Sunday, February 22, 2015

Officially Ouf of my Comfort Zone

I just wrapped up week 10 of my training plan.  It hit me this week, that though the building of volume and the adding of miles and time has been very well done and gradual, I have officially left my comfort zone.
My training sessions during the week are now longer and more intense than I would do on my own, or have ever done for that matter.
My long runs and rides are also more than I would do if left to do my own Saturday long run or ride. 
They are the length that leave me sore and fatigued and are mentally challenging at times.  Especially the trainer rides. I really have to push myself to get through those.  I can knock out a long run of 8-12 miles with relative ease, but now that I am over that, I feel the effects later in the day, or even a few days later. 
I am to the stage of training where things start to hurt.  This week it was a lot.  My shoulder which has been an ongoing issue was really bad.  I finally decided to get it checked out.  I went to a Sports Medicine Orthopedist who told me that it is in fact not my shoulder, but my neck.  I have at some point developed what is more or less arthritis in my neck between disks C6-C7.  There is really nothing you can do about it, just generally avoid whatever makes it hurt.  In my case it is biking that aggravates it.  Where I am not about to give up cycling, the doctor says just do whatever I can or want, but know that it is going to hurt as it is more or less pinching a nerve that causes the shoulder pain.  Lovely.  I am not showing any signs of permanent damage, so I am free to train and race as I please, but knowing that it will hurt.  Great!
I finished a 13 mile run yesterday and as I have started to have just minor aches and pains with my longer runs, I wore compression sleeves over my calves.  Well, that took care of the pain or niggles in that area, but my ankle gave me hell.  My left ankle has been an issue since high school.  Any time I over use it, it complains for a bit and then is fine.  So I didn't think anything of it till I woke up this morning to find that it was not only a bit sore, but bruised and slightly swollen too.  What the crap?  Ironman training just might kill me at this rate!
It's the stage of training where you bust out the KT tape, take ibuprofen with more frequency, use the foam roller religiously, and hit the sack earlier than you already do.  All while trying to not eat everything in sight :)
But, I am one to look at the positive.  I am thankful to be able to do what I do.  I am thankful for my health and body that allow me to abuse it over and over again and have it bounce back for more. 
What have I learned in training lately?
-I have changed up my run nutrition just slightly.  I have always stuck to a Gu every 45 minutes or so.  However, in reading that most triathletes need to take in 200-300 calories/hour during a triathlon.  I do this on the bike, but not the run.  I decided to tweak this a little and see if I noticed a difference.  I now take a Gu every 3 miles instead of every 4.  I also sip Gatorade Endurance in between Gu's.  The Gatorade has been working well on the bike, so I decided to see how it goes on the run as well.  So when I carry my 4 bottle hydration belt, two of those are water and two are Gatorade.  The past two weeks I have done this and I have noticed increased energy on the runs.  Nothing drastic, but I have noticed that I don't feel like complete death at the end of the run or during.  Plus, as weird as it sounds, it helps break up the run for me.  I can say to myself, "Only 2 more miles till my next Gu/Gatorade".  Hey, its the little things, right?
 So, there are 83 days until Ironman Texas.  Here's to getting comfortable being uncomfortable and hoping this body holds up in the process.  Happy Training and racing all!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Trainer miles are boring

We have had unseasonably warm weather here in Northern Utah.  As much as I enjoy it, it does have me scared about our water supply and the quality of our open water swimming this year.  Anyhow, I figured I might as well enjoy it and the thought of riding my on my trainer was painful enough for me to mess with the dang tire and change it out for an outdoor ride.

I decided to take a ride out to Antelope Island.  My favorite out-my-front-door ride.  Apparently I wasn't the only one with the idea to enjoy the nice day on the island, as the line of cars to get on the causeway was the longest that I had ever seen.  It didn't matter or effect me any, the roads are smooth and the shoulders are wide enough it wasn't an issue.  The ride out there was awful with a terrible headwind.  Once I was out there I did my normal loop up around the visitor center and enjoyed the sweet down hill that came after.  I saw at least a half dozen coyotes, a few jack rabbits and tons of birds.  It was just nice to be outside again!  On the way back across the cause way, I was flying!  I averaged 21 mph with the tail wind. It was so nice!

I had to put the trainer tire back on when I got home because nice weather or not, my schedule during a normal week doesn't allow me to ride outside, but it was nice for a break!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My new gig

For all 3 of my readers, you probably know by now that I am a teacher.  I teach high school resource English.  I really like teaching most days, but have wanted to be more involved in the school but not sure how.  I have gone to my administration and asked them for opportunities, but nothing thus far has come up. 

Monday that all changed.  Three of my four administrators came down into my 3rd period class and asked to see me in the hall.  Um, what?  This can't be good if it takes three of them and it is worth interrupting my class for.  Uh oh. What parent complained now? I walk out and one of them immediately says, "You can relax, Katie, this is all good."  Whew!

They then told me that they have a hole they need to fill in the school and they think I am the one to do it.  They then extend the invitation to be the new head swim coach.  Wait, what??  This completely came out of left field.  The current coach has been doing it for 45 years.  Yes, you read that correctly.  He used to teach history here, retired, but continued to coach the swim team.  He has finally decided it is time to COMPLETELY retire and go spend his life savings traveling the world.  I say that I am very interested, but need to run it past IronSherpa and think about it.

I call Ken and he is thrilled for me.  He thinks it will be a great focus for me post IMTX, when most people sink into Ironman Blues or are left wondering, what next?

So, I have accepted.  I am beyond excited.  I get an assistant coach, who is a good friend of mine, Tyler, who will be a rock star and the kids will love him.  I get to go to Seattle in April for a conference for swim coaches. This will all officially take effect next year as the final meet of the year is this weekend.  I don't feel that I have a clue what I am really doing as I have never coached, but I feel that I have really good supports in place.  There are many amazing parents who pitch in and take care of a ton.  I have a supportive administration and, like I mentioned, an amazing assistant coach.  Its going to be a learning curve, but I am so excited!  I feel that it is just combining two things I love, teaching and swimming!

Obviously, I will keep you posted.  There won't be much happening with it until fall other than my trip to Seattle in a few weeks, but it definitely gives me something to look forward to.

Happy training and racing all!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

100 Days Till I'm an Ironman....

According the my countdown app, I have 100 days until I hear Mike Reilly say the beloved words every triathlete training for an IM wants to  hear.  100 days!!! I am so excited I still can't stand it!

What's on my mind 100 days out?  Details, details, details.  I have started making lists, and more lists, and then some lists of lists I should make.  Type A you say?  For sure!

I have started making the pack list.  Not just of what to take to Texas, but specifically a list for each of the 5 bags they give you.  What will go in my morning clothes bag, what will be in the bike gear bag, the run gear bag and the Special Needs bags.

I have another list of things to do while we are down there.  People I want to see.  Places we want to eat.  Things for the IronSherpa to do while waiting for me on the bike, etc.

I have yet whole other bunch of lists for my Mom in regards to her caring for the kids that week.  And it goes on and on...

Training wise, I am in a good place.  I am missing very few workouts. Maybe one a week, if that, but never the critical core ones.  I am looking at events coming up that are non-tri related and trying to make sure that I can still do them and work my training around them. 

I am still eating like a horse and sleeping like a baby.

I am still reading anything and everything I can about this race.  I now consider the people on the IMTX Facebook page extended family.  They are great for posting ideas, advice, support, recommendations, you name it.  Probably because they are among the few who actually "get" what you are going through.  We plan to try to meet up the week of the race.

I think that I will be ready.  I have gone from freak out mode (it still happens on occasion) to feeling strong and confident that I can actually pull this off.  I am training well.  I am handling the increasing volume well.  I am injury free. 

I am loving this journey.  People are not lying when they say that it is the journey of a lifetime. 

So, Happy 100 Days!  Happy Training and racing!

Monday, February 2, 2015

What a Perfect Week Looks Like

I nailed every single work out last week, even the extras I add on to the training plan I am following.  I hit ever transition run and strength training session.  They didn't all go fantastic, but I DID THEM!  This is what it looks like from Training Peaks:

I will admit, I am becoming a bit of a data junkie. I love Training Peaks.  It is amazing to me how motivating seeing the little bars go up and down are for your training.  Also, it doesn't show it here, but I did over 100 miles last week too.  WOOHOOO!  This IM training stuff rocks.
Now for the get real part.  By the time my long run was done on Saturday, I was toast.  My body was feeling each and every one of those 100+ miles last week.  My ankle hurt, my shoulder hurt, and I was completely exhausted.  By the time I got a good night's sleep that night I was fine, but it was tough! 
This week will look much the same volume wise.  It will just be trickier to fit it all in seeing as how we have a ton of extra stuff this week.  Friday's long ride is 55 miles, and Saturday's run is 12. 
What did I learn in Week 7 of IMTX training?
-In my ongoing experimentation with nutrition, I tried the EFS Liquid Shot this week for my long bike.  NUTRITION FAIL.  I felt alright, but man, is it nasty.  I had the wild berry flavor, and it tasted like a liquefied fig newton.  And I hate fig newtons.  Not to mention is made me feel gassy and bloated and I was belching a TON on my long ride.  That goes into the NOPE category.  I think I will stick with the Gatorade Endurance and Shot Blocks :)
-I had a fantastic long swim on Thursday night.  Averaged a 1:51/100 meters.  Not bad at all!  I am going to start timing the long swims and see how this compares from week to week.
-I really did pick the perfect training plan for me.  As it goes on, it just makes more and more sense and works for me.  I love that every 3rd week is a recovery week.  It breaks the training up for me.  I love that all the workouts are very specific and I know exactly what I need to accomplish for each of them.  The build is all gradual and makes sense.  I feel like following this plan I will be ready for IMTX :)
Week 8 is another build week, but then next week is Recovery! Happy Training and Racing all!