Monday, August 1, 2016

Training while traveling, July 2016 edition

I can't reiterate enough how wonderful the past couple of months have been. Between the two weeks I just spent seeing family and friends in Albany/Capital Region, my college roommate's wedding that brought me to Long Island and NYC, and my childhood best friend's wedding that brought all my home friends together... I have basically gotten to see everyone important to me in my life in such a short period of time.

And in the months before that I had Ari's visit, my San Francisco visit, and vacation in Mexico with Jess and Dani... well it's just been an incredible few months and I feel every day how fortunate I am to have had these opportunities to see everyone. Living further away, I don't get to see everyone all that often so it is extremely important for me to make that time quality. Weddings and family vacations have been such great instigators to get people together and it's been amazing to be able to capitalize off of that.

One of the things I struggled with a little bit during my most recent trip home was juggling exercise and training with time with my family. As silly as it seems, but it was hard for me to even break myself away from my niece and nephew for two hours to get a bike ride in. Or I felt torn deciding if I should run in the evening or spend the night on the couch with my mom just chatting.

Managing through the past couple of weeks of travel and getting into my bigger weeks of training has been a challenge but I am super proud of myself for getting through it. I am now back in Atlanta for the home stretch of training and eating healthy... in preparation for both the next Half Ironman and for my 30th birthday, which stands as a milestone in my mind.

I want to recap my training schedule while I just did my trip up north to share a bit of how I fit it in and what some of the workouts I have been doing have entailed. I'm still working with the coach, which has been really nice, and have been following the workouts he gives me pretty closely. It's great to able to bounce ideas off of him, have him work with my schedule, and make adjustments where needed. Before leaving, I actually panicked quite a bit because I felt like my whole training was going to be thrown off.

I had neglected to replace my sneakers when they needed it, which was causing me pain in my knees, and I have to custom order my sneakers. They arrived defective. And my TomTom watch broke. And I started to panic that maybe my bike shoes wouldn't fit in the cleats on the bikes I was borrowing and I should try and learn how to take my pedals off to bring them with me... it was a little stressful, but everything worked out. Adjustments were made where needed.

Thursday, July 14
PLAN: Fly to Albany
ACTUAL: This was completed!

I was the happiest person on that flight to Albany.

Friday, July 15
PLAN: Swim workout 2B; Optional 3 mile run (easy effort)
ACTUAL: 4 mile run in 37:59 @ 9:22 min/mile

I totally ditched the swim workout because it didn't work for me to be able to get to a pool. I love running from my friends house that I was staying with, so despite the humidity, I woke up for a 6:00 a.m. run before work. I rarely do the "optional" workouts that my coach sometimes suggests for me, so I did that and threw in an extra mile to help make up for the lack of swimming.

Saturday, July 16
PLAN: 30 minute ride (easy effort)
ACTUAL: 30 minute strength training + 30 minute easy swim + 2.5 minutes riding

I stayed at a different friends house on Friday night, so I made sure to get myself to bed at a reasonable hour despite being out and up hanging out. I snuck out of the house early to head to the Guilderland YMCA, which I had read online had a pool with open laps in.

When I arrived, I was feeling motivated in a different way and decided to take advantage of their weights and gym space for 30 minutes then hopped into the pool for an easy 30 minutes of swimming laps to make up for the day before.

I knew that making the 30 minute ride would be really difficult to happen with my schedule for the day, but I also know the main goal of it was to keep me loose and moving before my sprint race on Sunday. That's why I figured moving the swim would be fine. I did get in 2.5 minutes of riding on a bike when I tested out my friend Jeremy's bike that he let me borrow by riding up and down the street!

Sunday, July 17
PLAN: Sprint Triathlon
ACTUAL: Sprint Triathlon (1st place in my AG!!!)

You know the story. But I don't mind reposting it. I was 1st in the 20-29 age group at the Pine Bush Sprint Triathlon. I slept at a DIFFERENT friend's house on Saturday night (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights all in different places...) and again, snuck out super early in the morning for the race. Luckily, they lived about 5 minutes from the start of the race!

325 yards swimming in 5:06 (1:43/100m)
11.5 miles biking in 40:49 (16.9 mph)
3.25 miles running in 27:35 (8:29 min/mile)

Monday, July 18
PLAN: Optional 3 mile run, easy effort
ACTUAL: 3.11 mile run in 28.40 @ 9:14 min/mile

I rarely do the optional workouts, but I felt bad for missing out on some of the workouts the week before and wasn't quite sure if I would be able to get everything in later in the week, so I went for it and had a great run in my dad's neighborhood in the morning before working from home on my dad's front porch.

Tuesday, July 19
PLAN: 40 mile bike ride (easy to moderate effort) + 2 mile brick run
ACTUAL: 40.16 mile bike ride in 2:41:26 @ 14.92 mph + 2.03 mile run in 17:36 @ 8:42 min/mile

This was a huge one to try and fit in for me. I wasn't sure how to make it happen, but once I drove out to the bike trail my mom had looked up for me, I felt committed. The trail was about 13 miles so I went out and back and then had to get creative and took some side roads when the trail crossed the main street. I actually really hated riding on the trail because the road was so bumpy and filled with cracks.

That's New England roads for you, I guess. They get ice under them in the winter and freeze and expand and buckle upwards, leaving nice bumps for riders. I found it really distracting and uncomfortable, especially when riding a borrowed bike. However, I was happy that I was able to fit my mom's bike into the back of my rental car with the front wheel off. Getting this ride in was a feat in logistics on its own, so once I was moving, I did my best to get the full 40 in! I was so ready to stop when it was over. The rides on the actual road weren't bad and much more enjoyable with the rolling hills. I vowed to ride on the roads for my ride later in the week.

The run felt good afterwards, it was short and I was able to finish it pretty quick and get home to hang out with my mom!

Wednesday, July 20
PLAN: Swim workout 1B or 1.5 mile OWS; 4 mile run (easy to moderate effort)
ACTUAL: Swim workout 1B (3100 m); 4.06 mile run in 39:08 @ 9:38 min/mile

Wednesday morning started pretty early for me as well. I had a hard time motivating myself to get up and swim, since I am used to having a fully coached workout to attend.  This time I knew I had to get it done since I had slacked on my swimming the week before. I had Googled where I could go swim and went to another local YMCA in my mom's town of Merrimack. When I first arrived, the woman at the front desk did not want to let me in. She said that they only allow single day guests when they are accompanied by a paying member. Since I was just showing up by myself wanting to attend as a guest, that was not technically allowed.

I asked if there was a manager in that I could speak to, explaining the situation and that I was in town visiting my mom. She said no but would give me someone to contact... I was feeling a little defeated as the woman wrote down the contact information explaining to me, "I'm really sorry, but we just don't allow guests not with a member. The only way that we let people attend without members is if they are potentially going to get a membership and are doing a trial."

My face lit up at that and I said, "Oh... okay... well then... I would potentially like to get a membership.  Can I please have a trial?"

Lady at YMCA: "But I know you don't live here and you're not."

Me: "Well... I mean... you don't actually know that. My mom lives here. Maybe she is potentially getting a membership. She lives here, so I will be coming back here often. Maybe it is worth it to me to just get a membership so that I can come when I am in town?"

Lady at YMCA: ::: Stares at me ::::::

Me: :::: Stares back ::::::

Lady at YMCA: "Ugh. Fine."

And she proceeded to write me out a pass not just for that day, but for a one week free trial! Victory!

After that I knew I needed to do my full workout. I got in the pool a bit later than anticipated, but I followed the workout from my coach's website exactly finishing it all and feeling really good about the paces I was swimming. Especially at the end when I did an all out 100 at a really fast pace for me of about 1:22.

In the evening, I let my mom take over duties of helping my sister with the twins for dinner and head out for a quick 4 mile run, through my sisters neighborhood that I have fun many many times before!

Thursday, July 21
PLAN: 30 mile ride (easy to moderate effort)
ACTUAL: 27.61 mile ride in 1:53:03 @ 14.65 mph

Instead of going back to the bike trail where I had ridden on Tuesday, I decided to just ride the roads near my mom and my sisters house. They live about 6 miles from each other on a straight shot road. I had been driving back and forth on that road all week so I knew it well and thought it would be a good place to bike. Since I have run a lot from my sisters, including times that I have done a 12 mile run, I know the roads and routes by her house and there is a lot of farms and remote roads that I thought would bring some challenging hills.  I decided to ride to my sisters and then along the roads past her house, knowing I could always stop by her in case of an emergency or water or bathroom break.

The ride went really well but as I was on one of the back roads from my sister's house, I came upon a mountainous hill. It doesn't even look this big in the pictures, but there were portions of it with a 14-19% grade, which is very steep. I was unsure if I should bike down it, knowing I would have to climb it, but I went for it. I was inspired thinking about a blog I had just read by Swim, Bike, Mom about hill repeats and actually didn't go up it just once but twice.

I was exhausted biking home and didn't stick it out to get the last 2.5 miles in on the bike. In my mind, they wouldn't have been quality miles as I would have been riding lazy and it is pretty busy with cars by my mom, so I just called it a day.  Plus, my mom had my favorite meal waiting for me inside and I am not gonna lie and say that baked fall off the bone slow cooked chicken wings and roasted vegetables weren't on my mind...

Friday, July 22
PLAN: 1 hour run (10:00 easy warmup, 4 x 10:00 tempo/2:00 easy)
ACTUAL: 6.46 mile run in 58:05 @ average 8:59 min/mile

Man, oh man, was it hard to motivate myself to get this one done. I hate, hate, hate the tempo runs that are on my schedule every week. They are my most dreaded workout to do and the hardest to get myself to finish mentally. I was doing this in the early, early morning at my mom's new house and I had never run from her house before. I was unsure of where the sidewalks were, what the lighting was like at that time, if there were hills, etc. These all sound like perfect reasons to not run, right??

I was telling myself that I could maybe swap with Saturday and do an easy 3 mile run and do the tempo run on Saturday when I was at the lake?  However, I knew that deep down I just wanted any excuse to not do it and instead, got myself out of bed and running before the clocks even hit 6:00 a.m. I was on the pavement. I felt like my tempo intervals were at a turtle's pace, but I actually clocked pretty decent times!

Warm up: 9:46 min/mile
Interval 1: 8:24 min/mile
Interval 2: 9:01 min/mile (with elevation gain)
Interval 3: 8:50 min/mile
Interval 4: 8:45 min/mile

It was hilly and challenging and when I was looking at my times afterwards I realized that my rest periods weren't even that much slower! After the 3rd interval my recovery was at a 9:05 pace and after the 4th it was 9:14... I definitely didn't back off enough on those!

As always, it felt awesome to get it done. Inaugural run in my mom's new neighborhood!

Saturday, July 23
PLAN: Optional 3 mile run (easy effort)
ACTUAL: Nothing!

I usually don't do the "optional" things.  I usually have intent to, but I don't. This was one of those days. I slept in for the first time in a while after a late night, then peeled myself out of bed with the only motivation to be to get up to the lake as soon as possible.  Beers broke out in the early afternoon and all intent of a run was gone.

Sunday, July 24
PLAN: 1 mile OWS; 30 mile ride (easy to moderate effort)
ACTUAL: 46 minute OWS; 30.05 mile bike in 2:00:57 @ 14.91 mph

I got up right out of bed to get the swim done. Unfortunately, it was really choppy on the water, which usually would deter me from swimming. I have been doing Open Water Swims (OWS) in this lake since I have been in elementary school and summer vacations would interrupt my swim season at the summer league. I used to go back and forth from the dock to the beach, but now that I am older I like to swim straight out. Sometimes I get nervous about boats, so I had my mom accompany me on a kayak to stay right with me.

The swim went well, and the extra chop in the water was good practice for when I do my first ocean swim in Australia, which will most certainly have some movement to the water.  I practiced sighting and swam out for 23ish minutes before turning back, for a total of 46 minutes continuous swimming (I have no idea the distance.)

Later in the day, I went out for a bike ride that was super hilly. I rode on the route around the lake and up through another lake. It was a bit of a major road so not a lot of shoulder, and the hills were a challenge. I found one that was so steep it was I am sure impossible to get up. I turned around at that. However, I did have about 2800 feet in climbing in my 30 mile ride including 200 ft in the last .75 mile.

Monday, July 25
PLAN: 14 mile run (easy to moderate effort)
ACTUAL: 14.06 mile run in 2:13:24 @ 9:30 min/mile

Oh man, I wasn't sure how this was going to go either.  I took Monday and Tuesday of last week as vacation days, I did have more time and was able to start my run at about 8:00 a.m. I started it without a clear intention of whether or not I would finish all 14 miles. I hadn't run more than a half marathon since last October during the Chicago Marathon. And I hadn't run a half marathon outside of Chattanooga 70.3 since March. I took it easy and my mom rode her bike alongside of me, which really helped to keep me company.

For a number of miles we rode around side streets and through a cemetery with my mom beside me chatting, it helped the miles fly by. We also found some roads with beautiful views of the lake, and my mom on her bike served as my portal nutrition carrier, which a bottle of water, salt tabs, and some crackers on the bike. I hadn't planned ahead well enough and didn't expect such a long run on my schedule so I was not prepared!

The last 2 miles I finished on my own and was so happy to be done. I actually said to my mom that I was disappointed because I remember that last summer while at the lake I did a 12 mile run in a 9:30 pace and I thought I was going much slower.  When I finished and saw my run was exactly 9:30 min/miles, I was so happy!!!  My half marathon time was about 2:04:30, which is great for me and made me feel really good.

Tuesday, July 26
PLAN: 1 mile OWS
ACTUAL: 31 minute OWS

I have no idea how far I actually went and I don't really have an excuse for why it was 15 minutes shorter than my swim other day. I don't actually know how long it takes me to swim a mile, but in Chattanooga I swam 1.2 miles in 30 minutes? It was a downriver swim, so that helped, so I figure that maybe 30 minutes is about a mile. Or probably a little under.

It was also WAY choppier than the other day, when I initially thought it was choppy! I was swallowing water and getting hit in the face with waves while I was swimming out. Additionally, I wasn't as diligent about swimming in the early morning, so I went out to swim right after lunch. Like literally immediately after eating. With my cousin's fiance escorting me on the kayak, which also couldn't have been much fun with all the chop in the water... I just wanted to get out of there and get it done.

Wednesday, July 27
PLAN: Fly back to Albany; Easy 4-mile run (easy to moderate effort)
ACTUAL: Nothing.

Zero run happened. My flight was at 5:40 a.m. and I was about an hour from the airport so I was up at 3:30 a.m. When I flew back I had to work a full day and then had an event with one of my vendors in the evening. I was EXHAUSTED.

As you can see, I made it through some pretty packed agendas!  I adjusted where I needed and skipped a couple, but I also got in a number of big workouts and felt really good about my training while I was traveling. Since I got back, I have jumped back into a routine of Mondays and Fridays swimming in the mornings, Tuesday and Wednesday running in the mornings, Tuesday and Thursday biking in the evenings, strength training where I can, and bigger workouts on the weekends.

This past weekend was a big weekend of training for me and I was really happy with how it went. I had a 45 mile bike ride scheduled on Saturday morning, with the last 20 miles at "race pace" followed by a 5 mile brick run. And then on Sunday, I had another 30 mile bike ride scheduled.

I was excited to take on the challenge but it definitely scared me.

First off, I didn't know what my "race pace" is because I've really only done one race at this distance, so I wanted to just go hard for the last 20 miles. Second, 5 miles is a lot of miles for me to run after a bike. Third, I don't usually bike two days in a row.

For those that aren't familiar with the terminology, a "brick" session is really just a workout where you do two of the sports back-to-back. So a swim then a bike. Or, most commonly, a bike followed immediately by a run. Sometimes on my schedule, I will have two sports to do in the same day... a swim in the morning and a bike in the evening... or something along those lines. However, those aren't a "brick" when they aren't done back to back. My schedule for Saturday had me biking 45 miles, some of which, hard, followed immediately by a 5 mile run.

I broke the bike into two portions, I did 15 miles on my own at 7:00 a.m. with an average speed of 15.86 mph.  I then met up with the Atlanta Triathlon Club for 30 miles, which I did at an average pace of 17.2 mph!! I went off with the 15-17 mph group and I think because I was warmed up already, felt really good going into it. Halfway through, we met up with the 17-19 mph group at a rest stop and all took off at the same time. I decided to challenge myself, since I was already going hard, to see how much I could keep up with them. It wasn't for too long, but I ended the bike ride with the last 13 miles being at 17.8 mph! Which is crazy fast for me!

My run was a challenge, because it was hot at 85 degrees and 80% humidity at this point, but I finished the 5 miles with an average pace of 9:30!

On Sunday, I biked with my friend Kristin, who is also going to Australia (and is responsible for peer pressuring me into going!) and it was an easy ride with my main goal to get the miles in and get comfortable on the new aero bars I had attached to my bike! On Saturday after the ride, I stopped by my favorite cycling store and had aero bars attached to my road bike. This allows me to ride in a more aerodynamic (i.e. faster) position. They feel a bit awkward and throw off my balance so it is definitely going to take some practice, but I am looking forward to it!

It was a successful weekend and I am feeling really great about training and fitness right now. We're now in August and the countdown is officially on until my 30th birthday, trip to Australia, and my second Half Ironman!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Yesssssssssssss - love that you bested that cranky YMCA lady! #bam #lawyered #dontmesswithmewheniwanttoworkout