Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking back.....

As 2014 is wrapping up, and a new year is quickly approaching, I have been thinking a lot about this year and season.  Here are some of those thoughts....

FAVORITE RACE:  I will have to say this was probably Age Group Nationals.  Even though it wasn't a great race for me, I loved doing it and having a whole vacation planned around this race.  I loved swimming in Lake Michigan, I loved the run, and the bike course was great too, even though it was probably my worse bike performance EVER in a race.  It was also humbling, but it was a great experience.

LEAST FAVORITE RACE:  I think I am still having PTSD from IM StG 70.3.  I still shake my head at that whole thing. I have such a score to settle with that bike course, I will definitely go back, but not in 2015 as it is only two weeks before IMTX.  But I WILL go back.  

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A RACE:  Hands down Icebreaker Sprint Tri.  Loved this race.  I podiumed in my first race in my new age group (35-39), and it is the race that qualified me for AG Nationals.  Though my run was a little slower than I would have liked, I hammered the bike and the swim, and had a great day.  And, it was also a new PR for me :)

BIGGEST ARSE HANDLING IN A RACE:  The Triple Bypass.  That ride hurt A LOT.  I was not prepared for it for a variety of reasons.  It also killed any and every desire I have ever had to do the whole LOTOJA by myself.  My butt was not made to be in a saddle that long, and as much as I like riding, I suck at and don't particularly enjoy climbing.  

MOST MEMORABLE TRAINING RUN OF 2014:  A trail run I had just a few weeks ago.  It was perfect.  It was beautiful. It was just me and I loved the solo time.  There wasn't anything particularly critical about this run, it was just one of those "all is right with the world moments."

MOST MEMORABLE SWIM: This is a tie between swimming in Lake Michigan at Nationals or the swim at Sand Hollow for IM StG 70.3.  Even though both of those were tough races for me, the swim portions were awesome, and I loved every second of them for different reasons.  The swim at StG was simply gorgeous.  Perfect water temps, perfect weather, perfect scenery.  It was also a 5 minute swim PR for me for that distance.  I loved it.  The swim at Nationals was by far the most challenging as far as it had the dishwasher effect like I had never experienced before.  As much as it was challenging, I loved it.  And it was cool to say I swam in Lake Michigan :)

MOST MEMORABLE RIDE OF 2014:  The Triple Bypass.  As hard as this was for so many reasons, I will never forget it for many more.  It was beyond breathtaking.  It was a challenge, and I did it with my Dad.  I have always been a Daddy's girl, so to do this ride with him was amazing.    

WHAT I DID RIGHT THIS YEAR:  My off season.  I really did nail every thing I wanted to do leading up to my IM Training plan starting.  It was a perfect balance of maintaining a base, working on my weakness (running) and enjoying some down time.  

WHAT I DIDN'T DO RIGHT:  My consistency was not great this year.  It went in spurts and then got derailed.  I think the root of the problem is that I set myself up for failure in biting off more than I can chew, and when I couldn't do it all, I got frustrated and gave up.  I also had some burn out and attitude issues this year.  I wasn't always as positive as I could have been.  I struggled with motivation.

WHAT AM I MOST PROUD OF:  Registering for my first Ironman.  I finally took the leap and I am so excited I can't stand it!

I will do another post later in the week about my goals for 2015.  I know some of them, but I need to nail down a few more.  In the meantime, Happy training and racing!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Two weeks down, 20 to go!

Its hard for me to believe that I have already completed two weeks on my official Ironman training plan.  It has flown by!  The first week I followed the plan as called for, adding in 3 days of strength training and trying to run every day as well because of my 40 Day run streak that ends this coming week.  I will be was a challenge doing all of that!  In all honesty, and for the sake of accountability, I missed my long bike that week, and one run (not one on the plan, but one for the streak) and one day of strength training.  However, if you look at what the plan actually called for, that was only missing one work out from 9 planned, and it was the long bike ride.  It was supposed to be on that Friday, but I was in a massive hurry to get things packed and ready to leave for Denver just after midnight.  So no training that day :)

The second week needed some tweaking since we were out of town  in Denver.  I was not taking my bike, and decided not to mess with swimming.  Instead I would just run every day we were there.  For accountability sake I can say I ran every single day except yesterday, which was our day to come back.  After 10 hours in the car, plus having to unpack, and then buy food for an empty house, it didn't happen.  However, according to Training Peaks, I got 5.75 hours of training (running) this week, which considering we were on vacation, was awesome!!

I had some really good runs this week!  I love running in new places.  Here are some pics I took this week while running around my parent's place.  Below is one I took on Christmas Day while running some new trails around their home.  This was about an hour before a major snow storm blew in leaving about 6-7 inches of fresh powder.  This was one of my favorite runs all week.

The next day this was my attempt at a run.  I didn't get too far but I enjoyed playing in the new snow.  The side walks hadn't been shoveled and the roads were a complete ice sheet, so I only did a mile and a half that day.  My feet are under this fresh powder somewhere!

As far as Christmas was concerned, it was one of the best I have had in recent memory.  I loved being with my family.   My grandmother is now 84 and not in the greatest health, so it was neat to spend time with her.  My uncle was up from Houston and I don't get to see him much.  We had a nice laid back week of playing games, working puzzles, going hiking, and eating way too much food.  Apparently Santa thought I was pretty good this year, because I got some cool running stuff.

I got the running jacket shown above.  In the same color.  It is every bit as awesome as I thought.  No more having to put on 14 layers for cold weather runs.  This jacket is water proof, has reflective strips on it, and the arms are actually long enough I can use the thumb holes!  There is a ton of pockets and even built in gloves.  However, they are not heavy duty, I will still use my regular gloves on really cold runs.  The picture shown where my feet are in the snow it was only 10 degrees out,  I had on this jacket and a thin base layer underneath and was PLENTY warm.  I am so excited about this!  I also got some Gu from my daughter in Salted Caramel and Salted Watermelon, my current favorite flavors.  I also got some Brooks Thermal running tights.  I am one happy girl!

As good as this week was, it is nice to be home.  I am ready to get back on a routine (sort of anyway, we still don't have school for another week), do my training as planned, and get back to eating healthy.

It also occurred to me that with 2 weeks of Ironman training complete, I only have 20 left! The time is going to fly and I am excited to get to work!

Happy Training and Racing all!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Back to the Pool!

I love swimming.  I always have.  I don't even mind lap swimming and don't get "black line syndrome".  Don't get me wrong, I prefer open water swimming any day to the pool, but it isn't always feasible, like in winter time here in Northern Utah. 

I love that I can completely neglect swimming and still do well in that portion in races.  It isn't like biking or running where if I take time off from it, it shows.  So, with all of this, I tend to take it for granted. Even though I love swimming, it is also the least convenient for me to do.  I can run or bike right out my front door.  Swimming requires me to pack a swim bag, be at the mercy of the pool's hours, and get in the car to get there.  I know, I know, those are just excuses, but does involve at least a 15-20 minute drive depending on which pool I go to.  If I skip a work out, it will probably be a swim one, due to all of these reasons above.

Well, excuses be gone.  Enter the new Syracuse Aquatic Center.  This is where Joshua goes for swim team practice 3x a week. It is a nice pool.  It is brand new.  It is only 5 minutes away.  However, I had read on their website that the lap swim hours were only between 6-10 am.  No can do. I have to work at 7:00 here at the high school.  They state that one can come and swim laps anytime during "open swim" time as they will leave one lane open for that.  Well, that hasn't ended well in the past.  Every time I do that I end up either swimming around obnoxious kids playing Marco Polo in the lane, or someone aqua jogging, or have 8 other people in the lane with me.  No thanks. I would rather bag a swim than deal with that. 

However, with the convenience of it, and the fact that I could go earlier (read: the 9:00 pm lap swim time at the other pools is WAY too late for me), and the price is cheaper, I thought with my return to swimming with the start of my Ironman training, I would try it.  Just once.  If it didn't work, I would force myself to stay up later and keep going to the other pools that are farther away.

I waited to get there until 7:15 when I knew the swim team would be cleared out.  There was no one there.  Just me and 5 lifeguards.  Seriously?  You mean I have not just the lane, but the whole place to myself? Yes please!  I got my swim cap and goggles on, grabbed a kick board and a pull buoy, along with my hand paddles and fins I brought.  I happily swam my work out of 1350 meters, all while the lifeguards are tackling that To-do list that only pops up when no one else is there.  It was awesome.  Loved being back in the water!!

When I finished my work out and was ready to leave I asked the head life guard if it is always this dead on a week night.  He replied that occasionally they will have youth groups or parties come through, but not usually.  Even then, he said, they stick with the other pool with the lazy river and the slides.  I asked him what the lap swimming crowd is usually like and he said I may get a couple other people on a given week night, but basically what I saw was pretty true to form.  Sweet!  I am so excited! 

I drove the quick 5 minutes home.  I was home just after 8.  I could still be in bed by 8:30. (I know this is pathetic, but this gal needs her sleep, and I do wake up well before the crack of dawn, thank you).  I thought about how I no longer have any excuses to miss my swims.  No longer late at night.  No longer a 20 minute drive away.  No longer more expensive.  No more super crowded lanes or Tools in the Pool.  I am excited to see what I can actually do with my swim now that I will actually be working at it!

It is great to be back in the water.  I know that this was only my 2nd official day of training, but I am loving it so far.  It is never the same thing, and with there being 3 disciplines, there is always something that needs work.

So, Happy training and racing!  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Joshua's First Swim Meet!!

My oldest, Joshua, had his first swim meet this past weekend.  I must say, I am one proud Mama!  He was TERRIFIED.  He seriously was in tears and lost sleep the night before.  Poor kid!  Well, apparently those nerves served him well as he pulled off two second place finishes in both of his events.  He did 50 free and 50 backstroke.  He has some things to work on, but we are all thrilled!  He was too!  His next meet is only two weeks away.

I am so excited that at least one of my kids is into sports!  And one that I do as well!  It is a fun hobby to share with him.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for my fish!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

End of the Off Season - Hello IMTX Training!

Today is officially my last day of my off season.  My official 22 week training plan for Ironman Texas begins tomorrow!

I have been thinking about my goals for the off season and I think that I have done a very good job at doing what I intended to do. I wanted to maintain a good base, while also allowing myself to enjoy the down time and not beat myself up for missed or shortened work outs.  I have done exactly that.  I also had an emphasis on strength training, and that has gone pretty well also.

The only thing that I might have done differently is get into the pool more - meaning, at all.  I have not swam since AG Nationals on August 9.  I am not too worried about this as it is the one discipline of the three that I can neglect and still do well.  It's not like running, where if I even skip a week I feel like a newborn giraffe wobbling all over and having no clue what I am doing.  Especially with the  swim work outs planned in official training, I will be fine.  

I am proud of my increased running volume and consistency.  I have learned to love running again and so far in this 40 Day Running Streak I am doing with friends, I have only missed 2 days..  I plan to continue the Streak into my training plan until it is over, and then I will re-evaluate how much running I want to do.  The plan only calls for three runs a week, and I know that I want more than that, but not necessarily every day like I am now.  We'll see how it goes.

How am I feeling as I start official training?  Awesome!  No injuries, no nagging pains, or fatigue.  I also feel that the work outs I do have been good.  I am in good shape to start this  plan.  Mentally I am pumped to start.  This makes it just that much more real for me! Only 153 more days until GO TIME!

So, if you need me, I will be pretty occupied until May 17 (the day AFTER the race).  Happy Training and Racing!