January and February Check-in

Apparently blogging more regularly should have been a New Year’s Resolution for me.

The year is off to a good start and I’m happy with some of the progress I’m making.

January Totals-

Swim- 13 miles

Bike- 192 miles

Run- 106 miles

February Totals-

Swim- 12 miles

Bike- 353 miles

Run- 70 miles

Highlights:

  1.  Swim– My swim game has improved already this year.  My husband has a pretty strong swim background and worked last year to get some coaching certifications.  For 2016 he has taken over the role of swim coach for our tri club.  What this means is I’m going to structured workouts with other people more often.  It’s been a lot of fun learning new things in a group setting and I find I push myself more on some of those intervals when I’m trying to keep up with the speed demons of the group!
  2. Bike– I’ve been spending a lot more time on my bike the last couple months.  Late 2015 I was hardly on my bike at all.  I’m really loving my new tri bike and especially the bike fit.  All last year was a struggle because I was sore from my saddle/position after every. single. ride.  Although a lot of my rides have been indoors on the trainer, I’ve gotten to sneak in a few outside rides on unseasonably nice days and am quite happy both places.12744443_741642581169_2873564002270685728_n
  3. Run– I ended my run streak in January after battling an angry foot for most of the month.  Back to running 3-4 days/week for me cut down my mileage a bit in February, but I’ve enjoyed lots of great runs.   I also had my longest trail run of 12+ miles at the Little Woods Ultra at the beginning of January.  10653535_736555131459_2555982580535987958_n
  4. Frostbite Series– My family completed the Frostbite Series in Forest Park in St. Louis over the winter.  It is put on by the St. Louis Track Club and was a really fun way to stay active on a few Saturdays where hibernating was really tempting.  My husband and son signed up for the short course option.  My daughter and I did the long course option, her goal was to complete her first half marathon.  We all had some milestone races and paces at the Frostbite Series and really enjoyed it, this will probably be a family tradition each year!   12654260_740194203729_3128985069437251952_n

 Also, Grace rocked her first half marathon.  She ran strong the entire time, never hit                                              “the wall” and finished with an official time of 2:00:56!

5. Tour of Sufferlandria– Last year when I started training for IM Boulder, I discovered Sufferfest videos.  I love to hate them.  Somehow this type of workout kicks my butt.  Every. Single. Time.  I started the 2015 TOS and quit half-way through, not so in 2016.  For all of you non-Sufferlandrians, here’s a brief rundown.  They’re bike videos that show footage of amazing locations and really fast people on bikes.  And they ask more of you than just about any other kind of workout.  The Tour of Sufferlandria is a challenge they do each year with a sick, brutal combination of videos.  Over 9 days, I rode prescribed videos, some days with two videos back to back.  I expected to feel completely beaten down by the end of the challenge, but was feeling stronger with each ride.  Until the last day, that one really just about did me in.  Regardless it was a fun challenge and one I’ll do again!  12717204_740830059469_2123163931385044958_n

6.  High School Students– I’m coaching a group of high school students to run their first half-marathon this April.  From October-April we meet twice a week after school and on Saturdays.  Not gonna lie, it’s been a very big time commitment on my part (and theirs).  There are days where I absolutely love it and am so excited that I’m sharing my love of running with these kids.  There are days where I feel completely beat down because I don’t feel like I’m getting through and don’t feel like they’re challenging themselves at all.  But overall it has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what these kids think of their first race experience and especially their first finish line experience!

7.  My own training and goals.  My 2016 race calendar is shaping up and I’m excited about a it.  I’m working towards some hopefully big PRs and exciting racedays!

April 10- GO! St. Louis Half Marathon with my high school students

April 30- Kentucky Derby Half Marathon

June 5- Legend 70.3 Triathlon

July 9- IM Muncie 70.3 Triathlon

*August 14- IM Steelehead 70.3 Triathlon *Maybe…I’m still debating on this one.

places-ypu-will-go-quote
A fun quote in honor of Dr. Seuss day!

Cheers to goals, improvement and loving life!

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Off Season Checking in

I realized today that it’s been awhile since I updated what I’m up to.  For the most part, I’ve not had any big goal races since August.  I’m quite proud that during that time I have still stayed active and maintained my fitness (mostly) without having to have a race on the calendar.

Swim: Although I’ve not spent tons of time in the pool, I’ve been working on improving a couple of things: a stronger pull and incorporating flip turns.  The flip turn battle was brutal.  For a long time.  Months.  I made a deal with myself that from Sept. 1 on, I wouldn’t do open turns anymore.  Most of my swim workouts since then have not had me do more than a 200 at one time because my breathing was so labored.  I finally figured out that I was exhaling too much as I flipped and felt like I couldn’t get to the surface fast enough.  Then the rest of that length was just recovering before I had to do it again.  Finally in the last month, it has clicked a little bit.  My turns are still not as efficient as most people’s but I am not dying breathing wise.  I’ve been able to get in some longer and faster swims.  Now I just need to make myself get to the pool more often…

Bike: I’ve not been on my bike much at all since August.  The desire to do road rides just wasn’t there.  I’ve been mountain biking some with my husband.

mtn bike
Mountain bike fun.  What triathlete wouldn’t love a bike named Kona?

I also tried out a small cyclocross race that my tri-club put on.  So fun.  I ended up first female and fourth overall.  It was a small race…ha!

cyclocross

And I’ve been saving up money to buy this beauty!

tribike

I’m pretty excited about my new bike.  Unfortunately since I’ve had it either the weather or my schedule has not allowed for an outdoor ride.  A couple of trainer sessions in and I’m happy with it.  Fingers crossed that I’ll get nice weather over Christmas Break to get to try it outside!

Run: This has been the area where I’ve been spending most of my time.  I’ve been spending a lot of time introducing the sport to some new people.  I’m leading a group of high school students to train for their first half-marathon in April.  We’ve been meeting 2 days/week after school since October.  My group has about 25 students in it.  Each month we’re doing a timed mile so they can see their progress.  The timed mile they completed last week saw four separate kids take 2 minutes off of their previous time! That has been a lot of fun.

My other focus has been on running with my daughter.  Once she heard I was starting this group for my students, she wanted to do a half-marathon as well.  Her logic was “Why can someone two years older than me do a half-marathon when they can’t even run a mile, while I’ve done 5 miles in cross country practice and am not allowed?”.  Hard to argue with that.  A lot of bigger races require 14 years old in order to do a half-marathon, but I found a local race series that actually has a division for 12 and under.  The St. Louis Track Club puts on a Frostbite Series every winter, a 5 race series of different distances through Forest Park in St. Louis.  I’ve done the half-marathon part of the series before so knew what to expect.

Since Cross Country ended for Grace, she’s been joining me on group runs at Runwell most Wednesdays and Saturdays.

11 miles
My sidekick and training buddy after her longest run yet- 11 miles!

She’s become a great training partner and challenges me to push the pace a bit more than I had been.  She loves having the adults at the run talk to her, give advice and cheerlead.  And I think most of the adults are pretty impressed that a 12 year old is out doing what they’re doing as well.  Some runs are more tempo feel where we’re quite tired at the end and some are just conversational pace long runs.  Regardless, we’re having lots of fun with it.

We’ve also had a couple races so far.  The first was a 5k in Litchfield, the Route 66 5K.  We’ve done this race the last few years, for me the 5K in 2013 and the half marathon in 2014.  Grace really wanted to do the half-marathon, but I wasn’t comfortable with her doing that since we hadn’t gotten very many long runs in at that point.  I was intimidated by doing the 5K because her cross country times were FAST!  I just made up my mind that I’d have to really challenge myself and try to hang on no matter how fast she went.  It was a fairly small race, so we started near the front.  After the start a couple of guys took off at a pace I knew we couldn’t do so we settled in.  One woman passed Grace and I in the first half a mile and Grace looked at me and said “Come on, let’s pass her!”.  So we did.  And then we hung on and kept a nice pace.  3.1 miles later, we both had shiny new PRs by about 2 minutes and Grace won Overall Female by .15 of a second.  I’ve never been anywhere close to Overall Female so that was fun.  And a huge PR never hurts!

5k
1st and 2nd Overall Female at the Route 66 5K in November

More recently we raced in the first race of the Frostbite Series, a 12K.  I made Grace a promise that the Frostbite Series would be running together and not necessarily racing, a little easier effort.  Of course once we got to race day, she was checking out any competition that looked close to her age, ha!  But we had a good experience, closer to long run effort than race effort but still a new race distance for us both, so an automatic PR!

Frostbite 12k
Frostbite Series 12K, with high 5s from Jack

 

So overall, the offseason is about having fun, maintaining fitness and rediscovering a love of the sport.  We’ve made it a family affair with random workouts together, a Gobble Hobble race and my husband and son are also doing the Frostbite series, but the ‘Short Course’ option.

gobble hobble
My brother joined us for the Gobble Hobble on Thanksgiving.  His lack of working out did not slow him down enough for any of us to beat him!

 

My son, Jack, has been joining me on some short runs during the week to keep my #RWRunStreak alive- we love to look at the Christmas Lights around town.  I join my husband James on a mountain bike whenever the weather allows.

Life is good, the off-season is fun.  I’m getting recharged and ready to tackle 2016!

 

100 Days To Go!

Somehow my countdown to my first Ironman is flying by!  Probably faster than I’d like it to.

My blogging has suffered with the increase in schedule commitments on my calendar, but, for the most part, training is going well and I am excited for what the next 100 days brings.

This spring has been an especially busy one for my family with both kids in activities, we’ve had commitments 5 nights a week for the last two months.  There’s no sugar coating it, there have been days where I just haven’t felt like getting a workout in.  In the past where I would begin to skip workouts I would make a habit of it and I’ve not yet let myself skip a majority of workouts so I guess that’s positive.  As my kids’ spring activities wind down, I expect that I will have some additional hours to train, which is perfect timing because I really need to be increasing those!

In thinking about my event 100 days from now, I decided to do a check-in with my progress in each sport.

Swim- I’m feeling a lot smoother in the pool.  My swims have been 2000-2500 for a few months now and I’m pretty comfortable with that.  One fun development from swimming, I have arm muscles (quite small ones, but still!) for the first time ever.  I’m really enjoying my swim workouts and feeling quite a bit stronger in the pool than I did last year when training for my 70.3.

Bike- Since I’ve never ridden through the winter before I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but my bike speed is where it was at the end of last season and I’m riding longer distances too.  I’ve had the opportunity to bike with a small group from my ti-club a few times, as well as a couple individuals over the last few months.  Cycling is so fun to me because you can explore so much more in a few hours than you can with running.  I live in the middle of nowhere and really enjoy riding on “my” country roads.  On a long ride a few weeks ago, I kept count for the first couple hours and I had passed more cemeteries than I had cars.  This past weekend I had my longest ride ever, at 68 miles.  It went really well despite some rain and was a good confidence boost.  I’ve also been playing with nutrition and really loved how much Hammer Perpetuum helped with that long effort.  It made a huge difference in my energy and I didn’t really bonk.  My biggest need in the next couple months is just more time on the bike and getting used to longer rides.  My only complaint on long rides so far is becoming saddle sore after a few hours.  My body has to adjust to that eventually, right?

Tri Club Group after our 68 mile ride, my longest ever!
Tri Club Group after our 68 mile ride, my longest ever!

Run- Although I started running in 2008, I’ve never been consistent.  I’ve always had to have a race on my calendar to dangle the carrot to get me to run regularly.  In 2014 I began running with groups through my local running store, Runwell, and that has helped my consistency a lot.

One of my long run buddies on our last run together since he's moving away
One of my long run buddies on our last run together since he’s moving away

Since October, I’ve had a double digit long run just about every week.  I’m really hopeful that this will mean much better run experiences in my long triathlons this summer.  In addition to weekly long runs and being consistent, I’ve seen progress with my run paces as well.  This spring I’ve set new PRs in a 10 mile race and a Half Marathon.  My hope is that with some additional time to train I can add in some track and hill sessions to my run training.

After my 10 Mile PR
After my 10 Mile PR
gostlouis3
After my Half Marathon PR, with my wonderfully supportive better half.

Overall, I’m feeling good about tackling 140.6 in 100 days.  I’m really enjoying the training and especially the gains I’m making through my training.  There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, but I’m looking forward to it!