Countdown to Waterman's Aqua Bike - 7 weeks

Part of the reason why I haven't been blogging much is honestly because it is such a drag to add the pictures when I'm on my tablet.  And what a stupid reason not to write, right?  So from now on I'm just going to post.  Maybe I'll add in pictures later, maybe not.  Besides, all the pretty pictures are on Instagram

Last week was a recovery week.  As proof that I haven't been particularly consistent with my training, I actually logged almost as many hours last week as the "work week" prior.  Time to buckle down and do the work!  With that, last week in review:

Swim - 1:38:06, 3750 meters

Bike - 02:29:43, 31.34 miles

Run - 01:01:53, 3.38 miles

Thumbs Up For

  • Outdoor swims in the sunshine.  So fun.  I wish I wasn't so fair so I could do these more often.  But maybe having them be infrequent makes each one a little sweeter?
  • Getting out to the trails.  Despite the super slow paces and deep mud, there really are fewer things that make me smile the way a crazy hot and humid run at Riverbend does.
  • A solo recovery ride that actually felt easy.  15 miles, over 13 mph average (whaaaaa?) no fear, no medical issues.  Holy crap, this was truly an amazing morning!

Thumbs Down For

  • Comparing.  I still have to fight to keep from comparing myself to others, particularly when it comes to paces.  And that just tends to take the fun away.
  • Fish Face Time Trial 1.2 mile Swim.  I did HarborFest Swims the past two years, and they were some of my favorite events of the season.  This year some changes were made to the event, making it less of a race and more of a supported training day.  Yes, I supposed we could all use more open water training days.  But I really wanted to pit myself against others in a race situation.  Swimming is my favorite discipline, the one where I feel like I can actually get out there and give it my all.  To have this event be turned into something else was disappointing.

Looking Ahead

This Friday is training day at Lake Anna!  So excited for some swim bike fun with some of my favorite people.

Milestones - my "first" 30 mile ride

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a retrospective on my first 30 mile ride....only to realize after the fact that I actually rode 30 miles nonstop in August of 2016.  I even blogged about it.  Whoops!


Saturday’s 30-mile ride left me feeling conflicted.  It was a team ride, and my second time going to a Team Z ride this season.  We met in Harwood, Maryland, with people riding from between 17 and and 80 miles.

The good stuff:

30 clipped in miles! 

 Tipping over and getting bloody last summer, but it was okay because Stacey took awesome care of me.

Tipping over and getting bloody last summer, but it was okay because Stacey took awesome care of me.

I’ve never ridden a nonstop 30 miles while clipped in before.  The closest I’ve gotten was last summer when I rode with Stacey’s group ride, then she and I went out on the W&OD for a few more miles.  That was also the time I forgot to clip out, fell over, stood up, and almost passed out.  Interestingly, that incident was the start of my adventure with doctors, finally landing on the POTS diagnosis.  This ride on Saturday was much hillier than I was expecting.  I’ve never been a strong climber, and the decline in my strength and increase in my weight this past year has only made them harder.

 

I nailed my sodium

POTS means I have to take in a large amount of sodium so that my blood volume is high enough for me to remain conscious.  I tested out some Skratch Hyper Hydration before loading up the car.  It has 1700mg of sodium in a single serving, and it’s basically like drinking palatable saline.  I took on another 500mg of sodium during my 2.5 hour ride, and arrived back without any dizzy spells, and I wasn’t crusted over with salt like I usually am.

I hydrated on the go

This one is huge!  I’m anxious on the bike, often getting numb hands and neck pain because I have such a death grip on the handlebars.  Coach Ed suggested I switch over to a hydration pack rather than trying to reach for bottles.  Even grabbing for the straw made me nervous sometimes, but I managed it, and even got more confident as the ride went on.  I’ll definitely be wearing my pack at Rev3 Williamsburg next month.  Such a game changer until my balance improves.

The rough stuff:

I am agonizingly slow

I kept falling so far behind my group that I couldn’t see anyone, and my planned Z2 ride wound up being more of an extended Z4 effort.  It was kind of heartbreaking.  I’d finally catch up to my group at a stop sign, and I’d only have a moment to catch my breath before they were ready to set off again.  I’m sure if I’d spoken up, they would have been more than willing to wait longer to let me rest, but I was too embarrassed.  How ridiculous is that.  My Z4 was 12 mph, by the way.  I know speed shouldn’t matter, and this should all be for fun, and now this is a place to grow from…. but man.  It really hurts to have a hilly race pace of 12 mph.  I didn’t realize that was possible.

30 miles was too much

I had originally planned to do 25 miles, but no one else on the team seemed to be doing that distance, and I didn’t want to be alone.  Instead I did the 30 and wound up being mostly alone anyway.  Cue the pity party.  To be clear, I was never dropped.  The girls always waited and were nothing but encouraging when I did catch up.  I just went to a negative headspace couldn’t get myself out of it.

Not enough calories

While I think I took in plenty of nutrition during the ride itself and recovered properly, I didn’t eat breakfast.  That hasn’t been a problem in the past, but I guess 30 miles at that effort burns a lot more than 15 miles at an easy pace, huh?  The aftermath of getting behind on calories and the effort caught up with me the next day.  I slept almost the entire day, missing my planned long run.  As J pointed out, instead of a long workout, I basically did an unplanned and under fueled bike race. 

Handling mishaps

I got sloppy during the back half of the ride.  This was evidenced by increasingly rough stops, culminating in a clip-out-left-lean-right-catch-self-with-a-stem-to-the-abdomen.  Ouch.  I also had some trouble getting up to speed after stops in the last five 10 miles, resulting in one instance where I zig zagged across the road and got rather close to an oncoming car.  Whoops.  Fortunately, I returned to the ride start with a bit of wounded pride, but nothing worse.

 

So, there we go.  Am I happy?  Yes.  I got out there, got it done, and next time will be better.  Onward!

 All smiles, because what else is there to do on a day you get to play outside?

All smiles, because what else is there to do on a day you get to play outside?

Here we go again...

Here we go again…in so many ways.  I’m blogging again; I'm building back my fitness again.  I am literally going to write as I try and tri again.  Who knew when I picked out that name how perfect it really was? 

I’ve had a lot of “health stuff” going on this winter and spring.  Not gonna lie, watching my run times go from 11 min/miles all the way up to 17 min/miles has been tough.  Same goes for my swim and bike times.  I spent so much time this winter searching for bloggers or instagrammers that were also struggling with anemia, POTS and fainting, and I didn't find any that I was interested in following.  It made me realize that not only would it be therapeutic for me to write during this time, but maybe one day it could be helpful for someone else going through the same thing.

 This has nothing to do with anything else in the post.  Pretty though!

This has nothing to do with anything else in the post.  Pretty though!

More to come, but for now, here's some lovely pink bubbly from when I saw Giselle at Wolf Trap a few weeks ago.

week in review: Veteran's Day 5k Week 1

It has been an awfully long time since I have done a weekly recap, but since this week marks the start of a new training cycle, it seems a good time to start again.  My next target race is coming up in just 7 weeks - the Veterans Day 5k!  I set a PR of 29:03 at the 5k distance back in 2007, and my best time this year is 29:53.  I plan to beat that this time around.  I’ll be doing a separate post going over the plans I’ll be following as I chase this goal.  For now, back to basics, and looking at the week in review.

My totals:

Swim - nada.  The pool has been closed for a month for renovation, but it opens TODAY!!

Bike - 46:24, 7.61 miles

Run - 2:00:23, 9.23 miles

 Highlight of the week had nothing to do with running.  Donuts fresh from the food truck at the farmer's market!

Highlight of the week had nothing to do with running.  Donuts fresh from the food truck at the farmer's market!

 

Monday

  • Run - 12:04, 0.87 miles

This was one of my 3 short recovery runs, but wow, this felt ridiculously short. I have no idea why this was so slow. I didn't even walk! Must be the trees, interfering with the GPS signal. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Trust the plan, and take it easy, right?

  • Functional Strength - 10 minutes
    • Lunge matrix warm-up
    • Myrtle cool-down

Tuesday

  • Run - 24:03, 1.78 miles

Medium run today, out and back down 7. It's been a long time since I actually ran the entire thing. With summer HR running, I was walking up most of the hills. Now that it is finally a bit cooler, I seem to be able to get up the hills and stay in Z2! On the other hand, I seem to be spending more time in Z1 than usual. I'm going to go with it for now, seeing as I've never run 6 days a week before, and I don't want to mess with intensity and frequency at the same time.

  • Functional Strength - 13 minutes
    • Lunge matrix warm-up
    • Core (Pedestal 1)
    • Myrtle cool-down

Wednesday

  • Run - 12:09, 0.97 miles

Why is it that no matter how short the run, sometimes you still wind up checking the watch a million times? Nice easy recovery run. Lots of little acorns on the ground!

  • Functional Strength - 10 minutes
    • Lunge matrix warm-up
    • Myrtle cool-down

Thursday

  • Run - 24:02, 1.86 miles

I couldn’t be bothered digging through the closets looking for my reflective armband, but it was still dark when I headed out.  I decided to wrap my headlamp around my arm.  It was slightly rough going, but more for my head than my legs.  I absolutely did not want to get out of bed, but I got it done.  Yes!

  • Functional Strength - 17 minutes
    • Lunge matrix warm-up
    • Core (Pedestal 1 x2)
    • Myrtle cool-down

Friday

  • Run - 12:03, 0.93 miles

Nice and easy does it. I wore the sunglasses I got as swag from Reston. They're so lightweight it's like they aren't even there! So far I like them.

  • Functional Strength - 10 minutes
    • Lunge matrix warm-up
    • Myrtle cool-down

Saturday

  • City Bike Ride - 46:24, 7.61 miles

Now that tri season is over, Peggy the Dutchi gets to come out to play!  Man, I forgot how heavy she is, though.  Getting up those hills is hard work.  It was a gorgeous early fall day, and not too hard.  I rode to the farmer’s market and picked up some apple cider and mini doughnuts.  A perfect start to the weekend.

Sunday

  • Run - 36:02, 2.82 miles

When I headed out it wasn't even 60 degrees. The sun was shining, I was sweating buckets in the best way, and it was generally a fun day out. It is so odd to have my "long" run be 36 minutes. On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time I felt excited to get out and be active both on both weekend days.  This plan is clearly agreeing with me. Nothing hurts! No fatigue!

  • Functional Strength - 10 minutes
    • Lunge matrix warm-up
    • Myrtle cool-down

 

This week was great.  It’s odd to have my runs be so short, but it was fun getting out there and running 6 times in a week.  I am trying to ignore the fact that I seem to be slower than ever before.  Patience.  Consistency.  And at long last, the pool is open, so swimming is back on the table.  Next week is going to be fantastic!

Thumbs Up/Thumb Down for Oly Training

This training block for my first Olympic race has been a complete blur.  It if weren’t for automatic upload on my Garmin, I’d probably have zero record of what I did.  As it is, I don’t have anything like what I usually have to look back on.  No in-depth analysis of each step, each stroke, and each mile.  Yet time marches on, and race weekend has arrived (omg!)  I want to take a few minutes to look back at how my training went over the last couple months, just to put it in perspective and see where my head is at.  Also, I want to give this analysis a day to sink in before I make my race goals.

 Pretty clouds at the end of an afternoon run

Pretty clouds at the end of an afternoon run

SWIM:

The pool has been my happy place for a year now.  I love swimming!

Thumbs Up:

  • 2700 yard swims
  • OWS practice in Lake Anna and 1.2 miles in the Potomac at Harbor Fest
  • 400 yard repeats and flip turns are no big deal
  • Meeting Megan and Liz

Thumbs Down:

  • My pool has been closed since late August for maintenance
  • Too many missed swims for no good reason
  • Goggles, man

BIKE:

I had a whole separate post about bike things, so I’ll keep this extra short and sweet.

Thumbs Up:

  • Long ride = 30 miles!

Thumbs Down:

  • Still lacking confidence

RUN:

This season, running has taken a backseat to swim/biking.  After all, I have to do those things before I ever get to run on race day.  Even still, I’ve managed to make some impressive gains.

Thumbs Up:

  • Running 30 minutes is “short” now
  • Meeting Stacey, running 6+ miles together, and eating watermelon in the parking lot

Thumbs Down:

  • Tip of toe blisters, the week of the race.  Really?

GEAR:

Half the fun of triathlon is all the gear.  The clothes, the toys, the gadgets…I love it all.

Thumbs Up:

  • Vivobarefoot Stealth II.  Although, these aren’t available anymore, so maybe this should be a thumbs down?
  • Coeur Sports kits.  The shorts, especially, were a game changer for me in regards to bike comfort
  • The cheap & cheerful Garmin Vivoactive

Thumbs Down:

  • My bike.  Sorry, friend, but you just don’t fit
  • Quest bike shorts.  Seams don’t belong anywhere near my lady bits.  These are banished.
  • Pocket-less run shorts.  Why do these even exist?
  • Goggles, man

FUEL:

Nutrition hasn’t been a big deal for me, since Olympic distance racing = short course racing.  Even still, I’m a slow athlete, and my race day is going to take almost 4 hours.  That means snacks!  Like Vivaldi (missing her so much lately…. gone 5 months this week) I’m hugely treat motivated.

 Can't say enough good things about The Feed.  Such a great way to try new fuel options

Can't say enough good things about The Feed.  Such a great way to try new fuel options

Thumbs Up:

  • Skratch Labs Fruit Drops because they don’t stick together in the package or in my teeth.  I’m also a fan of the Exercise Hydration Mix in Lemons + Limes and Pineapples
  • Vfuel Endurance Gel has a nice thin texture and good flavor.  They just came out with Salted Caramel Apple, which sounds tasty.  I like Peach Cobbler
  • Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars are like extra plump and fruity Fig Newtons.  Raspberry is my favorite
  • Nuun Active and Plus.  A bottle of triberry on the pool deck is like a security blanket for me, and I like that Plus is flavorless, so I can add it to whatever I’m craving on the day

Thumbs Down:

  • Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix in Matcha Green Tea.   Not my cup of tea. (See what I did there?)

MENTAL GAME:

I’ve not had my head in the game lately.  Depression is a beast, no two ways about it.  I don’t want to talk about it too much, simply because at this precise moment I feel like I’m finally crawling out of the dark, and if I even glance back I may slide down there again.  So instead of head shrinking, I’m bullet pointing.

Thumbs Up:

  • Forgiveness.  I forgave myself for any missed workouts and moved onward.  No dwelling!

Thumbs Down:

  • Lying to myself.  I want to work on being more honest when I’m feeling fragile.  I can’t adjust course if I don’t admit that I’m going the wrong way. 
 Sometimes one day at a time pays off big time.  I remember this day so clearly.

Sometimes one day at a time pays off big time.  I remember this day so clearly.

So there we have it.  The road to my first Olympic distance triathlon.  I’ve done spring/early summer sprints before, saying that I was going to end the season with an Oly.  I tried and failed twice to even get to the registration point.  Now, here I am, ready to toe the line in TWO DAYS.  It was a tough summer.  I had some struggles, to be sure.  But I made it.  I’m ready.  And I’m excited.  Next up: race expectations!