Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whee, it's almost June, and May totals

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Swim 2,400 yards, bike 16 miles

I'm proud of how I have not started obsessing and panicking about the race. Of course, I'm completely obsessed with how close I am to being done (DONE! DONE!) with all this, which isn't a heck of a lot better. Two hard workouts, two medium workouts, and one easy workout until I hit the first taper week. Yesssss.

So tomorrow is June, the month of the (not-yet-worrying-about-it) race I've almost made it to! Not a bad May:

Swim: 32,950 yards
Bike: 495 miles
Run: 113.5 miles

That's as good as it gets for me, perhaps ever again. I wonder if I should go back out and ride 5 more miles.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This explains so much

Saturday: Bike 80 miles, water run 30 minutes
Sunday: Run 9 miles, bike 12 miles

Due to a series of mistakes and minor disasters, I never was able to get my swim done this weekend, but I'm pretty pleased with myself for surviving five—count 'em, five—hours on the trainer and completely rocking a hard 9-mile run.

The massage on Saturday was excellent. The therapist seemed really knowledgeable, so I struck up a conversation about my series of running injuries that all seem tied to tight calf muscles. She agreed that my calves were a bit tight but said she thinks the problem is actually my feet! She was surprised at how much they turn inward, and when she showed me how "normal" feet should hang, there was a big difference. She said it probably puts a huge burden on my calf muscles.

I thought it was interesting, because I know that when I was born, I had a problem with the way my feet were turned (I suspect it was a mild case of clubfoot, but my mom wasn't sure) and had to wear braces or something on them. I also remember the physical therapist remarking on how unusually well developed my calf muscles were. Hmmm!

Anyway, the massage therapist thought it would be crazy this close to the race to try to do anything differently, and I agree. But it might be something to work on straightening out afterward. I'm intrigued that my whole history of running issues might be due to a birth defect!

To save you a trip to Google.
(My feet are obviously not this bad.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Delays and delights

Friday: Yoga, swim 1,800 yards

We had about half a day of nice weather, and now another huge storm is blowing in at 90 mph. I have already canceled the 100-mile ride in disgust and instead will do yet another Saturday Triple with the ride on the trainer. (The forecast for NEXT Saturday is delightful. But I think it's the latest possible moment I can do a ride that long and still recover in time, so it had darned well better BE delightful.)

My kind, supportive sister wants to buy me another massage, and I have it scheduled for tomorrow morning. I'm trying a more sports-oriented one at a different place that comes highly recommended, and I'm hoping it will magically heal all that ails me. So the schedule for tomorrow is:
  1. Swim
  2. Water run
  3. Massage
  4. 4½-hour bike ride
Who's jealous of my life??

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The finish line

Thursday: Run 5.5 miles, swim 3,400 yards

My 13-year-old's standard greeting to me now is, "I haven't seen you all day!" He says it pretty much every time he sees me (because he's so doggone hilarious), but a lot of times it's true.

Sometimes I wonder what my kids are getting out of watching me do this. A lesson in going after their dreams? An example of seeing things through? A sense of awe at what's possible with hard work and determination? Yeah. Probably they'll look back on this as "those nine months we had no mom."

You'd think that when I fantasize, I'd fantasize about crossing the Ironman finish line. Actually, I almost never think about that. Instead I just think about being done with all of this, having my life back, letting my husband have his life back, moving on to something else, having ALL THAT FREE TIME. I'm not saying this journey isn't worth it. I'll just be happy when it's over. Even happier if the finish line has also been crossed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The bright side

Wednesday: Bike 24 miles, run 6 miles

The good news is that I can still run. The bad news is that it still hurts my feet. On top of the heel pain that can now only be called chronic, I have pain in my pinkie toes. It kind of feels like the swelling I suffered on my 24-mile walk never quite subsided, and now those toes annoyed because they no longer fit properly into their shoes.

There's more good news, though. I've got less and less running to do for the next five weeks leading up to the race, which should be plenty of time to actually start healing from this now. Plus? Let's just be thankful it's not a calf injury or (shudder) a knee injury. My feet can squawk all they want, but ultimately they have to do what I tell them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Tuesday: Bike 20 miles, swim 2,400 yards

After 35 weeks of Ironman training, the most striking physical change I have noticed is how quickly I can recover from anything now. After another night's sleep and some non-running workouts, my feet are more or less back to normal (i.e., just so-so), and my legs feel great. So I take back anything grumpy I may have blogged yesterday.

It was actually a good walk. My mom joined me for about 4 miles of it, and my husband joined me for the last 13½, which made it all go fast. And I didn't have to carry anything, because I drew up a complicated, loopy route that let me use my parents' house as a pit stop twice, and my own house twice—plus, my husband hauled some drinks when he was out with me. (I'm well aware that I am supported to the point of being spoiled.)

It is raining hard again today, and the forecast is iffy for Saturday's century. I'm really not sure what's going on. I thought I lived in the arid high plains?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Death March VI

Sunday: Walk 24 miles
Monday: Rest

I don't know if my feet have ever felt OK after one of these walks (or, really, since February), but I sure smashed the everloving crap out of them this time. I don't think I'm too sore anywhere else, but it's actually hard to tell over the screams of agony whenever I try to put weight on my feet. I've been resting and icing and Advilling all day, at now, at 9 p.m. the next day, I finally feel like I could walk in public again without limping, or crutches.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Problem solving

Saturday: Swim 1,800 yards, bike 71 miles, run 3 miles

Faced with the dilemma of:
  1. Riding 100 miles outside in the driving rain, or
  2. Riding "100 miles" indoors without even the satisfaction of seeing the odometer turn over…
I chose Door Number Three, which was doing next weekend's Saturday Triple today and hoping for outdoor century weather in a week's time.

I have to say, after seven hours of workouts and "transitions," including two separate trips to the gym, I feel pretty great. I never really had a low ebb of energy, and my leg muscles aren't even sore, despite sitting on the couch for two hours to watch a movie right afterward. Really, my only complaint is the nagging plantar fasciitis. That, and I was so hungry after my workout that I ate way too much pizza.

Mapped out a 24-mile walk for tomorrow!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The big question

Friday: Yoga

People have been asking me lately what I'm going to "do with myself" once I finish the Ironman, along with the related, more important question, what I'm going to blog about once I've done the Ironman.

I might be getting way ahead of myself, but I've actually given the blogging part of the question a lot of thought. (Presumably, whatever I decide to blog about will dictate what I do with myself.) Preliminary ideas:
  • "140.6 to 70.3": In which I take up half-Ironmaning as a more reasonable distance to balance with work and family life.
  • "140.6 to 50:" Once I heard about a guy who celebrated his 50th birthday by running 50 miles, and hey, isn't that the next milestone birthday for me?
  • "170 to 140.6": Follow me on my journey to becoming skinny for the first time in my life.
  • "140.6 to One with the Universe": All yoga, all the time.
Yes? No?

P.S. Rain has been pouring down all day, and tomorrow's forecast is for "heavy" thunderstorms. I could bring the 100-mile bike ride inside, but isn't the whole point to see the odometer hit triple digits? Drat. What to do?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Iron swim

Swim: 5,000 yards

Yay! I've got the first of my self-prescribed massively long workout under my belt, and now I'm one-third done. AH-HAhahahahahaha! (That's an Ironman joke right there, folks, is what that is.)

I kept an eye on the wall clock as I swam, and I hit 4,200 yards (Ironman swim distance, more or less—I think more) in about an hour and 14 minutes and the full 5,000 yards in about an hour and 27 minutes. I think it's realistic to assume that my race swim—with the cold and the chop and the crowd and the wetsuit and the FREAKING OUT and the lack of a big black line to guide my way—will be somewhere between those two times.

The other useful thing I gleaned from this was just how hungry I'm likely to be when I hit the first transition. It might be a good place for a couple of sandwiches, seriously. My son was making pancakes when I got home, and I was like STAND BACK, AND DON'T GET BETWEEN ME AND THE SYRUP.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting better

Wednesday: Bike 20 miles, run 6 miles

Think I've got it figured out. I've scheduled myself six days of AWESOME off-plan workouts, during which I'm planning to do a 5,000-yard swim, a 100-mile ride, and a marathon (or near-marathon) death march (not all on the same day). Then on Monday, I go back on the training plan and stick to it like bug residue on sunglasses until the race. (Well, except for that extra week of taper…)

It's nice to have it figured out. Also — and this is another boost for my frame of mind — I had maybe my most fantastic ride ever today. I've been climbing the giant hill every chance I get, and today I did it like 5 minutes faster than the last time, feeling great all the way. (Thanks, recovery week, for the fresh legs and confidence boost!)

At the top of the hill are miles and miles of gradually descending rollers, which are really fun to ride on, but I didn't have time to do that. Instead, it was time to come back the way I came and relearn the art of descending. Actually, I'm pretty sure I know how to descend. (Hang on, keep your center of gravity low, and steer.) What I needed practice at was not freaking out and riding the brakes. I'm getting better!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't screw it up now

Tuesday: Rest

I just visited Trifuel to see what's on the training schedule for this week, expecting massive hours. But the hours are dropping in the last two weeks before the taper. WHAT?! (I mean, yay, but WHAT?!) I can't possibly have done enough training yet. I have done NO rides approaching 100 miles, let alone 112, and NO long rides in any kind of heat.

I know I should trust the plan, but it's complicated by the fact that I've already scheduled in an extra (third) week of tapering, plus I still have six "bonus" days I never used, so I'm 13 days ahead of where I should be. I don't think it would be wise to do a four-week taper, but if I'm going to use the extra days to get more mileage in, I guess it needs to be done now, before I start cutting back on hours.

Oh, man. I'm afraid to deviate from the plan. I'm still so busy with work. There's rain (and snow) in the forecast for the next two weeks. My brain is exploding.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things that blow

Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Bike 19 miles, run 5.5 miles
Monday: Swim 1,700 yards, bike 53 miles, run 3.5 miles

I am not a fan of wind. Or perhaps I should say I'm a wimp about wind. Or perhaps I should say I have an irrational hatred of wind. Or perhaps I should say…I don't even like the kind of wind that blows in your face at 20 mph when you're riding a bike 20 mph.

I am working on this issue.

We got home from our trip Sunday with enough time for me to work out and still get home in time for the "Survivor" finale (priorities, people). So I headed out, reassuring myself that the 400 mph sustained winds were a good thing because they would help me learn to cope.

Argh. What a festival of sucking. Both the bike and the run.

Today, unfortunately, just brought another "opportunity" for learning to cope. It was not only windy, but cold! And occasionally rainy! I rode an hour before becoming convinced that the unpleasant weather was going to turn into dangerous weather, like hail, or lightning. (Or gusts that blow me into traffic to be smushed like a bug on an oncoming face.) I ended up finishing the last two and a half hours on the trainer.

Argh. It was so insanely boring that I found myself longing to be back out in the wind.

Friday, May 13, 2011

See you Monday

Thursday: Swim 2,400, bike 34 miles
Friday: Yoga

I can tell it's finally spring, because there are tons of bugs smacking into the windshield* when I ride my bike now.

This afternoon, we're off to a swim meet for three days, and since it's also my husband's birthday weekend (ANOTHER big 4-0 in the house!), I'm going to take Saturday and probably Sunday completely off. I'm at the stage where I freak out about every training decision, and especially the decision to take extra rest, but I figure if I can't do it during a recovery week, then when can I?

I watched a video about endurance nutrition and now I'm aghast at my last post and my completely haphazard fueling methods. I guess I have a month and a half to spend a lot more money I mean learn to do this right.

*My face

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Caffeine junkie

Tuesday: Swim 2,850 yards, run 5.5 miles
Wednesday: Run 7.5 miles, bike 16 miles

I know that eventually I need to work out a Nutrition Plan, but I keep putting it off, and in the meantime, I've been just trying different stuff to make sure nothing disagrees with me. I've had PB&Js, jellybeans, pretzels, Pirate's Booty, M&Ms, cereal, chocolate soy milk, bananas, orange juice — even sports drink, bars, and gels, when I finally got around to buying the ones that will be used in the race. So far nothing does disagree with me, but nothing has seemed to be particularly helpful, either.


So I had a bit of a headache yesterday before my run, and (because I think Advil does upset my stomach during a workout) I got the idea to take Excedrin Migraine. I'd heard that caffeine can be beneficial and I wanted to try it.

Holy cow. I had a delightfully speedy run and a serious endorphin rush afterward. I came home elated. I made plans in my head for my next Ironman. I started thinking about ultramarathoning. I got really funny and chatty. Then I worked efficiently and productively until after 11 p.m.

I think I've found my race fuel of choice. Everything else is going to be gravy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Down, girl

Monday: Rest

So yesterday was a pretty easy day, and today was a full on sit-at-my-desk day, and now my body is like, HEY! I'M FEELING FANTASTIC DOWN HERE! QUIT RESTING ALREADY, AND LET'S GO FOR A NICE RUN, HUH? WAIT, BETTER IDEA! WHAT ABOUT A RIDE? YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO TACKLE THAT HILL AGAIN! LET'S GO!

When did my body become a border collie?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy thoughts

Sunday: Swim 2,000 yards, yoga

I'm onto the next training week already (move the red arrow down yet another notch) and when I took a look at it, some delicious phrases caught my attention right away.
"Recovery week."
"Easing back on the intensity."
"Finishing touches."
"Last weekend was a monster, so your body will love you after this one."
I am thinking happy thoughts.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Saturday: Swim 1,800 yards, bike 73 miles, run 3 miles

This ride was alarming to me, because if it had been on the trainer, I would have assumed 16 mph and written down "bike 84 miles." Instead I averaged something like 13-14 mph. I think it's because:
  1. The loop I did had an enormous hill (like, a 45-minute hill) and I did it twice.
  2. It was windy and rainy for much of the ride (but I still managed to sunburn my wrists).
  3. The roads around here are in terrible shape.
Which is all well and good, except that Coeur d'Alene also has enormous hills that must be done twice, and it could easily be windy, or rainy, or hot, or whatever. So basically, the excuse I'm left with is…potholes.

To be honest, my legs felt like they still potentially had 40 miles in them when I finished. But my shoulders, neck, and back were in agony. And there was something else in me that was totally wiped out, though I'm not sure how I'd describe it. I don't think it was cardio related or muscle related. I just ran out of…oh, fuel maybe. Or will. And then when I tried to run, there wasn't much there either.

I spent the whole first part of the day reminding myself that I want to be doing this and the whole second half trying to convince myself that I'll ultimately be able to do this. Not my most encouraging Saturday Triple.

Here's a joke to lighten the mood: What's worse than finishing seven brutal hours of training and finding your family has forgotten you, gone somewhere, and locked you out of the house?

Being informed, 45 very hungry and thirsty minutes later, that the back door was unlocked all along and it was actually your own darn fault. Arghhhh!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Look, Ma, no trainer

Friday: Yoga, Bike 33 miles

Leaving the house today, I felt like a kid who's just gotten the training wheels off: wobbly, uncertain, excited, off on my big adventure! It took me a few minutes to adjust to the fact that I now had to a) look where I was going, b) steer, and c) hold the bike upright on my own.

(Then I wondered why it seemed so eerily silent. Oh, yeah, no Englishman reading "Watership Down" in my ears.)

I had to rearrange my schedule to adjust for my bike being in the shop for three days. I hope this ride wasn't too long to do the day before the Saturday Epic Iron Triple Workout of Doom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Biking season/earnings season

Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Run 5.5 miles, swim 3,100 yards
Thursday: Swim 2,300 yards, run 7 miles

I think the entire city must have decided at the same time that Biking Weather has returned, because my bike has been at the shop for two days now waiting for new tires, and they're still not done with it. If they don't call early tomorrow, I'm going to have to go down there and kidnap it back, because the Ironman training plan waits for no one. Or something.

In my world it's "earnings season," which is when all the public companies report their quarterly results, producing many, many, many transcripts that need to be edited. Usually the company I work for provides a substantial bonus for doing tons of work during these weeks (like the equivalent of 15-hour days). But for this time around there's no bonus, which (go figure!!) substantially reduces my desire to work 15-hour days. It's good for my training, though. I'm still at my desk a lot, but not so much that I can't get my workouts in. And meanwhile, the company is stuck with a truly horrific backlog of work that they can't get assigned, which pretty much serves them right.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death March V

Sunday: Yoga, bike 24 miles
Monday: Walk 20(?) miles

My original plan for this death march was to walk straight up the Molt hill, one of my usual biking roads, way out in the boonies, for three hours, then turn around and come home. I figured it would be scenic, quiet, and easy to measure later. My husband was not fond of this proposed route (which he called "Serial Killer Alley"). He figured that if I somehow escaped outright murder, then I would definitely get hit by a car, fall into a ditch out of cell range, and die. So as a compromise, I walked in small, safe circles around my house.


No, the actual compromise was kind of awesome. I headed out in the same general direction as I had planned but met him at a just-barely-out-of-town park with a bunch of hiking trails, and we walked around together for a couple of hours. Then I had to go to the bathroom, so we drove home. I still had two hours left to walk at that point, and so we headed out again together, walked to my parents' house, said hi to my dad, and walked back home.

It was great to have a companion for most of the walk and also another human being who fully understands just how much my feet hurt right now. (Though I think they hurt less than last time.)

I'm definitely going to schedule one more death march. They are getting easier all the time and seem to me to be nothing short of an insurance policy to get me through this race. I'm very tempted to have someone drive me all the way out to Molt next time so I can walk/run the entire Montana Marathon course. I'm almost positive I could do it in six hours. And that I could recruit some chaperones to see me through Serial Killer Alley.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A new week

Thursday: Run 6 miles, bike 27 miles
Friday: Swim 2,200 yards, bike 13 miles
Saturday: Swim 1,800 yards, water run 50 minutes, bike 64 miles

I think last week I worked pretty much every minute I wasn't swimming, biking, or running. But it's a new week, a new month, and a new training week (mentally move that big red arrow down one notch).

I think I'll just look at these empty calendars on my desk for a moment and pretend the next seven days aren't going to be exactly the same.