Thursday, February 28, 2008

Surprise! You signed up for Ironman.

I keep getting these emails from Ironman about the lottery for Kona. The subject is "2008 Ironman lottery - You....". That's where my email inbox cuts off the subject line. This is the third one I've gotten and it freaks me out every I may have gotten this wild idea to sign up and this was my confirmation.

When the first email came, I was curious. I even considered registering for the lottery just to see if I would get in. Like if I did somehow get in that would be a sign that I NEEDED to do Ironman. Then I saw that you had to pay for the lottery and I scrapped that idea.

But now these emails come and just for a second I forget that I didn't register the lottery. And just for a second I freak out at the thought of me doing a big, bad Ironman.

You may think this is irrational, but I know how easy it is to sit a cushy chair, in the comfort of your own home and think "oh yeah, that looks like fun" as you register for some crazy pain-fest of a race. I've been down that road before. For a while I was thinking I needed "race-lock" on my computer. Like one of those child protection programs, but instead of blocking adult content it would disable all race registration sites.

It would be something that would prevent you from, say, registering for your first triathlon ever at the 70.3 distance in May when you live in Wisconsin and only have frozen tundra to train on. And something that would make you think twice about registering for a century ride just two weeks later, on the other side of the country. Maybe a little pop up box that would say "this race conflicts not only with training and travel for another event on your calendar but also with your ability to consider yourself sane, are you sure you want to proceed".

And when you naively click "yes I am crazy and want to proceed" it would then tell you "You should expect to put your bike on a truck and not see it for three weeks straight, except for 30 minutes somewhere in the middle of those three weeks when you are running it across town from one bike transport truck to the other. You should expect to be a complete headcase for a full 24 hours leading up to the triathlon much to the frustration of those poor souls traveling with you. You should expect to not be fully prepared for either event. You should expect stress. You're a crazy nut-job. Good luck (you're going to need it)."

A race registration blocker might also have deterred me from accidentally registering for the EcoChallenge, cleverly disguised as a friendly trail half-marathon in Vancouver. (this is a great story for another time)

So you see, based on past experience, the fear of accidentally signing up for the Ironman is a very rational fear.

So Ironman, could you stop sending me emails. You're freakin' me out.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why are mornings so....early?

Made it across town for an early morning swim workout today. It was painful.

Not so much the workout, as the getting up early part. But much to my surprise I did manage to get out the door...freshly made smoothie in hand...and to the pool in plenty of time. I credit my success to the fact that I did everything I possibly could have the night before. All that was left was changing, brushing teeth, and making the smoothie. Oh, and scraping and warming up the car -- LOVE Wisconsin. But I warmed up the car while I was blending the smoothie and it all worked out pretty well.

I'm thinking about minimizing my sleep to swim transition time by sleeping in my suit next time. Now that's thinking like a true triathlete. This whole morning workout thing must be what prepares you for fast transitions.

The workout was overall kind of wimpy. There was too much chatting beforehand, which cut into the actual swim time. I could have kept going but I have this pesky thing called a job.

200 SKPS (Swim, Kick, Pull, Swim) Warm-up
3 x 200 Slow down, fast back
1 x 500 for time, except I can't count so I did more like 550 or 600, we're not sure

1300 total yards...give or take. It was early. Who can count laps that early? And a 500....c'mon. That's counting all the way to 10 (or 20 if you're counting lengths). I can't do that until I'm at least halfway through my morning latte.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Funny how your body is smarter than you sometimes. I must have been eating really badly lately because I'm craving green things. Who craves vegetables?? That can't be normal.

This morning I had an orange for breakfast. (after coffee, of course) And then rather than the veggie burger and carrots I had packed for lunch, I went out and picked up a veggie wrap. The veggie burger just seemed to heavy. I wanted lettuce. Again, weird.

Tonight I'm pretty excited to steam up some broccoli for dinner. And no, I'm not kidding.

I'm blaming these wacky new cravings on a few things -- One, I've been totally gorging on monster cookies for the past two days. And chocolate, that I bought while at the store shopping for monster cookie ingredients. I think I may have found my tolerance level for sweets (who knew there was such a thing?). -- Two, I'm probably dehydrated. Its hard to make yourself drink water when its so chilly out. I've been good about hydrating while working out, but not so good the rest of the day.

So like it or not, I'm getting my eating back on odd-ball craving at a time!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

monster cookies: the new energy bar

I'm going to start my "eat like a triathlete" plan really right after this batch of monster cookies is gone. ;) But truth be told, I had four monster cookies and 2 cups of coffee before today's workout and didn't feel nearly as crappy as I thought I would. They've got peanut butter and oatmeal, how bad could they be?

So as for the workouts....well, for some reason I seem to be incapable of getting myself to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. But Thursday through Sunday I do pretty good.

Here's a recap....first the scheduled workout...and then (what I actually did):

Bike 60:00 (hauled gym bag to work, didn't make it to gym)

Swim 45:00, Run 30:00 (hauled gym bag to work, didn't make it to gym)

Bike 90:00 (ya right! isn't it a little early in the season for 90 min mid-week rides?)

Swim 30:00, Run 30:00 (had a darn good three mile run)

off (nailed this workout!)

Bike 90:00 with hills (biked 75:00 with hill simulation)

Run 50:00 with hills (55 min on treadmill, 4 miles, ab work, 20 min swimming)

Ok not terrible. Not great. Hopefully this week will be better. The half marathon plan I have for the Memorial Weekend race only has long runs at 4 miles to start and the plan doesn't start for two more weeks. So regardless of being slow, I'm still feeling pretty good about the running. (physically, I hobble off the treadmill like an 80 year old woman, but hey...I'm gettin' in the mileage!)

Looks like another snow storm rolling in Monday night, so I've gotta be sure to get in my cycle workout tomorrow at lunch. Tuesday's supposed to be an early morning swim way across town with the Team in Training Tri team....but they're predicting 5-8 inches of snow, so we'll see.

Aches and pains aside, I do feel like my endurance is improving. And that feels great. Thinking about how much farther ahead I am than last year in pretty much every aspect of training feels pretty great too. Ahh, little victories.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm so over winter

As a snow-loving, nordic tundra dweller....I generally look forward to winter. The crisp chill that comes with the change of season. The cozy cashmere turtlenecks and soy latte sipping mornings. The cuddle up under the blanket and watch a movie evenings. Its like an excuse to slow down a little bit. Catch up on those inside things you negleted all albums, closet cleaning, and whatnot.

But this...this winter we're's completely out of hand. And I'm so over it. Its either snowing, or blowing, or just frigidly cold. And I'm not exaggerating. We've already broken the record for snowfall in a season. The record was 76". The average is around 50". We're looking at 80"+ right now and its only February!

And all the snow would be fine, if you could get out and enjoy it. But every big dump seems to be followed by temps in the negative numbers. Case in point....tonight's high...-7 degrees with windchills of -15 to -30.

I normally like to get out and enjoy, snowshoe....but the weather has kept me indoors and I'm about to lose my mind. The gym is about the only thing that is keeping me sane. But I'm pretty much over that too lately.

And driving....nothing like a morning commute across a skating rink to really add a little stress to your day. Driving lately is what I imagine driving on the ice road to be like. And when you can see the pavement its usually only to expose man-eating pot-holes.

Last night I was trying to get out snowshoeing before it got too dark but got stuck in this nonsense...

This girl went in the ditch, which made these other cars stop. Problem was they stopped on the hill and with the road being all ice, they couldn't get going again. So there we all sat.

Ok, so this doesn't really have anything to do with triathlon. But I'm crabby and I needed to vent a bit. Heck we're all crabby these days. You can't even smile at people on the street because the cold air makes your teeth hurt. So we just put our heads down and waddle around all bundled up.

Happy friggin' winter.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And as a shock to no one....bad weather foils another workout

I had been pretty darn diligent about doing the workouts as planned. Really, I had. Ok, so I was kind-of wimpy about the lifting on Friday....but I was feeling the ab work the next day so I should get a little credit. And I did cut the swim short, but I still did it. B- for the effort at least, and spending Friday night at the gym.

Saturday I rocked the whole workout, just like planned. 75 minutes of biking and....well, ok I knocked 5 minutes off the planned run. But I was hungry.

So then I'm all pumped for Sunday's run/swim workout. The weather was supposed to be sucky, but I figured that would just motivate me to get my lazy backside to the gym at an impressively early hour. But no. It started to rain and promptly freeze sometime around 2am. No gym for me. We were supposed to get another 6-10 inches of which case I was going to throw on the snowshoes and at least get in the run part of the workout. But no. Mother nature crapped out on that part of the deal and it turn from freezing rain to sleet to some sloppy wet snow mixture. Not enough accumulation to pull off snowshoeing down the sidewalk.

So I tried. But in the end I took today as my off day and will push the run/swim workout to tomorrow. Which is fine. I'll be fully recovered from three workouts in a row that way when I put in my first long run. I'm super paranoid about running injuries so I'll feel more comfortable upping the distance now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What do you get a triathlete for valentines' day?

Ski boots, of course.

I'm not exactly conventional when in comes to ways to "woo" me. I'm not a fan of flowers (unless they're locally grown, in season, and its not a gift-giving holiday). I'm incredibly particular about chocolate (like, Claude better have made them...that particular). And special dinners....well, you can have a special dinner any night of the year so why force it because its "mandatory show your love" day.

But sporting equipment. Well now you've got my attention. And the inside track to my heart.

Lucky me....this year I got swiss chocolates AND sporting equipment! Am I loved or what?!

Plan for the weekend

Run 30 minutes, intervals at goal pace
*did this already! go me!*

Core work and weights
Swim 60 minutes

Bike 75 minutes
Run 20 minutes

Run 45 minutes, slower (6 mph) but consistant pace
core work
Swim 60 minutes

*official start of Lake Stevens 70.3 training plan*
First phase -- six weeks of base building, one week recovery

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend Recap

It's cold. Cold enough to make your joints ache and your snot freeze right in your nose. Lovely thought, I know....but that just sums up how flippin' cold it is....easily cold enough to zap all motivation for working out. However, I did manage to overcome all that and get in a few decent workouts this weekend.

Saturday I swam with the Team in Training tri team at 8am. Got a few pointers on my stroke and a decent workout in. Two hours at the pool, about an hour of solid swimming. I think the changes to my technique are going to help me get a little more power out of my stroke, which I could use. I haven't swam in quite a while and it felt nice to get a shoulder burn going.

Then I headed over to workout with the Team in Training cycle team at 10:45am and got in an hour on the bike. No aches in the knees after this ride so I must have tweaked the bike fit better this time.

After all that I had to sprint for the showers and then to the salon for a hair appointment. No time for a post-workout snack. This is where that life-balance part comes in. I had a granola bar on my way to the swim (7:30am), and sipped a soy latte between the swim and the bike (10:15am). I should have packed food to eat en route to the salon (12:30pm). Needless to say I was starving at the salon. And ready to eat my arm off when I left there (3pm). I probably didn't do my muscles any recovery favors either.

Sunday I was feeling sloth-like and put off the workout all day. The temps were in the negative digits and I just didn't feel like going outside. But Finally around 6pm I made it to the gym. Did 30 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes in the pool. Not a lot, I know. But I made sure to hit some tempos faster than my goal pace on the run so I felt good about what little I did do. However 30 minutes is still less than three miles for me. Not saying that's slow. Its just "what it is" right now. There is a warm-up included in there, so I'm hoping the average pace will increase as the actual workout part gets longer.

It's an embarassing volume for a weekend workout....those are supposed to be the big days. But right now I'm just trying to be realistic about where I'm starting from, and focus on consistancy. The volume will come.

Its funny, I've been having pain in my left knee (not new, lingering for over a year now) and some other chronic aches and pains (low back, mid back from time to time). They bother me the most on the run. But it seems the faster I run the less everything hurts. Not sure how or why....? Whatever it is I'm hoping it inspires me to run faster once my base fitness gets back to a level where faster paces are sustainable.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Training Weather

Ya, if you're an Eskimo. Although, I'll bet building an igloo would be a decent workout....and also seems like it might be kinda fun (read that article I linked to). There will be no gym today....only shoveling. Even the dog wants nothing to do with the weather....fleece parka or not, he's not happy about it.

The weather this winter has been really adding to the challenge of getting to the gym. Another 10+ inches of snow today. Maybe I should be thinking about the Iditarod instead of the Ironman.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Neoprene....the fabric of superheroes

When I was little I used to tell people I wanted to be Wonder Woman when I grew up. In fact, I was so convicted that I apparently felt compelled to announce my ambitions to an entire congregation one Sunday morning during a children's sermon. Or so my parents tell me. I don't remember doing it, but I do remember a couple years of churchgoers asking me "how's wonder woman today"?

Well today Wonder Woman got a superhero wardrobe to call her very own. I'm that much closer to a life of fighting crime and looking hot...or whatever it is that Wonder Woman does when she's not trying to keep her boobs from falling out of her teeny tiny top.

Fleet Feet was selling off their rental wetsuits so I decided to bite the bullet and get one. I'm guessing Wonder Woman's little bustier wasn't made of neoprene....but she didn't have to battle it out in the open water with 50-60 of her fellow age-groupers for 1.2 miles. I think the superheroes of the future will all wear neoprene.

I guess that means I have now spent the obligatory amount of disposable income to consider myself a real triathlete.

The hard-core triathlete will wear a wetsuit in any race that its legal. (there are water temperature restrictions to avoid athletes overheating during the swim) They say the buoyancy helps conserve your energy and makes you faster. Since speed is not the driving force in my race strategy, and the water was too warm in the Florida 70.3 to allow them, I didn't really felt like spending the money last year.

I did rent a wetsuit for the Spirit of Racine race, since I didn't really think hypothermia sounded like a lot of fun. The swim was in Lake Michigan and the water temps were predicted to be very chilly (62 degrees, or something chilly like that). But at $35 for each weekend rental it's not long before you start thinking you might as well just invest in one of your own.

So this year I decided to do it. I need one for the half IM anyway. And now I'll have one for those dreaded early-season open water swims. (Ugh...I hate lake swimming....but this is a topic for another time)
All part of "the making of Wonder Woman"! Bring on tri season!

Back In The Saddle....Litterally

Finally, back to the workouts. Rode for about an hour and ten minutes this morning with the new Team in Training group and it feels great to be back. Lots of fun chatting during the ride which made the time fly. Unfortunately, my knees are really sore post-ride...thinking I didn't get the seat set up quite right on the gym bike....but overall it felt great to sweat again.

Tomorrow the plan is to get in at least 45 minutes on the treadmill and 45 minutes in the pool. Although, the new suit isn't here yet....which is a bit of bummer...but I guess I can hang in there with the ill-fitting suit for one workout.