Week 7 Ironman Louisville Training: May Hope Forever Wipe Away Your Tears

So I’ve been recovering (a.k.a. being really lazy) during week 7 of my training. I’ve been laying off of it but I think I can begin putting in more time and miles now that I have full mobility of my ankle. Things still seem a bit stiff physically but they pale in comparison to the mental roadblocks I’m facing.

They say that training and racing is mostly a matter of overcoming mental obstacles than physical ones. The diminished training schedule of the last two weeks have left me listless at best, questioning whether or not I have what it takes to make it to the finish line. I try to keep in mind that I’m pretty far along, being practically half-Ironman ready at week 7 is a big deal and that with enough work and perseverance I can make it to Louisville. Overall things still seem daunting but I don’t want to steer off plan too much for fear of losing any semblance of control.

If you haven’t already heard, this morning’s Boston Marathon ended abruptly with a few explosions that harmed more than a hundred people. When I read it, I wasn’t sure how I’d make sense of it. When something like this happens to a very close-knit community, it’s heartbreaking and devastating. We’ll probably never understand why it happened.

My thoughts are with the Boston Marathon runners and families

What hurts the most is knowing that it could’ve been any of us. My boyfriend and sometimes, my friends, tag along to my races. They wait for me at the finish line. A part of me is sad about what happened, but a bigger part of me is terrified that it could one day happen to me. What would I do if I made it to the end of my 140.6 journey and my family and loved ones were hurt in a senseless attack? I would feel completely helpless, not to mention at fault, for putting them in harm’s way. Either way, that’s speculative and it’s not really a road worth journeying on…it really just broods negative emotion. Running and training embodies a spirit of hope and wonderment. This was the antithesis of it.

Hope. Hope is really what keeps the dream alive.

Week 7 Ironman Louisville Training:

4 hours 50 minutes of training; 3.1 miles of swimming with some strength training thrown in

Monday, April 8: Rest + chiropractor visit

Tuesday, April 9: Ankle rehabilitative strength training. I used my left foot to pick up scraps of paper on the floor and used resistance bands to build in some flexibility and mobility into my joint. I finished off the session with some balance ball work to get my stabilizers back into the game. Swam for 0.9 miles in the evening.

Wednesday, April 10: Swam for a half mile + chiropractor visit

Thursday, April 11: Swam for a half mile in the morning, followed up with a functional assessment. It uncovered a lot of weaknesses overall on my left side, so I have plenty to work on.

Friday, April 12: Rest + chiropractor visit. I slept through my morning training (irritating), was late for my assessment results (infuriating) and then forgot my swimsuit at home by the time I got to the pool (world war 3). Ended up taking the day off to show my friend around town after a good frustrating cry session.

Saturday, April 13: 1.2 mile swim in an hour and 45. OUCH. I’ve lost a lot of speed in the pool. You’d think I’m swimming backwards or something. My swim cap also tore, which was an interesting problem to have.

Sunday, April 14: Rest

Relentless forward progress.

New Trainer/Coach, New Race, and Week Recap

What a week! It’s been very productive.

On Tuesday, after a lot of internal debating, I hired a personal trainer to help me reach my goals. On Wednesday, he proceeded to metaphorically kick my ass in a very good way. On Thursday, I looked in to my goal race (Rev3 Portland) and it was cancelled!! I was totally bummed. Then, per usual, I began scheming of a way to get to some sort of triathlon race by that same time and came around to the HITS Marble Falls race in late April. And then I registered for the 140.6.

Wait, WHAT?!

Yep…I really did it this time. I really did register for the full/iron-distance race.

Once I finish my base training (which should wrap during the last week of January) I have my 140.6 13-week ramp-up plan that I’ve already dutifully purchased and loaded into my TrainingPeaks account. Let’s just say that it will keep me very busy. The weekly hour distribution is as follows: 8:45 -> 10:45 -> 12:00 -> 6:15 -> 9:30 -> 11:15 -> 12:30 -> 6:15 -> 10:00 -> 12:00 -> 13:15 -> 6:15 -> 2:15 + race day. Chances are I’ll probably extend my workouts like I do now (until my body tells me otherwise) because, well, training for a 140.6 is no joke! (A separate blog post on the approach I’m taking later.)

I’m terrified and completely intimidated by the distance. And that’s why I want to aim for it. I figure that if I really don’t feel like I’m ready by the time I land in Austin, I can easily switch out for the 70.3 or even the Olympic distance and it won’t be a problem. But man! 140.6! I’m still in a state of disbelief, but for some reason, I feel much more positive and adamant about my training, rest, and nutrition than ever. Time to kick everything into high gear, right? Training for a 140.6 may mean that I push a few of my road races off but I guess we’ll see. I think the Rock ‘n Roll San Francisco Half Marathon works out perfectly. I’ll have to see if I can still do Pasadena but I think that my training schedule around it may still be too hectic. The races afterwards — if I still want to race, that is — are still game.

My trusty Tommaso Imola…gone through 2 triathlons, and now maybe a 3rd!

I’m guessing it’s also time to get back on my bike again as much as I can. There’s some mods I’d like to make for it — get some nice pedals, some clip in shoes, figure out the handlebar height, etc. I’d like to make it feel a bit more comfortable than it is now. I guess that’ll be post-Christmas. 🙂 For now I’m going to do a ton of research on what improvements I can make on my bike, and read a LOT more than I’ve had on Ironman training. Ooooh boy. What have I gotten myself into now?

Recap of Week 4 of Base Training

Sunday, December 9: 1-hr cycle at the gym. Ran into an old co-worker…blast from the past!

Monday, December 10: 45-minute swim, 1:15 strength training session

Tuesday, December 11: 45-minute swim. Got some tips from my to-be personal trainer that helped me through the water: turning my shoulders into my stroke and also leveling my hips with the water. Felt so much smoother gliding in the pool.

Wednesday, December 12: 1:00 strength training with my new personal trainer. Started off with a quick 10-minute jog on the treadmill. Continued with 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 abduction, 20 adduction, 20 abduction, 20 adduction, 2 front planks, 2 side planks. Cooled down with a 30-minute cycle. I hope to be able to do this workout once a week and then to be able to plank once a day to build up my core muscles.

Thursday, December 13: 30-minute swim. I was feeling really tired. I couldn’t even add the run in so I pushed it off to the next day.

Friday, December 14: 30-minute run. My legs were still killing me from my Wednesday workout so I stuck to the elliptical. I kind of miss it but I don’t feel like I get as good of a workout from it.

Saturday, December 15: 55-minute torturous run on the treadmill. It was probably the non-ventilated corner I chose to run in but I felt like heat was closing in on me. I also bought an audiobook that I didn’t so much like so that added to the drudgery of it all. Topped it off with a quick 15-minute swim. The water was really cold that day and I was in a bit of a sour mood from my run on the treadmill so I packed up early and headed home for an evening of rest.

Sunday, December 16: Got up this morning for a 45-minute cycle on my bike trainer, which I enjoyed much more than I usually did. Followed it up with a 25-minute run so that I could recreate my jello legs. I was feeling more excited than jello-y and it was too bad that I didn’t have any water with me. I turned back after almost two miles even though I had plenty of energy to continue for another 6. Maybe next week!

Lessons learned:

1) You can never be too prepared for anything.
2) If you think you need coaching/training/help, you probably do.
3) Set a reach goal but a realistic backup, just in case.
4) Your first instinct is usually your best decision.
5) If you can ever stop thinking and outsource it to someone else, do it.
6) Don’t put up with a boring audiobook.
7) Read read read read read read read read read everything you can on your goal race.
8) Hills are meant to be loved, not hated. Marble Falls is full of ’em.

Planning for Rev3, Personal Training Certification, and More

A bit of trailing exhaustion and/or fatigue has gotten in the way of doing anything somewhat routine. After my short half mile pool session yesterday, I felt a bit under the weather because I was convinced that I might’ve caught some dreaded germs from the water. I felt a bit lethargic today but just chalked it up to the weather. However, I woke up this morning feeling a bit sore from my swim, which means that I’ve definitely lost some conditioning since I haven’t been in the water for about 6 weeks or so.

The holidays are upon us and with Thanksgiving comes my early resolutions. I always resolve to never make a promise to myself that I can’t keep, and I’ve always found that making those promises before Thanksgiving will help keep me on track. (Strange what a difference a few weeks makes!)

So, this holiday vacation, I hope to spend it present with the people I care about. I hope to devote a chunk of that time to myself, presumably because I am on that list of people I care about. I hope to carve out early morning chunks out of my vacation to really focus on my training so that I can be Rev3 training ready come February.

Hoping to finally tackle the 70.3 in July of next year. No more excuses and waiting! 30 IS UPON ME.

I signed up for a TraningPeaks plan to help me build some conditioning and base…it’s six workouts a week all focused at pushing me beyond my usual comfort level (30 minute swim, 1 hour bike ride, 45 minute run…those all sound about right). When you first start working out you don’t know any better and you naturally push yourself. However, I find that I’m getting incredibly complacent. A workout no longer feels like a workout, hence the reason why I forked the money over for this training plan. Ideally the plan will get me in to Olympic distance shape at the end of January so that I can make the jump into 70.3 training in February, which then puts me at toeing the line in July.

My training schedule for the next week. No more guesswork. Thanks TrainingPeaks!

I’ve also progressed nicely in my personal training reading. I’m aiming for certification by the end of the year (or at least sitting for my first exam), and per usual I got caught up in the anatomy section. There’s just so much to learn! Anyways, it’s been pretty awesome being able to drop knowledge bombs about health and wellness at work. I’m just always surprised at how little people know about their bodies, and I’m more than happy to guide conversations along the way about nutrition, fitness, etc. My goal isn’t to be a know-it-all or anything, but really to give them enough information to act upon. I’m also really excited about getting my CPR/AED/First Aid certification again. That way I can sign up to be a safety czar at work. (Nerdy, I know…)

Oh, and this week, I finally finished my social media book. I’m a volunteer mentor for Dress for Success and the book was written and edited to help me with preparing women to re-enter the workforce by having their social media profiles and identity under control. It took a lot of work but it was definitely worth it!

My first book – Your Sometimes Online Life (available for Kindle and in print)

It’s currently available on Kindle and will be about a week or so before it’s ready on the Amazon.com website. It’s up on CreateSpace right now too. I was hoping to finish it on time so that I could give a copy to my parents but I guess I will just have to get it shipped directly to them when it is ready. I’d also like to ship a box to Dress for Success to have on hand for women who need it. I’m planning on donating all proceeds to Dress for Success, so if you know of someone who may find this type of information useful, consider buying my book. 🙂

Writing a book reminds me of what it mentally feels like to run a marathon. I’m tired just thinking about all the work and editing and design I’ve done on it. I can’t wait until I tackle my next book but for now, I’m still tired. Ideally I’d finish my certification and then work on a couch-to-5K type book. I have a few other books already outlined (about completely different things) but with all things creative you really have to be in the mood to talk about certain things…and right now I think I’m still only interested in talking about health/wellness at length!

I head out of town for the holiday tomorrow…more than a week of sunshine. It’s going to be great. Probably a bit dramatic in some places, but I hope to get out of my head for awhile, get some training in, spend some quality time with my loved ones, let the wireframes flow, and just have a good time!

Getting Started With Green Smoothies for Breakfast

I’m back at it again! After a late night grocery shopping trip I have all of my smoothie ingredients for the week. I also got too lazy to blog today so I vlogged again. It’s Sunday funday and I need a day off, too!

If you have any recipes you’d like me to try, or if you have your own recipes, tell me about it in the comments. I’m always looking for yummy drinks!

Paleo Day 16…Big Eats For A Big Training Day

Started my training day off with a very light snack…a banana. It never gives me a stomachache and I never feel like hurling during a workout when I eat it.

Proceeded with a strength training workout, followed by a run…I was a little bit on the tired side to start. If there was a way to complete this workout in a lazy manner I certainly achieved it.

Yup, my pace was definitely lazy. To my defense, it was a really nice day in the park!

After my workout I made some breakfast. This was more veggies than eggs this time, but very filling nonetheless. I can remember feeling my stomach grumbling by mile 3 of my run.

I’m also definitely getting the impression that I’m eating way too many nuts and dried fruits. I mean, can it really be that bad? It’s pretty much a mega meal substitution at this point. I suppose all I want is something to gnaw and crunch on. Maybe I should really look into munching on some celery or carrots instead. Another thing too — I’ve upgraded from my piddly little 40z container to a small bowl. That’s probably where my downfall is.

The other day I picked up some dried cherries and they added a little bit of zing to my mix. Loved it!

Had some leftover salmon from last night’s dinner, so I opted for the same meal again: salmon mushroom lettuce tacos.

Then, later in the evening I went bowling…so much bowling alley food: quesadillas, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers. I munched on a few carrot sticks that were served with the chicken fingers, but as soon as I went home I made some soup! Hot water + spinach + cod + bella mushrooms + lemon juice. I have to admit that I cracked some salt over it…it just wasn’t the same without it.

Kind of wishing that I picked up some tahini sauce…I think it’d make a nice addition to some of the lunches and dinners I’ve been making! And, speaking of which, I might just head over to Trader Joe’s later to pick up some of this famed almond butter…according to one of my friends Mark it’s completely out of this world. I will prepare to have my world rocked by said almond butter…if it’s within regulation, of course!

Paleo Day 15…Fish Tacos and Too Much of a Good Thing

Started off my day with a different type of scramble this time…onions, bell peppers, and roasted green peppers with a side of potatoes!

Then went to visit a friend. She was gracious enough to share her blood oranges with me. It was so sweet and tasty! I will have to hunt down the farmer’s market she bought these at to get a handful for myself.

By the time I got home that evening, I was starving…so I put together some fish tacos! Lettuce cups + sauteed mushrooms + broiled salmon = taco goodness.

There was so much leftover that I ended up having two more! They were so yummy.

Continued my work…and as I work, I always need snacks. I think I’m overdoing it a little bit on the nuts, dried fruit, and dates. I know they pack a lot of nutritional and caloric punch, but I load up on them nonetheless. I suppose I could just load up on baby carrots instead…and I have about 5 lbs of that in my fridge right now. What do you think? Is that an acceptable “creative-food” substitute?

Then I ended the day with some nori. Very yummy!

Paleo Day 14…Easter Sunday Cheats

Sunday started off without a hitch. It was a mild sunny morning and I was sitting in my boyfriend’s backyard enjoying some fresh strawberries, a crisp glass of water, and a popular book called The Primal Blueprint. Figured that it’d be nice to read a few pages from it since I’m following a very similar way of eating. The strawberries were incredibly sweet and tangy…and were on sale at the market for $1 a pound. Score!

Then came the Easter dinner preparations. We had a lot of shopping and cooking to do. I helped a little bit, but in all of the commotion I ended up forgoing any semblance of lunch…so I munched on my trusty packs that I stashed for the weekend. I ate two of them within the span of five or so hours. So hungry!

Then came a holiday tradition that involved hard-boiled eggs. I don’t know much about it except for the fact that I’ve taken part in two of these games and I managed to lose this one. Despite my loss I still gained an egg, so I ate it before dinner. (Yolk and all.)

Then came the spectacular dinner! I enjoyed some tilapia, salad, and a handsome helping of potatoes and hummus. I ended up eating twice as much of everything since it was so delicious. I also enjoyed a few glasses of wine to polish off the evening just right.

We settled in for an evening of movies and I packed away a few of those date pastries for the both of us…and we coupled it with some tea.

So, all in all, my cheats were hardly all that evil….hummus and a few pastries. It was definitely nice to indulge with a few glasses of wine though. They were badly needed after all of the stress I’ve been going through! Looking forward to a good week of clean eats and great workouts.

Paleo Day 13…Pre-Holiday Festivities, Breaking Bread

Spending the weekend at my boyfriend’s house generally makes it a culinary challenge, since I don’t prepare all of the food I eat. However, since he’s on paleo too, it’s a smidge easier. I started the day with a huge bag of almonds, cranberries, and raisins.

We were boiling eggs for Easter and making some doughy, date-filled bready pastries. The dough smelled so good. It was my first time making pastries from scratch! Slightly torturous because of the aroma but a good day in the kitchen nonetheless.

So, apparently, even though I skipped my egg white scramble I still managed to consume 6 egg whites. The rest are below and scattered throughout the day!

So here’s one of the pastries we made. This one was pretty small, probably a little bigger than a half dollar coin. I ate a bite of it to taste it but it smelled better than it tasted. Boohoo! However, I picked at the date filling, which was pretty yummy.

Something I found very interesting about kneading the dough and bread…it reminds me of how I feel when I eat too much bread. I feel all mushy and pudgy and squishy!

Got hungry again so I grabbed a hard boiled egg and strawberry.

For dinner we cooked some sardines. I put them in lettuce cups and topped it with tahini and parsley…and I ate about seven or eight of them. Yum!

Finished the day with another egg white…

…and then brewed some tea and had some more strawberries.

Tomorrow is Easter, and since Shant’s family celebrates it, it will be interesting to see how well I can do while being tempted with all of the different types of food. I’m sure there will be photos galore! What I’m finding most interesting is how I’m not enjoying the taste of bread as much as I used to, since I’ve stopped eating it.

Also had a few temptations today that I turned down…
-Kidney beans
-Corn on the cob

Here’s hoping to a good, clean day of eating tomorrow. It’s probably a good idea to help out with the cooking if I want to make sure I can actually eat some of the food being made!

Paleo Day 12…Rungry, So Now We Feast!

The day started a bit later than usual. I think I was finally up and at it by 11am. Shant and I were up really late last night trying to make a paleo strawberry souffle. (We failed with flying colors.) When I was finally ready to tackle the day I decided that it was probably best to work out before too much day passed me by. I packed up my gear and headed out after I stuffed my face with dates and a glass of water.

I was finally feeling a bit more energetic after the other day’s heavy workout, so I decided to push myself in the pool. I wanted to swim at least one mile before I came back home. I didn’t care how long it took, what stroke I chose to use, so long that I finished one mile before coming home. I finished it and felt like I still had enough energy to complete my run for the day, so I headed home and had half a banana and a few handful of almonds before hitting the pavement.

…And then I got a sugar attack, so I downed a handful or so of raisins and cranberries. Yum!

Then, Shant and I headed out for some sushi. We’d done pretty well this week and we were making some compromises. Again, eating out is kind of difficult when you’re paleo so we talked it over a bit. Sake? That’s rice wine, which is technically not paleo. Soy sauce? It’s made of soybeans so it’s not paleo. Rice? Definitely not paleo. We made an agreement to cheat a bit if we wanted, but to do it within reason…so I mixed my wasabe and low-sodium soy sauce pretty much immediately!

Started off with an albacore roll. After one or two bites I was kind of tired of the rice. (Funny how that works!) I started eating just the fish and peeling the rice away.

Then moved on to the california roll. (The roll on the right we ended up scrapping since we didn’t like it.) The california roll was decent, but I kept unwrapping the rice. There was so much of it, and the flavors were overpowering the crab and avocado. It also absorbed so much soy sauce that the flavors were also overpowering. No likey!

Then I moved on to a spicy tuna roll topped with yellowtail. I ate two of these whole with no regrets!

Then I took one bite of the eel roll. We held off on the sauce.

And, since our first sushi restaurant wasn’t as good as we thought, we decided to go to a second one. That’s right — we restaurant hopped straight to another sushi restaurant. This one was on Crescent Heights and Sunset. Super delicious…I’ve gone there before so I was familiar with their quality. What was great was that the sushi chef was very understanding of our preferences (holding off on rice, no sauces, etc) and didn’t give us a hard time. Sometimes I eat at other restaurants and get scoffed at when I make special requests, but this chef was completely cool with it. We’ll definitely be back!

This time, we split one hot sake. I had one cup…and I think Shant might’ve had like, five. (I was the driver.)

Then, I had some seaweed salad. This was soooooo good. Fresh sliced seaweed with sesame oil drizzled atop, and sesame seeds sprinkled, served on a bed of radish. Very filling and flavorful.

Then I moved on to a california hand roll with no rice. Super delicious.

Then, after an evening of strolling about supermarkets (we do that from time to time), I cracked open an avocado before we made some dessert. (That’s in a later post!) Raw, plain avocado is super healthy and delicious. What a treat!

And then I ended the day with some chocolate pudding and chocolate dipped strawberries. Isn’t my boyfriend awesome?!

So yes, I was rungry and we definitely feasted. Some days are like that. I definitely don’t eat like this everyday but based on the workouts I had I think that it’s getting easier to listen to my body. While I’m resting from my two hard workouts, I need to feed it some food that will help with recovery, right? I think all of these foods does my body good. Plus, the chocolate dipped strawberries were a really good end to an already fabulous day.

Paleo Day 11…Workout Recovery and Minor Ethnic Cheats

Thursday…it was the day after Wednesday, the day after I had pushed myself a bit farther than usual. Every few months or so I’ll get a yearning to try my hand at a solo sprint triathlon, meaning that I attempt the distances at a local gym to check out my current level of conditioning. Well, since I was off of official training for quite a bit, my personal sprint triathlon was pretty tough. I had a hard time getting through the bike and run portion! I had plenty of nutrition on hand but it was one of the more difficult workouts I’ve had in a really long time. That’s probably a good thing.

The day started off with a great egg scramble with broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers. Hey look! My reflection is in the spoon!

Then, someway mid way through the work day, I began getting massive sugar cravings. I peeled three oranges and shared them with Shant, who was working from my place for a few days.

Then, another snack attack…

…and more snack attacks…

…which then led us to dinner. We’d been eating in quite a bit lately so we were really craving something different from the norm. We’re only a few miles away from Little Ethiopia and we used to frequent this little restaurant called Merkato. I always get the veggie combo plate. It’s served on a large platter of injera, which is made out of teff flour (which is a grain and NOT paleo). We had a semi-cheat but I must’ve eaten a small bit of bread. I had some pea stews, cabbage, collard greens, and tomato salad.

Strangely enough after I had a few bites of my food with the injera and I actually preferred to eat without it. There was something incredibly satisfying about eating with your hands (no utensils allowed!!). The foods tasted so rich and pure…I didn’t want to denature the taste with the injera bread. So, I ate without it and every once in awhile, when I found it was really tough to hold the stews in my hands, I grabbed some bread for a small morsel. So delicious!