Thursday, March 31, 2011

March totals, and a two-pack for my troubles

Thursday: Bike 27 miles, run 5 miles

I've been noticing for a while that there are "new" muscles popping out on the outside of my legs, just above the knee. (Awesome.) But I got a shock today when I realized that I also have visible abdominal muscles. It's not a six-pack or anything. Maybe a two-pack. But I have to admit, it's nice to have some more tangible proof of all the work I've been doing.

Could have something to do with March's crazy mileage totals:

Swim: 24,850 yards
Bike: 441 miles
Run: 107.5 miles

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bringing home the bacon

Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Rest

The interesting thing about being a full-time freelancer is you never know ahead of time if it's going to be a great day for a five-hour workout, or a great day to sit at your computer from dawn to dusk to earn the grocery money. Today was a grocery money day.

I'm not complaining. I like groceries. Tasty!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A good weekend to gloss over

Saturday: Swim 1,600 yards, water run 50 minutes, bike 55 miles
Sunday: Run 8.5 miles, bike 7 miles, walk 2.5 miles
Monday: Yoga, swim 2,200 yards

On Saturday, I was all set to blog about how tired and annoyed I was (stupid feet not healed up, stupid audiobook cutting me off before the ending, HOW can I train when it hurts to walk?).

On Sunday, I was all set to blog about how tired and grumpy I was (kids driving me nuts, stupid feet, husband sleeping all day, HOW did my back tire get a flat while on the trainer?).

But I didn't have time or energy then. All I have for you today is:


Friday, March 25, 2011


Thursday: Bike 24 miles, run 5 miles
Friday: Yoga, bike 23 miles

There was almost nothing I wanted to do less than get on my bike today. Of course, there wasn't much that I wanted to do more, either. To tell you the truth, I haven't really wanted to do anything the past couple of days.

Since that's not an option, I'm going to assume this is a "perfectly normal, perfectly healthy" dip in motivation and just get on with it. And try not to dwell on the fact that I still have three full months of this ahead of me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Tuesday: Rest (to care for the sick and to get my rest day back to Tuesdays)
Wednesday: Run 5 miles, swim 3,300 yards

The sickies are finally getting well, and the wellies have avoided getting sick, so things are getting back to normal around here. Including my spending the usual two-plus hours at the gym.

Today was a killer run workout, but what really kills me is that by "killer" I mean short repeats at about a 9:30 mile pace nearly killed me. If you couldn't parse your way through through that last sentence, what I'm trying to say is that, even though I've been training hard for 26½ weeks and losing a bit of weight, I am stinking s-l-o-w. I mean, it's ridiculous. There obviously aren't a lot of speed-related workouts in the Ironman training plan, but there are some, and I do do them. Shouldn't a 10-minute mile feel pretty easy by now?

To make matters worse, not only have I not done any fast running in this training, I also haven't really done any long running. The plan doesn't have any five-hour run workouts (or even close), which is about what it would take to get me into the 20+ mile range. Am I doomed to a death march in this race??

P.S. Rereading all this, I think I've actually reached a milestone: I've transferred my main concern about the race from the bike leg to the run leg. This must mean I'm going to be fine on the bike leg!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Monday: Run 9 miles, bike 12 miles

So my son is still sick, which is too bad, but not that hard to deal with. He just needs DayQuil every four hours, someone to make sure he's drinking fluids, and the occasional bowl of frozen corn. Even I can handle it.

No, the bad news is that my husband is now sick, too. Family disaster! This is the person who does:
  • 75% of the cooking;
  • 65% of the dishes;
  • 98% of the laundry;
  • 86% of the driving around of kids; and
  • 100% of the knowing what's going on and who needs to be where and when.
So having him out of commission is a big blow.

The plan for the sickies was to have them turn on a space heater and curl up in front of the TV to watch movies all day. Oh, I so wanted to do that rather than spend half the day working out. I could pretend I was sick, hang out on the couch with them, and be available to fetch tea and bowls of frozen things! And not actually be sick! The best idea ever!

But no. I resisted and went to the %$@# gym. Oh, well. At least now if I collapse on the couch with them tonight, I'll have a good excuse.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Preventive measures

Sunday: Swim 2,000 yards, yoga

Swimming felt awful this morning; it took me 1,500 yards to warm up, and then it was just about time to cool down. I told myself I couldn't expect to just bounce back from a workout like yesterday's. But then I got home and discovered that my newly minted teen is sick, so I had to wonder if I'm not also fighting off a virus.

It would suck to get sick right now. But I'm not all that concerned about actually succumbing to the dread disease. My immune system seems to be the one part of me that actually is worthy of being called "iron." Still, I'm popping another Vitamin D and going to bed early tonight.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nutrition experiment

Friday: Yoga, bike 20 miles
Saturday: Swim 1,650 yards, bike 60 miles, run 4 miles

Yahoo! Best Saturday Triple yet. Other than the ridiculously boring last hour on the bike trainer—and I'd just like to mention that if 3:30 is "far too long" to ride a bike indoors, then 3:45 is "7 percent worse than far too long"—everything went really well.

I'm really trying to figure out what I can eat during these long workouts (and of course the race) that is portable, agrees with me, delivers the right kind of nutrition, and won't leave me so darn hungry. I had three gels while on the bike, which don't disagree with me per se, other than that I find them completely nasty. I also ate a bunch of pretzels, which are nice because they have some bulk to them, and salt, but I also get sick of them pretty fast. Really the only thing I had that I actually like is chocolate soy milk, which I should probably stop using, since it's completely impractical for the race.

Anyway, after I got off the bike and before I got out the door for the run, there was a bit of a family situation (OK, not to embarrass my kid, but he was up all night last night at his birthday sleepover, had apparently fallen asleep on the couch, and then got up and started sleepwalking all over the house, which before I could get him into bed morphed into a wacky daytime night terror). It delayed me enough that I was absolutely ravenous and recklessly decided to microwave a piece of pizza leftover from the party before setting out.

Well, it took care of the hunger, and I had no stomach problems whatsoever. Huh. Admittedly it's still not a practical option for the race, unless I can convince my family to order a pizza and slip me slices at regular intervals along the course.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And more on rest

Thursday: Rest

I realized two things this morning:
  1. Just because I can walk down the stairs without going sideways does not mean my legs and feet are feeling good.
  2. I have 12 more bonus rest days built into my schedule, and I'd better start using them, or I'm going to find myself in peak condition for this race two weeks early.
So I'm taking another day off. I'm hoping it will wipe out all traces of plantar faciitis, resolve that little niggling pain behind my left knee, help me get my calves unknotted, and generally leave me raring to go. (I have to say all that to convince myself, because mostly it just feels like a cop-out.)

(In fact, even as I write this, I'm still debating if it's the right thing to do.)

(Maybe once I push Publish Post, I will stop fretting and get on with my life.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On rest

Wednesday: Rest

They say you should rest with as much intensity as you train. I tried some resting "reps" in the form of crossword puzzles, but I just couldn't seem to muster quite the same intensity. Still, I am definitely resting my tail off.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy birthday, kid

Tuesday: Run 5 miles, swim 3,400 yards

I am now officially the parent of a teenager. A lanky teenager who eats twice what I do, even though I'm training for an Ironman. A savvy teenager who teaches me IM slang and shows me all the "good" YouTube videos. A handsome teenager with the most gorgeous eyes, although you'd never know it because he wears his hair in front of them. A sweet teenager who likes to hang out with me in my office and just told me that I'm "looking really, really skinny lately."

I thought I'd feel old when this day came. But actually I just feel blessed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

About that TV…

Monday: Run 10 miles, bike 13 miles

My husband and I showed up bright and early at the realtor's office where we had been instructed to pick up the TV I won. The only person there was a receptionist, and I told her who I was and what we were doing there.

Complete confusion. Had I entered a drawing? Was I sure this was the right office? She thought one of the agents in the office had been at the Home Show, but she was pretty sure he hadn't been giving away a television. So, chuckling merrily to herself, she gave him a call, and confirmed that I had won…a CD. One of 25 that were being given away as consolation prizes for those who didn't win the fabulous gift basket. And the CDs weren't even there yet, so I'd have to come back and pick mine up another time. (Which I will surely do because Random-CD-With-Some-Realtor's-Name-and-Address is my favorite kind of music!)

My son and husband swear that the person who called them said TV, not CD, so my main consolation is imagining that 24 other people showed up in the office today demanding TVs.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A good day

Sunday: Swim 2,500 yards, yoga

After yesterday's bacon-bacon-bacon-bacon-bacon sandwich, my husband and I dropped the kids off at my parents' and went out to eat not once but twice (once before the symphony and once afterward). It's just possible I consumed more calories than I burned. (Oh, plus I had a scone in a coffee shop because we had time to kill after Dinner #1. I definitely had more calories than I burned.)

I'm feeling great today, though. I got to sleep in, and when we went to pick up the kids, my mom made us chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast. I had a lovely, uneventful swim, and then when I got home, my family told me I'd missed a call informing me that I'd won a big-screen TV from a drawing. And tonight the whole family's coming over for my son's birthday. So, a good day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The annotated Saturday Triple

Saturday: Swim 1,600 yards, bike 56 miles, run 4 miles

I was planning on another water run, but my heels felt so good this morning that I declared myself cured* and did the run like I was supposed to: after the bike ride, and in the actual outdoors. I saw enough cyclists out and about that I felt a small twinge of regret, but it was of course lessened by the fact that the 3½ hour ride was already successfully** behind me.

As I was jogging back for home after nearly five hours of exercise, I could smell one of my neighbors barbecuing, and all I could think of from that moment was how fast I could get home and obtain MEAT. The quickest thing to do was to microwave some precooked bacon, and I made myself a sandwich with two hard-boiled eggs and five*** slices of it. I'm sure that'll hold me for about a half-hour.

* Not so cured that I will stop icing, stretching, and massaging, though.
** In the sense that I did not die.
*** That's one for each hour of exercise and not at all unreasonable.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why I'm not riding outside

Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Run 5 miles, bike 25 miles
Friday: Yoga, bike 21 miles

I couldn't bear another aqua jog, so I did Thursday's run on the treadmill. I don't think it helped my plantar fasciitis any, but I don't think it really hurt it much either. I'm thinking maybe I can get away with alternating water runs with real runs for a while and still heal up.

I've got a big weekend ahead. The "Saturday Triple" calls for a three-and-a-half-hour bike ride, and the training schedule warns, "This ride is far too long to be done inside." Well, too bad for me! It's probably technically warm enough to ride outside this weekend if I were super tough. However:
  1. I am not super tough.
  2. There is still snow on the ground.
  3. I don't like being cold.
  4. I am resistant to change.
  5. The road shoulders are still completely covered with gravel.
  6. It's March in Montana, and the weather could change in the blink of an eye.
  7. Did I mention I am a wimp?
I would rather wait until it's reliably warm enough (for wimps) and then put the trainer away once and for all. Riding a million bajillion miles indoors has worn all the tread off the back tire, so I need new ones before I make the big switch.

Plus? I really think trainer riding has been good for me. It certainly cured me of coasting along aimlessly looking at scenery and enjoying myself.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Catching up on correspondence

Tuesday: Swim 3,300 yards, water run 50 minutes

To: My plantar fascia
Re: Get over yourself
I am training for an Ironman right now and cannot be injured. I need to run on land again, and soon. Knock it off.

To: A valued client
Re: Don't fire me
I'm sorry that I never check my email. It's because I'm always at the gym. I'm also sorry that even when I do find out you need a bunch of urgent work, I still can't do it right away because I'm doing urgenter work for someone else.

To: Jerkface
Re: Pllllbbbbbt
I should probably find out whether you've been expelled from the gym or not, because I'm tired of watching the men's locker room door wondering if you're going to walk onto the pool deck and try to make my life miserable. I can no longer swim without thinking about you screaming at me, and I've come to the conclusion that I previously underreported your degree of jerkiness. I now freely and fully sanction an ass-kicking from my husband, my brother-in-law, the buff trainer, Lucy, or anyone else who may want a piece of you.

To: Everyday Endurance
Re: Wow!
Thanks for sponsoring a really cool giveaway. I was more than delighted to win $100 worth of technical running shirts from your website. Can't wait to try out my windfall.

To: Diana
Re: Surprise!
One of the shirt designs (see above) reminded me of you, and so I'm sending you one. You are always so incredibly generous, and the heart rate monitor you lent me has been the most helpful thing ever. Thank you!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Death March III

Sunday: Swim 2,300 yards, yoga
Monday: Walk 18 miles

I was hoping another long walk wouldn't hurt my healing heels, but I think I might have been wrong. My feet are the very definition of pain. And my hands and feet swelled so much that afterward it looked as though all my digits had been turned to sausages (must look into what causes that and how to stop it). Still, overall, I think these death marches will be helpful. This is exactly the pain I don't want to feel in the race.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Drama at lap swim

Saturday: Swim 1,600, water run 40 minutes, bike 40 miles

This was the first of several scheduled "Saturday Triples" in which I'm supposed to swim, bike, and run. The run and bike went off without a hitch. The swim, on the other hand, nearly ended in fisticuffs.

No, seriously.

I showed up at the pool, on a bit of a schedule, and I was relieved to see that while there are a lot of swimmers, there was still a lane with only one guy in it. (Important note filled with ominous foreshadowing: I'm not one of those people who's fussy about sharing a lane. When I was on the swim team growing up, we routinely swam with nine or ten people to a lane, so having to divide one big, wide lane between two people is nothing. And when I see swimmers hanging around waiting for me to finish, I always encourage them to jump right in. Contrary to what some people seem to think, a swimming pool lap lane is not a treadmill where it's one person per.)


So I asked, "Mind if I jump in with you?" And the guy said, "Yes, actually, I do. I need this whole lane." Great. A jerk. I responded, "Well, it doesn't actually work that way," and proceeded to put on my cap and goggles. (I'm a jerk, too.) By the time he got back to my end, I was standing in the water, waiting for him to see me and move over. He was doing some ridiculously wide elementary backstroke every other 25 and was deliberately going right down the middle of the lane. He stopped and said, "What are you doing? I told you you couldn't get in this lane," so I repeated myself, told him the rest of the pool was full, and that he didn't get to claim an entire lane for just himself. He ignored me and kept swimming, so I went ahead and picked a side and started swimming, too.

I'd done almost a 50 when he actually grabbed my leg and pulled me backward and started screaming at me. I won't repeat all that was said, but he was seriously angry and called me a few choice names. I got out and called the front desk of the gym, fully expecting that they would send someone to come throw him out. Then I got back in the water. (I'm a persistent jerk.) The guy resumed yelling at me and threatened to pick me up and bodily remove me from "his" lane. I stayed calm in the things I said—not that I got a whole sentence out the entire time he was ranting at me—but I blatantly refused to get out of the lane. At that point, how could I? I was sort of more hoping he'd try to punch me in the face so the next call could be to the cops.

My son's swim coach, Lucy, happened to be there and came over to defend me, and he started yelling at her, too. Then the front desk person showed up, but unfortunately it was a rather meek younger woman who had no idea what to do with the raving lunatic. (Why couldn't they have sent that buff trainer with the 51-inch biceps?) She told me her biggest concern was just getting me away from the guy and asked if I would please go swim in the spot that Lucy had just vacated. I did it, because I really did need to get swimming, and the front desk girl looked like she was going to have a nervous breakdown.

But don't worry, the bad guys don't win, although they do have the temporary pleasure of hogging an entire lane to themselves for their whole workout while everyone else plays nice and shares.

I guess what happened afterward is that pretty much every single witness to the event went and complained to the owner, and when I got done water running, my husband (who I'm sure would have been happy to do some face-punching himself had he not been out on the treadmills at the time) insisted that we go talk to him, too. The owner was very helpful, and said it wasn't the first complaint against the guy and he was thinking of expelling him from the club. The phone was being dialed as we left.

I'm scheduled to swim again tomorrow morning. It would be nice if it doesn't become a war zone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Silent running

Friday: Yoga, water run 60 minutes, bike 23 miles

Water running. Bah. I've gotten deep enough into the latest audiobook I'm listening to, "Pride and Prejudice," that it's a real sacrifice to waste an hour where no portable media player dares to go. But I'm sure my future self will thank me when I can again get out of bed in the morning without limping.

I'm kind of excited that I've gotten to the point where I can call this an easy day, even though it added up to (math, math, math) three hours and 45 minutes of exercise. It was actually lovely and low-impact and relaxing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The best kind of rest day

Thursday: Rest

Since I didn't have to work out today, I showered, dressed, dried my hair, put on deodorant, trimmed my fingernails and toenails, brushed my teeth, and flossed. You might not be too impressed, but it's been a rough couple of weeks, and when I presented myself to my husband with a flourish and shouted, "TA-DA!" he knew exactly what I was talking about.

It's Day Two of the War on Plantar Fasciitis, and I have already iced once, stretched twice, and rolled a golf ball underfoot for half an hour. My feet feel much better, but I'm not being lulled into complacency. This foe must be vanquished.

P.S. I like these planned rest days much better than the oh-no-too-swamped-to-work-out-too-swamped-to-exist-panic-panic-panic rest days.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

War on plantar fasciitis

Tuesday: Run 9 miles, bike 16 miles
Wednesday: Swim 2,700 yards, bike 19 miles

It's 8:30 p.m., and I kind of can't believe I'm about to ditch the comfy slippers and sweater, put on squeezy shorts, and embark on a bike workout that calls for me to get my heart rate up to 160 (which I assure you I have never seen on a bike and don't expect to tonight, though I may die trying).

I also can't believe how much my heels hurt after running yesterday. I am officially rededicating my life to healing this plantar fasciitis. So far today I have stretched three times, iced twice, and rolled with a golf ball for more than an hour. I also purchased a night splint to sleep in—just one, so I guess I'll alternate which foot gets the pleasure. I slept in it last night (left foot!), and it woke me up in the middle of the night with some kind of pinching on my ankle. Not sure exactly why, since it was the middle of the night and I simply tore it off and went back to sleep.

One of these bad boys.

Also, I'm going back to either walking or water running until this is better. The timing is kind of bad, since there were supposed to be some higher-intensity runs this week, but I'm sticking to what I know what I need to do to make this Ironman happen:
  1. Do all the training
  2. Without getting hurt