ride on Sunday though. It was such a beautiful day too. Everything hurt. The saddle hurt. Falling off my bike hurt. Riding into the wind hurt. It wasn’t even that windy but I normally go a lot faster on the trail, so either my entire body was filled with lead, or I was tired, or there was wind that day. You know, I remember the days when it was a victory to even bike 1.5 miles to work. Then it was a victory to bike 3 miles to work. Those days are behind me, when a 15 mile ride was considered my long A-race ride. How will I manage 112 miles? And will my behind survive?

And did you hear about Diana Nyad swimming 103 miles from Cuba to Florida? That woman is extraordinary. I can’t even imagine cycling 103 miles at this point. She inspires people through example. I have that engraved on my RoadID but rides like the one I took on Sunday make me feel lower than low. I just have so much work to do on the bike.

Remember why you want to do this.

Also, embarking on a fundraising journey is very taxing. No donations yet but hopefully someone will toss a few dollars my way. I really want to do right by the charities that I am fundraising for. I will get to the $1500 mark somehow, hopefully through a mix of generosity of those around me and by my own giving.

Week 4 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: 13.5 hours; Swim: 5496 yards; Bike: 73.75 miles; Run: 8.83 mi.

Monday, August 26: Swim + tri team strength training brick workout

Tuesday, August 27: Spin class in the morning

Wednesday, August 28: Swim + tri team strength training brick workout in the morning. Spin class in the evening. I feel like dying from exhaustion but apparently it isn’t my time yet.

Thursday, August 29: Spin class in the morning. I feel like dying still. I was so exhausted that I actually went home and took a 3 hour nap before work.

Friday, August 30: Long run on the elliptical because of a bum ankle. I really hope it doesn’t give me any grief during my race.

Saturday, August 31: 1.2 mile open water swim in the morning, 1 hour ride at a snail’s pace

Sunday, September 1: 3 hour ride at a snail’s pace 🙁

My last official race before HITS is this Saturday. That’s a long break between races. I hope I do all right this weekend, considering that I’m still icing my ankle.

Week 2+3 HITS Palm Springs Training: A Twisted Ankle, and Then Some

Oh boy. I got one good training week in and then BAM — I was hit with another twist to the ankle on my morning run. I was down by half my training time this week (week #2), and I’ve reloaded it on week 3 hoping that it doesn’t overload my week 4 which, coincidentally, ends with my last “prep” race before the big 140.6, even though it is quite a ways out.

Making the time for training hasn’t been too much of a problem these last few weeks. It’s working around getting injured again. I’m icing and wrapping my ankle everyday. I might need to look into something like KT Tape to wear consistently. How paranoid is paranoid though? Can I really withstand 15 weeks of training with KT Tape on both of my ankles? And will I really know how to effectively wrap my ankle on my own? (I guess I could probably learn…)

Today was Ironman Louisville. A DNS. Blerg. Trying not to beat myself over it. I even grabbed a drink on Friday with a bunch of friends at work to help lessen the blow to my morale. It was followed up with a massive apartment makeover, along with lopping my hair off for charity this evening. (Hooray for knocking off something from my 30×30 list.)

Cutting my hair to donate to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program

I think I will be able to make it back to training tomorrow morning with a new appreciation for fresh beginnings. I’m trying not to let the baggage of my DNS at Louisville get to my training for Palm Springs. Most people seem more excited that the race is in Palm Springs anyways…I guess the weather will be in my favor, with exception of the ice cold swim. I’ve been getting my share of non-wetsuit open water swimming lately and I can feel the water temps dropping lower and lower. Polar plunge. I’m getting all of my training buddies together at the dock near my apartment, and it’s been fun swimming with more than just one other person (usually Shant, and he is of course very good company).

I’ve been looking at a few charities to race for as well. There’s lots of causes that I champion, but I want to make sure that my fundraising dollars make a great impact. I’ve been debating between a few causes — maybe 3 charities, $1000 each. It adds a different stress to my training. I remember when I trained for my first marathon I really wanted to focus on the training. It wasn’t until my second marathon that I added the charity element to it. I’ve thought about joining a charity team too but I’m not sure if anything is forming specifically for the HITS race. Hence, I may attempt to do it on my own. Look for an announcement about it soon. Training for myself is a pretty selfish endeavor and I’d like to balance it all out by doing it for some sort of greater good, rather than just to cross something off my bucket list.

I think the biggest win I had with training for Louisville was really getting over my fear of open water swimming. Sometimes on my first 100 yards I still get a bit choked up, but I’ve really learned to move beyond my fears and just push through and have faith in my abilities. I hope that I similarly learn how to do that with cycling this coming season. It will be difficult with the rainy season upon me, so I will need to look for ways to get some outdoor riding in when things get slushy. I can’t remember how bad the weather gets after Labor Day but…yeah, I will need to figure something out.

Anywho, on to some training recap. I need to be in the pool at 5:30am! (Which is less than 7 hours from now…)

Week 2+3 HITS Palm Springs Training: 

Monday, August 12: 50 minute swim, 50 minutes strength training with the team

Tuesday, August 13: Rest day!

Wednesday, August 14: 55 minute swim, 50 minute strength training, 35 minute open water swim.

Thursday, August 15: 1 hour cycling, 45 minute run

Friday, August 16: 1 hour cycling, 35 minute run

Saturday, August 17: 1:31:59 run (a rather sad 6.5 mile run, I was so exhausted!)

Sunday, August 18: 2:25:46 cycling, 24.1 miles. Lots of headwind and also rode with a few friends which called for an early stop.

Monday, August 19: Rest day

Tuesday, August 20: 55 minute run…and then I twisted my ankle! BOO! 🙁 🙁 🙁

Wednesday, August 21: Nothing. Mostly pouting.

Thursday, August 22: 30 minute open water swim. Ankle is incredibly sore to start but feels a lot better after my swim.

Friday, August 23: 55 minute swim, 50 minute strength training

Saturday, August 24: 45 minute swim, open water, mostly helping teammate getting acquainted with the darkness that is LAKE SWIMMING

Sunday, August 25: 1:15/1.2 mile swim in the lap pool. Half the distance I originally wanted to do but oh well. There’s always next week.

Onwards to week 4!

Week 1 HITS Palm Springs 140.6 Training: Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy

With Ironman Louisville in my hypothetical rear-view mirror, I plodded along and laid down the plans for my new backup race in Palm Springs. This morning I thought about the last four weeks and how I’d been off my feet for three of them. This morning I didn’t feel any worse off having taken time off for my surgery or my family emergency. If anything, I think I came back stronger and more focused.

In celebration for…well, nothing in particular, I finally put up my medal rack. Well, I take that back. My boyfriend helped me hang it in my apartment. I figured that since I’m going to live here for at least another year I can dress up my pretty sparsely decorated apartment. It was a beautiful sign I ordered last year from York Sign Shop on Etsy. I will probably order another one soon for my upcoming bling.

All of my race bling!

My first week back at training was tougher than expected. I went a bit off schedule since my training group switched up our days so I ended up training 8 days in a row. Hopefully I can stay on track for the remainder of my weeks. 🙂

Week 1 HITS Palm Springs 140.6 Training:
11.6 hours of training
Swim: 5855.97 yards
Bike: 54.55 miles
Run: 4.05 miles

Monday, August 5: An hour and 20 minutes in the pool with two different coaches. Lois (my open water swim coach) met me at my gym pool in Seattle. After my session ended I still had some energy so I stayed for another session with my tri team with my usual coach. A fun way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, August 6: Swim with the group in the morning, followed by team strength training.

Wednesday, August 7: Indoor ride followed by a run.

Thursday, August 8: Indoor ride followed by a very short outdoor run.

Friday, August 9: Early morning swim (no team this time) followed by a grueling strength training session.

Saturday, August 10: Impromptu team swim

Sunday, August 11: First ride since Seafair. 26 miles or so with one of my teammates. (Two people bailed) It was a really fun ride, a bit hillier than what I am used to. If I can get strong on this route I think I will be good to go for HITS Palm Springs. Maybe do 4 loops of this for my 100-mile training ride and make stops at the Leschi Starbucks on each loop 🙂

At the behest of my teammate I have signed up for personal coaching through CycleU for some instructional 1:1 time on the bike. I definitely need it (and I need to be able to keep up with my teammates!).

Race Recap: Seafair Olympic Triathlon 2013

A new race distance only means one thing…an automatic PR!

So I wasn’t fast, but I finished with a smile on my face. That was the goal all along. The team (and then some) were at the finish chute cheering me along, which was really nice!

Anyways, let’s head back to the beginning.

The day before, I felt like I was going through the motions. I just got back in to town from a family emergency trip. The weight of the world felt (and still feels) like it is resting up on my shoulders. From time to time I’m able to break free from the shackles of the weight but then I’m reminded again of all the things still left to take care of. I have my timing chip and I put it on the night before — a 3x tradition at this point. I sticker my number on my helmet (not before trying to get the gunk off from my last race number almost two years ago), sticker my seat post, thread my number through my race belt. I lay out all the gear I require for each of my sports in small squares divided up on my bed. It’s like I’m heading in to training for the billionth time. No big deal. I search the apartment high and low for Body Glide (it was hiding in one of my many, many baggies of gear). Things get packed and repacked and repacked into my bag. Wetsuit or no wetsuit? I cram it in there anyways.

After packing, I head out for a quick indoor ride. Like, 1 or so miles. I’m just testing the brakes, the gears, everything. I ride along Eastlake, heading past the docks where I went swimming in the lake. I head past some homes and apartments. I wind around my neighborhood during golden hour and it was beautiful. I wished that I had spent more of my time outdoors than indoors — something I used to do more of when I was training for shorter distances and not so worried about time and efficiency. I get back home, feeling hopeful, and head to bed. Even though this was my first olympic distance race, I slept well. I sleep well now before half marathons because they don’t seem to play mind-games with my psyche anymore. Then again, I might’ve slept well because I was exhausted.

The next morning I rose at 4:30am. I slide in to my trisuit, left my arm warmers behind, but got everything else. I headed to Seward Park on Lake Washington and pulled in to the first residential parking spot I saw. Right across the street from me was my coach and a few teammates. How serendipitous! Andy helps me prep my bike, checking my tires (they are still new since I barely took it off my trainer), and we head on over to the transition area. This was one of the few things I had actually not rehearsed. Where does everything go again? I tried to visualize my first race…and my second race…to no avail. I end up just neatly arranging things as I saw fit. One thing I got right was putting my sunglasses and bike gloves in my helmet, which was hanging from my handlebars. My socks were individually placed in my shoes. I had a few water bottles around. Seemed like I had everything I needed.

Transition closed and some of my teammates were scattered around the start. The only other teammate who was doing a full race was Amy, and since she was doing a sprint tri she wasn’t starting for another hour. The rest of the teammates were doing a relay, and they would start later as well. I took the liberty of swimming out to the dock and back to get a quick warmup before the race officially started. The water was warm! It wasn’t just the wetsuit either, but the water felt great. I swam out with my eyes open underwater. The darkness and milfoil didn’t seem to phase me all too much like it did before. I headed back to shore and then waited to be called with my age group.

As the swim got started, I tried to relax into it. Kept my breathing under control. Tried not to care too much if I was being passed up. I took it at my own pace, no matter how slow I thought it was, and I kept going. I was with my orange swim caps for awhile before the water started mixing up with different colors, but I tried not to think about it too much. One loop eventually became two. I got caught in a few tangles in the water, but I stayed zen and kept going. Before I knew it, I was out of the water!

On my way out I was excited that 1) I had such an easy, breezy, enjoyable swim and 2) I wasn’t dead last. I headed back to the transition area to grab my bike and that’s where I spent a few minutes confused. Where do I put all of this stuff? Wriggling out of my wetsuit, grabbing my sunglasses and bike gloves, figuring out what to do with my drippy stuff and where to hang my beloved goggles without losing them. I ended up just throwing a bunch of stuff on the ground (very unlike me) and took off with my bike. I think I managed to get my goggles in my bag.

So the bike part was fun but slightly embarrassing. I ended up getting off my bike twice — once at the beginning, when I was stuck behind this man who had a tough time biking up a steep part of the race. I had trouble too but not as much trouble as this guy. He went so slow that I couldn’t keep my balance behind him, so I ended up wobbling off my bike and just trekking up the hill. (I trekked up as quickly as he biked, if that was any indicator.). Then, the second time I got off my bike was at the turnaround on the I-90. I zoomed past the turnaround since I was unable to stop/corner/turn in time. I flew by the cops and they started laughing, which is fine. People laughing at/with me is not a big deal, but being able to turn without falling is by far much more important. I was able to turn around eventually, not too far from the actual turnaround site, but then I was wobbly getting back on the course. I was so wobbly, in fact, that I wobbled right into the center divider. (The bike portion of the race was done on the express lanes of the highway.) That ended up fine too, and the rest of the bike went off without any issues.

The run was also very pretty and a bit quiet. The race started thinning out between the sprint distance and the olympic. A few hills that I ended up walking because I was feeling a bit sore at the end. (Racing after two weeks of downtime will do that to you I guess!) I finished the race with a smile on my face, which is always the goal.

Move Over Louisville…I'm heading to Palm Springs for my 140.6

So there’s been a lot of developments lately in my personal life, some of it good and some of it bad.

For many reasons — I didn’t have enough base training/fitness in the bank…because I was out for a week with a dislocated shoulder, and then was out again for another week and a half with a sprained ankle, and then again for another two weeks because of my wisdom teeth surgery, and then for another week and a half because my mom went missing — I am dropping out of Ironman Louisville.

Just like that. 6 weeks out of a 24 week training plan, gone. Not only is it the emotional stress as of late but part of it was physically too.

I wear my DNS badge with honor knowing that I did everything I could to get ready for this race. I gave up a lot of weekends, a lot of time with my loved ones, made sacrifices and even cut sleep to get my training in at wacky hours. Training for Louisville has given me a lot of perspective, lessons, and even friends that I will carry over into the rest of my training. In training for Louisville I learned a lot about myself, got over my fear of open water swimming, fell for the first (few) times off my bike, and ventured to new places alone.

I spent most of Saturday sulking and being annoyed with everything. Yes, it sucks that I’m dropping out even though I’ve been training diligently since last November. Thankfully I got over it pretty quickly and carried positive energy over to my first olympic distance race on Sunday. I’ve already began making my rounds and telling my support group (friends mostly) about my withdrawal from the race, with a promise to take a stab again at the big 1-4-0-point-6 in the near future.

In fact, I already had a backup race. This girl always has a backup plan. And a backup of a backup. (You should know that by now!)

HITS Palm Springs 2013, I’m coming for you!

Week 14 Ironman Louisville Training: All Great Changes are Preceded by Chaos

What. A. Week!

I’ve learned a lot this week…learning a thing or two about making a schedule and sticking to it. Learning to “embrace the suck.” Learning to view my goals as non-negotiable. Learning to read my body a little better. I’m trying not to go crazy but my wisdom teeth are giving me problems again — as they have been the last 11 years — so I am finally meeting with an oral surgeon next week to explore options. I’m hoping that maybe I can push it off until after IMLOU (which was the plan all along) but things might not work out as expected.

(If the unexpected were to befall and I would have to bail out of IMLOU, I already have my backup race scheduled — the HITS Championships in Palm Springs, full/iron distance. So, no matter what, I’m not getting out of this one!)

All great changes are preceded by chaos

I’ve been trying to really embrace these longer training weeks. Really really REALLY trying to go zen with it. Trying to live in the present. Trying to live without expectation. Trying to enjoy the journey. It’s hard and it’s really tiring. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do, and I’ve tried to do a lot of things. With a weekend getaway coming up, I’ve had to squeeze two of my longest training weeks into 10 days. (Yeah, 4 days of training/active recovery is a bit too much time away.) I think right around hour 14 and up I tend to go batty anyways, so these higher volume weeks are pushing me to a limit.

Drop and give me zen

In Be Iron Fit, the author talks about a notion of “getting to that point” in the mental training section. The idea is to push yourself into a hard workout…not just tough for the moment or for a minute, but tough enough to break you. Any bike ride over 3.5 hours will do that to me already. I’m working at pushing through it, but it’s really hard. It’s mental, and it’s physical. The mental side of me is like, “WTF DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING? Since when does riding 4 hours without a doughnut destination actually make sense?” It gets really lonely on the bike trainer, and monotonous. I keep music and Amazon Instant Video nearby. I mostly wish that it was nice enough to ride outside without the mist or rain. During the weekdays it has been sunny but stealing a few hours at the end of a workday to ride the Burke Gilman doesn’t make sense. It makes much more sense to spend as little time prepping for my ride and maximizing my saddle time. Speaking of saddles, I’m still working it in, but long rides are mostly uncomfortable for my butt. I think if I had a better pair of shorts or something I’d be able to muscle through it. I have chamois cream but maybe I’m not globbing enough of it on? It’s not my legs that hurt, I’m not out of breath, I just find it hard to sit down!

If all great changes are truly preceded by chaos, then I’m in for one hell of a ride. I’ll get my 17-hour race and a trip down the finish chute one way or another. Does the chaos look the same for everybody? Am I the only one freaking out about this? 2.4 miles without a wetsuit…112 miles on the bike in blistering heat…and a full marathon with the fastest time I will ever have to run despite my last two marathon finishes. Le sigh. I just have to put my head down and focus, focus, focus! With all of this training time under my belt, why do I still feel so underprepared?

Nonetheless, I can’t worry about it too much…I have training in the morning. Here’s my recap.

Week 14 Ironman Louisville Training: 17.5 hours of training; Swim: 9152 yards; Bike: 108 miles; Run: 15.38 miles.

Monday, May 20: Rest day from Rock n Roll Portland.

Tuesday, May 21: Strength training with my coach in the morning, 45 minute swim and 1 hour 15 minute swim in the evening.

Wednesday, May 22: 1.5 hour ride on the bike trainer before work.

Thursday, May 23: Morning swim (1:15), followed by a morning ride on the trainer for 1.5 hours. An evening on the dreadmill for 1:15.

Friday, May 24: Swimming with the coach in the morning, followed by a short swim in the evening. An angry swim, but swim nonetheless.

Saturday, May 25: Rest day for my monster workout on Sunday!

Sunday, May 26: HOLY MOTHER OF ALL WORKOUTS it was a 7 hour 55 minute day. Had I stayed on something for five more minutes I could’ve made it an 8-hour day…like a workday or something. 2.4 mile swim in 2:10, followed by a 5.17 mile run on the dreadmill for 1:15, followed by a loooooong trainer ride – 4.5 hours. I seriously felt like my legs were going to fall off by the end of it all.

As of today, there are 89 more days left to go until Ironman Louisville. Better start cranking on those open water swim clinics and doubling down on my plan!

Week 13 Ironman Louisville Training: Strength is the Product of Struggle

Just wrapped up a 12-13 hour week…I have a 17-hour week on the books for the next seven days. I’m too sore to walk now, which will make for interesting training later today. Things are going well despite my internalized open water swimming fears that are creeping up on me again. This reminds me of when I first started swimming. I was even scared of swimming in a 3-foot pool, so getting into the lake was a big step for me. Now I just need to train even more so in a lake to get used to the idea of swimming where there are no lane lines.

*big big big giant sigh*

Things will get better, right?

Week 13 Ironman Louisville Training: 12.7 hours; Swim: 6916.8 yards; Bike: 75 miles; Run: 13.7 miles.

Monday, May 13: 40-minute swim in the morning. The pool at Shant’s gym is sooooo warm. Feels great! We even relax in the hot tub for a bit.

Tuesday, May 14: Rest day looked a little something like this:

Will Rodgers State Beach

Busted out the bikini and enjoyed the sun and some reading…about training, of course. I get home a few winks to midnight since I missed my flight home, but at least I got home in one piece that night.

Wednesday, May 15: Swim 1:15, Bike 1:30 in the evening

Thursday, May 16: Swim 1:15, Bike 2:00 in the evening

Friday, May 17: Team training in the morning. Great sweat session with a few of the girls who are also training with my coach. I followed it up with an indoor trainer ride for 1:30 in the evening after dinner with my friend.

Saturday, May 18: First open water swim of the season. At 8am. YIKES that was early! It was also on my way to the Rock n Roll expo in Portland, which made way for good conversation. Pretty sure my wetsuit shrank or something because it was slightly embarrassing how long it took to pull on. I got into the water and it was a lot warmer than expected. I was too chicken to go out and swim in the lake with the big kids so I swam around the docks in the shallow end. As I started swimming everything I learned went out the window…bilateral breathing? NOPE! Reach and pull? NOPE! It was terrifying 🙁 Where did my blue line go? My sighting was off. I felt so strange and out of place. I think I’m being hard on myself but I really began doubting the whole 2.4 mile swim leg of the Ironman. C’mon….no wet suit…river currents…a couple thousand of other people in the water splashing around me too. Being in the lake this weekend made it seem like I had ever even swam in the ocean before or survived the LA tri. I really need to find more clinics for practice. It also kind of freaks me out that my next tri this weekend is in a lake 🙁 And it’s a 4-5 hour drive away, one way 🙁 🙁 What have I gotten myself into?!

Open water swimming at American Lake. Just swam back and forth in this small boxed area.

Sunday, May 19: Rock n Roll Portland Half Marathon. It was a hillier race than anticipated and I finished slower than I wanted. I tried something new this time and kept a pretty continuous pace throughout the race. I’m sure if the race was flat I would’ve PR’d. Oh well. Race recap soon!

Rock n Roll Marathon Series