Monday, January 31, 2011

Death March II

Monday: Walk 16 miles

I decided that, since there's no way I'll be able to scrape together 4½ hours of uninterrupted free time in February due to an insane amount of work that starts tomorrow, the moment for another voluntary death march was right now. And since it's a million below outside today, that means more fun on the treadmill!

I have a vague idea that, even with the extra two miles, I actually fared better this time than last time, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like I got run over by a truck right now.

On the plus side, it really padded out my mileage numbers for the month:

January totals:
Run: 94 miles (probably my most ever)
Bike: 389 miles (definitely my most ever)
Swim: 23,300 yards (about a one-day total when I was a college swimmer)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Friday: Yoga, swim 2,400 yards
Saturday: Bike 23 miles, run 4.5 miles
Sunday: Yoga, bike 20 miles

My good biking shorts are in the wash, and my good attitude is out to lunch. I felt every single second of the hour and 15 minutes on the bike tonight. I guess it doesn't always have to be pretty, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Biking breakthroughs

Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Bike 36 miles

I don't have anything on my bike to tell me the actual mileage it's doing on the trainer, so I've just been assuming an average of 16 mph. That's about what I was doing on the road before the weather turned unbikeable. But I really feel like I'm going faster than that now. Maybe today's two hour and 15 minute ride was really 40 miles. Maybe 45. Maybe 50! (Probably not 50.)

Whatever the distance, I can definitely feel myself getting better. I'm working out my saddle problems, too. Between the magic shorts and the Chamois Butt'r I got for Christmas and losing a few pounds and the used Adamo saddle I bought on eBay a while ago and getting my husband to tweak the position this way and that…well, 112 miles might actually be possible, from a sitting-that-long perspective.

Makes the aero position more
comfortable than sitting up. Weird.

I think the next thing I'm going to do is get my kids to film me on the trainer and then compare that to a video of someone demonstrating a correct bike fit. That should be interesting.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Tuesday: Swim 3,500 yards, run 6 miles

Things that annoy me:

1. Cooking. I am, of course, burning about 2 billion kazillion extra calories a day, so it stands to reason that I would need to eat more while I'm training for this Ironman. But my stomach either isn't as big as it used to be or is more unsettled (maybe since I keep running off to the gym for hours at a time to bring digestion to a screeching halt), and I can't seem to eat normal-sized meals anymore. That means I'm in the kitchen, staring into the perfectly well-stocked refrigerator, seven times a day, trying to figure out what nutritionally sound yet delicious mini-meal to make for myself. Usually I pick milk and Cheerios. Did I mention cooking annoys me?

2. Creepy lap swimmers. So a guy gets into the lane next to me today and tries to start up a conversation during the 15-second rest intervals I'm taking on a set of 50s. He wants to know if I've had "swimming lessons," and not wanting to try to sum up my entire swimming history in the next 10 seconds, I just say yes. Then on subsequent visits to the wall, we talk about whether the pool is as long as the college pool (yes) and how many lengths make up a mile (69), and he sort of seems to get the idea that I'm not really there for conversation. I finally get to a set of 400s, figuring that will free me up from trying to be polite, but then I notice that as I'm coming into the wall to do my flip turns, he is going underwater in his lane to watch me! More than once! Eventually, he gets out and goes into the hot tub, and sure enough, every time I turn my head that direction to breathe, there's his creepy little head, watching me swim. Now, I know I am utterly fascinating, but wouldn't you think he'd have some sort of internal Creep-O-Meter that would alert him that he's in the red zone?

3. Intensity. I had to do a little rearranging of the workouts this week and unintentionally put a high-intensity swim on the same day as a high-intensity run. Oh, my. I am not a high-intensity kind of gal. (Well, maybe more so in the pool.) And the scary thing is that the training schedule said the run was a preview of the kind of intensity I could expect in weeks 23 through 34, and to "get psyched to get fast!" Oh, my.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Maternal shirking

Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Yoga, bike 20 miles
Monday: Run 7.5 miles, bike 13 miles

There's been no more produce in my kitchen drawers (that I know of), but I still feel like I'm not quite all there. It's still true that I'm feeling really good physically, but I'm willing to admit that this little brain problem might be sleep deprivation. In fact this morning, when the alarm went off as usual at 7, I had every intention of getting up. But my husband got up first, and turned off the alarm, and the next thing I knew it was 9:30.

Oh, um, bye, kids! Have a great day at school! I won't see you when you get home either because I'll be running and then have to work!

I really hope I can finish the Ironman so that when my boys reflect someday on how their mother abandoned them for nine solid months and also lost her mind there will at least have been a reason.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brain dumb

Friday: Bike 45 miles, run 4 miles

First the bad news: I've been making all kinds of stupid mistakes lately, misplacing things, forgetting what I read two seconds ago, not being able to come up with commonplace words, generally not being on top of it. My work has been suffering, and yesterday I opened a kitchen drawer and found a bag of spinach I had put there. Is this a thing that happens to endurance athletes? Am I somehow drawing all my blood into my heart and quads at the expense of my brain? (And would a full-body compression sock help?)

But there is good news, too: Me bike real good now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why I skipped yoga

Thursday: Swim 2,700 yards, bike 11 miles

I realized that I didn't actually have a four-hour block of workout time today, so I had to switch my workouts around again. That meant no yoga class to go along with this "easy" day (because there's nothing good on a Thursday that meets later than 5:15 a.m.). Then I got a brainstorm that my husband could add a yoga video to his Netflix queue and I could "Watch It Now." The pickings were slim, though. Of the 10 available yoga videos, one was for pregnancy, three were "hot hunks in trunks" yoga, one was just 10 minutes long, and the rest were all for depression or stress or the pursuit of oneness with the inner light of universal peace and goodness.

That's OK. Tomorrow's ride could be kind of a killer, and the extra rest might be a good idea.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Piling on the miles

Wednesday: Run 9.5 miles, bike 18 miles

I had a rest day scheduled today, but my husband convinced me I should move it to Saturday so I can attend at least one day of our son's swim meet this weekend. That means a three-hour workout today, a three hour and 40 minute workout tomorrow, two and a half hours on Friday, and then that swim meet. I guess I can do that, my dear. Just don't expect me to drive.

But hey, I'm a little excited about today's workout (she said before the exhaustion kicked in completely). I ran more than 9½ miles in an hour and 55 minutes, which is (I don't know, math, math, math) something like almost a 12-minute mile! For two hours! Then I got on my bike and was actually able to hold the suggested 75% heart rate for the suggested half-hour before starting to cool down. That has never happened before because my legs always pooped out. Could this signal the appearance of the fabled "biking legs" at last?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The gym in January

Monday: Bike 23 miles, run 4 miles
Tuesday: Bike 17 miles, swim 3,300 yards

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about regular gym-goers being frustrated by all the newbies brought in by their New Year's resolutions. One lady said she couldn't stand how uncoordinated the new people were, that they would stand in front of her in yoga and wobble all over the place, causing her to lose her balance.

First off, that's just lame. And mean.

Secondly, really? I've always assumed that most people are too self-conscious to even notice my yoga moves, or my running speed, or how I look in my college-era T-shirt (usually pre-sweated through from a bike ride). Gee, I hope I'm not annoying anybody with the awkward way I use the foam roller.

And thirdly (and I'm slowly getting to my real point here), I love my job. I never have to worry about all the treadmills being taken, even in January, because I don't have to go to the gym before or after work, with all the crowds. I go during work. Or, technically, instead of work. Work is one of those things—along with eating, sleeping, housework, family time, and reading stupid newspaper articles—that I fit in around my training. What a luxury.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

10 "Ironmans" in the car this weekend

Friday: Swim 2,400 yards
Saturday: Run 6 miles
Sunday: Rest

This weekend was more driving than training with my son's climbing competition in Boise. We set the trip odometer, and I was startled to notice that it's almost exactly 140.6 miles from our house to the first Bozeman exit (or one unit of distance hereafter called the "Ironman"). That means one Ironman is … a really long stinking way. For example, Billings to Boise takes about 11 hours to drive with stops, goes through three major mountain passes, and covers the majority of two very large Western states. Guess how far it is? Less than five Ironmans. Wow. I always knew it was not a distance to sneeze at, but that really put it in some scary perspective.

Well. Not being inclined to sneeze at this training anyway, I put in the workouts I had planned. On Friday, my husband was insistent that we get on the road at 8 a.m. sharp, so I got up super stinking early to get my swim done. I decided to do my run on Saturday, but the hotel didn't have a treadmill, so I had to find a YMCA, get a one-day pass ($14!!), and run there. (I know running outdoors is free, but I hadn't brought any cold-weather running gear, and we didn't seem to be in the best part of town.)

It was kind of gratifying to go the extra mile (so to speak) to stay on my schedule. Plus it helped my cool-mom cred: My son got to explain away my lateness for lunch with the team by telling them about the Ironman. That was good because I had apparently already done the most embarrassing thing ever by pulling out a knitting project at the morning competition. Let me tell you, if this is what it takes to be a cool mom, then he's got about 20 weeks left to enjoy it, because this is a one-time deal.

P.S. The cool triathlete bloggers have contests. I really want the Garmin being given away by DCRainmaker.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feeling bad

Thursday: Run 8.5 miles, bike 15 miles

Unfortunately, yesterday's feelings of strength and vitality did not survive today's hour and 45 minute run. So, so, so tired. And so much left to do yet today, especially with this trip to Boise in the morning. But tomorrow all I have to do is swim (and drive), and then I think I'm going to use a bonus rest day, so I should be power-peppy again by the time we get back on Sunday night, ready to start the cycle all over again.

The more hours I train each week, the steeper these peaks and valleys of energy seem to get. That means I have some dark days ahead of me, I fear. It also means my eventual taper for this race is going to be really, really fun.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feeling good

Wednesday: Bike 24 miles, run 3 miles

Just checking in to marvel about what a difference a day of rest makes. I was raring to go today, and my ride and run felt routine and easy—even, dare I say, invigorating. Huh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An iron day

Monday: Bike 19 miles, swim 3,200 yards
Tuesday: Rest

When I'm standing at the starting line of the Ironman, looking around at all the 5-percent-body-fat uber-athletes with their $4,000 bikes, choking down panic and wondering what on earth I've done to belong there, I'm going to think about days like yesterday. Days when I have to enlist my children to monitor my email so I can squeeze in a bike ride while waiting for urgent work, when I'm still in the pool pounding out the last bit of my workout five minutes before the gym closes, when I'm up past midnight getting the last vital item checked off my to-do list. If that's not the makings of an Ironman, I don't know what is.

Then I'm going to think of my husband, who didn't even suggest that I wake up the next morning and instead just turned off the alarm and quietly got the kids off to school himself. Not iron, perhaps, but gold.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Saturday: Run 3 miles, bike 37 miles
Sunday: Yoga, run 5 miles

Thus weekend was some of the toughest training I have done yet, partly because I had to work it around my son's swim meet. It went like this: On Saturday, we got up at 5:45, drove an hour to the meet, were there for most of the day, and came home exhausted. I was pretty much ready to collapse. Only… yay! Time for my three-hour workout! I finished around 9:30, showered, ate, finally got in bed around 11 (it was a long shower) and then did it all again today.

I'm pleased I was able to get everything done, but next weekend we have to go to Idaho for three days for my son's rock climbing comp. I haven't figured out yet how I'm going to make that one work.

I'm really tired, and I think it's more than just being busy and not getting enough sleep. I think next time I try the massively-long-walk workout, I'll need to schedule an extra full day of rest along with it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ironman up

Friday: Yoga, swim 2,400 yards

Oh, man, I love Friday morning yoga. I went in stiff and achy, and when I came out, the only thing that still hurt was my blister. Plus I stayed 25 minutes after class just chatting with people. We "work from homers" need that kind of socialization once in a while to keep us from going feral.

So I've hit the end of Week 15 on the training plan and just copied down Week 16 into my schedule. Uh-oh. Lots of hours coming up. A 13-hour training week doesn't sound so bad, but when you look at the details, and then try to fit the rest of your life around them, well, it's intimidating.

But deep breath. These weeks are only getting longer, so it's time to Ironman up.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Thursday: Bike 20 miles, water run 50 minutes

Let's take inventory after my long walk yesterday:

Head: Still pleased with itself and thinking four hours on the treadmill was a pretty good idea.
Neck: Fine
Back: Pretty sore. Walking did that??
Hips: Fine
Hamstrings: Fine
Quads: Fine
Knees: Fine
Calves: Fine
Shins: I have MUSCLES in my SHINS? Owwie owwie ow ow ow!
Ankles: Fine
Feet: Tender, aching, blistered, tiny bones actually snapping in two. TOTAL DISASTER.

So all in all, not too bad. Biking felt fine, but because of my ridiculously sore feet, and out of an abundance of caution, I decided that water would be a better place for a run than land today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mad genius

Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Walk 14 miles

Revved up from my (totally stinking awesome) rest day, and having nothing much to do today, I decided this was the moment to enact my plan of occasionally replacing a scheduled long run with a ridiculously long walk. I arbitrarily decided to start with 14 miles. (It's still winter here, of course, so that was four hours on the treadmill, set to "random" incline.) I brought both my music and audiobook players, lots of snacks, and two water bottles. Should have brought extra socks, too, but live and learn.

All in all, I think I'm a mad genius. Genius because even though my heart rate never got above 102, this was a fun but killer workout that eventually felt exactly like the end of my half-ironman, and the end of my marathon. (My theory is, if you build up the death-march muscles, it should eventually cease to be a death march. Right?) But I'm also thinking I might have been mad, because my legs and feet (oh, most especially the feet) are killing me right now, I have a blister on my heel, and it's hard to imagine being able to do tomorrow's two hours of bike and run workouts. So I guess time will tell whether this was a good idea or what.

I'm still a little iffy about my left calf, but this walk didn't hurt it. Actually, I just realized that if I do a water run tomorrow, that might be the best thing for my feet AND calves. And knees and hips and blisters and sanity. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Déjà poo

Monday: Swim 3,400 yards, bike 16 miles

My formerly strained left soleus was perfectly fine after my run Sunday, but this afternoon, out of the blue, it started acting up again. It's either re-strained or sending out a very clear warning that it's about to be. I've been stretching and massaging like a woman possessed and may have to resort to water running again if it's not better by Wednesday. (It's probably just irritated that my day started so early this morning. I know I am.)

I didn't have to run today, but swimming felt choppy and achy and generally awful. Biking felt harder than it should have. (Despite the exciting addition of my brand new saddle! More on that when I'm not so tired.) Taking down the Christmas decorations felt like the second-to-last mile of the Ironman (I'd like to think the last mile would be more satisfying). Thank goodness I've made it to the next rest day.

Year in review. Part II

I thought I'd use my training data from 2010 to make a few more charts. This is mileage/yardage for each sport by month:

Funny how everything drops off around my half-Ironman in July and then ramps up like crazy as my Ironman training gets started. (Funny, too, how I thought I was doing some fairly serious training in January and February, yet apparently I was capable of five times that much.)

Maybe I will keep track of my mileage again in 2011 after all. Who doesn't love data??

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Harsh reality

Friday: Yoga, run 6.5 miles, bike 12 miles
Saturday: Bike 32 miles
Sunday: Run 5 miles, yoga

My mom rang the doorbell at 1 p.m. today, and she ended up letting herself before anyone got to the door because nobody really wanted to answer it. We were all still in our pajamas! I slept in until 9:30, and it was desperately needed. I can't quite believe I'm going to have to wake up before 7 a.m. tomorrow. The tree is still up, and the house is full of chocolate-covered pretzels. All my new triathlon toys are still in a pile in my office. Surely Christmas break can't be over yet?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year in review

Goal: 150,000 yards
Actual: 150,600 yards

Goal: 2,010 miles
Actual: 2,408 miles

Goal: 600 miles
Actual: 523 miles

I almost made it! If I'd done the marathon this fall, I'm sure I would have hit my running goal and then some, but I just didn't have it in me this year on top of everything else. No mileage/yardage goals for 2011. I just want to do an Ironman and that's all.