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!

January Favorites

January has been one of my most successful training months in that I consistently trained!  I’m loving “Ironman Zone” and the focus I have on my goals right now.  Fingers crossed that it will carry through for many months to come. As I’ve been accumulating miles and training hours, I’ve had a number of favorites that have helped me along the way.  I figured I’d start a monthly(ish) post about favorite products, workouts, meals, etc.

Favorite Product- SBR Tri Swim Shampoo and Conditioner  Let’s be honest, swimming wreaks havoc on your hair and skin, especially in the winter.  SBR makes SUCH great products that you’d never know how much time I’ve spent in the pool.  Prior to discovering their shampoo and conditioner, I used UltraSwim and this is no comparison!  I’m really looking forward to trying their Dermasport skin products next! triswimimg Favorite Nutrition- I’ve been using lots of Hammer Fizz this month.  I love how convenient and portable these are.  I tend to not get any nutrition ready until the last minute when I should probably be out the door already and these are perfect.  I have been using Heed for a year now and find that Fizz is comparable in how it gets me through a workout, these are just more convenient sometimes!  My big draw to both Heed and Fizz is that no artificial sweeteners or refined sugars are used.  As someone who really prefers the taste of water to almost anything, most sports drinks make me want to gag.  I hate the really sweet taste of a lot of the biggest names out there.  Hammer products have a much lighter taste that is easier on your stomach, especially over long periods of time.

These should last awhile!
These should last awhile!

Favorite Workout- This was a swim workout I did early in the month.  I loved how often it changed so that I didn’t have to struggle through any one thing for too long, but still felt like I got a great workout in. Warmup: 200 swim, 200 pull, 200 kick 4×150 swim 4×150 pull 6×50 sprint 4×100 Cooldown 100 (50 kick, 50 swim) Love to hate workout- Any sufferfest video.  These are tough.  This photo is my before and after of a video called Fight Club.  We all know the first rule of Fight Club….. IMG_20150126_230905 Favorite Gear- This was easy, my new Garmin 920XT.  I actually got it in December, but since January held a lot more training in the pool and bike, in addition to running, this is where I really began to fall in love.  For anyone that has looked at these, yes, they are insanely expensive.  I’m counting on this watch lasting me many years.  And for a piece of equipment I literally use everyday, the cost per use is not that high.  (I’m good at justifying anything).  For a real in-depth review on the watch, check out DC Rainmaker, my go to source for all techy reviews.  Here’s what I love broken down by sport: Run- It tracks my cadence, vertical oscillation (how much I bounce), and VO2 Max, along with the standard of pace, heart rate, distance, etc. Bike-  Honestly, my bike computer already tracked most of this, but using my Garmin allows me to upload versus manually entering info like I have to from the bike computer. Swim- Here’s where I get blown away.  I’ve never tracked anything in the pool before.  I would swim a given distance but have no idea how long it took me.  The watch keeps track of my number of laps, time for each lap, number of strokes per lap, it can tell what stroke I’m swimming and more.  Added bonus, on long intervals I don’t have to keep count as much because the watch does the work for me. Activity Monitor- I haven’t explored this too much, but I know it tracks my steps per day and adjusts my daily steps goal based on how much walking I’ve done lately and my sleep patterns.  I’m sure there’s more in this area, but this is more than enough for me. Data- It automatically uploads to Garmin Connect so that I can be a true numbers geek and analyze.  Here’s an example of the graphs from a swim workout this month. Favorite Recovery Tool– Compression anything!  My wonderful husband got me lots of cool Coeur Sports gear for Christmas, including these compression socks and compression pants.  I love to throw compression gear on after a tough workout.  The extra support feels wonderful! compression socks pink_capri_front_large Favorite Meal- This was really hard to choose because I had lots of good meals this month.  Full disclosure, I am not the cook in our house.  Again, my wonderful husband comes through with supporting this triathlon goal and makes meals that definitely help the cause.  He makes lots of healthy, fresh meals throughout the month.  My favorite was grilled salmon, long grain wild rice, and grilled asparagus and yellow peppers.  I should have thought to take a picture, I was too busy eating though! Favorite Fail of the month- Increased training means increased appetite, aka I’m hungry all the time.  There is a new McDonald’s conveniently located right on my way home from work.  After a particularly stressful day at school, the billboard sign reading “Triple Cheeseburger $2.00” was just calling my name…….I don’t regret it one bit! Favorite Activity- There was a local Bike Expo over the weekend that I took the kids to.  Lots of cool vendors, workshops, giveaways, etc.  I got to see my favorite bike store, The Bike Factory, sign up for a local bike ride and learn a lot.  I didn’t think to take pictures of most of it, more the parts the kids were most excited about.  Trust me though, there was plenty to drool and swoon over from a triathlete or cyclist perspective.  The best part though, was how much my kids loved it.  Not much makes a triathlete parent happier than when their kids show interest in the sport as well.

My kids LOVE giveaways!
My kids LOVE giveaways!
We even found the Rad bike from the 80's movie.
We even found the Rad bike from the 80’s movie.
Cool old bikes
Cool old bikes

Ironman Boulder Training- Week 1

Well, 2015 has started off with some changes to my workouts and commitments.  I registered for my first full Ironman!  This was one of my 15 Things To Look Forward to in 2015.  It has been something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.  I debated between Louisville and Boulder for my first.  Louisville would allow more training time, a closer location and more similar terrain.  Boulder would be timed at the end of summer to avoid training falling off in the fall once I’m back at school and my kids’ activities are at their busiest, but doing my first ironman at a higher elevation is a bit scary.

After reflecting on my training for Border Wars, I did really great through the summer, but had a hard time keeping up with training through August and September when life got busier.  Also, weather in October can be very questionable.  You have no idea whether you will have a really hot day or a really cold day.  After researching IM Boulder’s course quite a bit and reading race reports, I decided to take a chance on elevation and go for it.  As of this week, I have fully committed (AKA paid registration fees) to Ironman Boulder 2015!!!!!

Given the shorter timeframe for this goal (versus Louisville in October), I decided to enlist the help of a coach.  I want to make sure that I am tackling this distance in a safe way and challenging myself to the highest level possible without being reckless.  My coach didn’t disappoint with the first week of challenges!  I love having a training plan again and am enjoying comparing my workout numbers to previous workouts.

Monday:  Tempo Run 5.73 Miles, 49:51, Average 8:41 pace

I ended up completing this on a treadmill at the local gym because of scheduling and cold.  My son had basketball practice and between my chauffeur duties and the temperature in the teens, I decided to just suck it up and do my first treadmill run in nearly a year.  Although I worried about fighting with New Year’s Resolutionists for treadmill time, one opened up at just the right time and it was overlooking the gym.  I was able to watch a middle school girl and her dad working on shots and techniques while I ran.  As my dreadmill attention span is quite short, I made a game out of it.  Every time the girl below made 5 shots, I had to increase my speed.  I did this from 6.6-7.2, then back down to 6.6.  There were times where she made the 5 shots much too quickly and I was increasing faster than I wanted to and then she seemed to miss a ton when I was on 7.2 so I had to maintain that speed for awhile (of course).  But overall I really enjoyed the workout and was entertained and distracted enough to get it in without hating the treadmill too much.

Tuesday: Bike Ride, 17 miles, 1:10:14, 14.5 mph average

By far my least favorite workout of the week.  I got up at 4:30 AM to start this ride, which was the earliest I’ve ever done.  Since our forecast for the week was extra cold, I moved my trainer from the garage into the living room.  I did this workout while watching Friends on Netflix, which helped.  Since I’ve only done a few rides on my trainer so far, I’m still learning about it.  For this ride, I had the resistance pushed against my rear wheel too much and even the easiest gear seemed very difficult.  Regardless, got through it and felt better when it was over.

Wednesday: Swim and Bike.  Swim-2500 yds, 1:01, 2:27/100 average.  Bike- 28.48 miles, 1:49:12, 15.6 avg

 I lucked out this day and had a day off of school because of the extreme cold temperatures.  My kids’ school did not get called off, so I had the day to myself to get these workouts in, which was wonderful!  The swim was first, I went mid-morning, just after the water aerobics class was finishing.  To my surprise, the pool was pretty crowded that day.  Though it only has three lanes, the entire time I was there, at least 5 people were swimming laps.  It worked out that I only had to share a little bit of the time.  This workout involved a number of different distances, stroke types, etc.  What was especially challenging was the :20 rest between most of the repeats, a big change when I am used to :60 rest.  But it felt really good, I was able to complete it with very consistent splits and was happy about that.

The bike I did with the help of a Sufferfest video, ISAGLIATT (It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time).  The video is their longest, and involves a number of climbs.  I haven’t spent much time on the bike at all since October and feel like I’m starting over here to some extent.  Both the prescribed workout from my coach and the sufferfest video call for pretty high cadence throughout.  I only started tracking cadence in September so am still learning to ride by cadence, whereas before I chose a harder gear and lower cadence.  I’d still like my bike speed to be higher than it is, but I’m sure it will get there.  I like the challenge of the videos and am hopeful that by spring when I can ride outside, I’ll have the hang of this higher cadence!

Thursday- Rest Day

This was needed after Wednesday!  Although I was tempted to throw in a workout, especially since I ended up having another day off school, I didn’t.  I haven’t had this many workouts in a week since August, recovery day is a good thing!

Friday- Swim 2450 yds, 58:05, 2:22/100 avg

This was a repeat of the swim workout I did on Wednesday.  Since I enjoyed it so much on Wednesday, I was really looking forward to it.  When my legs felt like lead during the warmup, I was concerned.  The workout felt tougher than it did on Wednesday, which I was surprised about since I was coming off of a rest day, but I powered through it.  I tried to focus on consistent efforts and making sure my form wasn’t sloppy even though it felt like I was working harder.  When I got home and uploaded the workout to Garmin Connect, I was pleased to see that I was a little bit faster overall.  (I was 50 yards short of Wednesday’s workout because I accidentally miscounted that day and did an extra repeat, but still faster overall even taking that into account).

Saturday-Long Bike Ride, 2:00:03, 31.1 miles, 15.47 avg

Another Sufferfest video here, this time Blender.  This one was intervals of every type, from an all out :20 sprint to a long 10 minute interval.  There was a section they call “Pain Shakes”.  This one was tough.  My speed still isn’t where I want, but more time on the bike will certainly help there.

IMG_20150110_155218blender

Sunday-Long Run, 6.1 miles 58:22, 9:35/mile avg

This run was done at an easy pace on a perfectly flat bike trail.  It was a very enjoyable run and although it was drizzling and raining throughout, I was thankful to have warmer temps that allowed me to get outside.

Overall I am really pleased with the week and it was fun to have a full week’s workouts to record in my Believe journal!