Wednesday, March 1, 2017

End of February training recap

We are officially into March, guys! I can't believe how fast the first two months of the year went by. I know people say that all the time but it feels like time is speeding towards my first race of the year, Chattanooga Half Ironman. I have two more full months of training before we enter into May and race month. It's exciting and a bit daunting because I feel like I have more work to do. March will fly by I am sure and then it will just me one more month until the race! In addition to wondering if I have enough time to improve before Chattanooga, I am also already now starting to think, "What other triathlons should I put on my calendar?" I want to try and stay focused on this race and this goal and keeping my mind in the game.

Tuesday, February 21 - Morning 45 minute run (4.5 miles at 10:03 min/mile)

I started my Tuesday with a solo run from my apartment on the Beltline. The weather was nice and made me excited for the coming spring. I also am anxious for brighter mornings so I don't have to run with a flashlight in my hand! I felt particularly frustrated at the end of this run because I felt like I was running at a faster pace than 10:00 minute miles, but that was in fact what I ended up with.

Wednesday, February 22 - Morning 3400 swim + 1 hour trainer ride

Wednesdays tend to be my longer workouts of the week with a morning and an evening workout. I started the day at the pool and I had a great morning in the water. Swimming felt smooth and easy and my mind zoned out and just got the workout done. I felt like I could have swum forever and wanted to get even more laps in but had to get out to get to work for an in-person meeting that started at 8:00 a.m.

In the evening, I spent an hour on the bike trainer doing an interval workout from my coach that had me drenched in sweat. Not that I am ever not sweaty on the trainer, but this day I felt like I pushed myself particularly hard and my HR was high and it was a sweaty ride! While my hip has been recovering, my coach had stopped giving me single leg drills on the bike but today they returned and were just as frustratingly tough as they have been all along!

Just because I haven't written about Syracuse on the blog much - I must say that after the workout, I went out to watch the amazing Syracuse win against Duke. It was SO GOOD and totally loved every moment of it.

Thurs., February 23 - AM 50 minutes strength + PM 1 hr bike ride outdoors (16.55 mph)

Thursday ended up being a day of doubles as well, and tiring in a different way. Since I have been trying to focus more on strength training, I have been pulling in help from all over to build up some good workouts that I can do. I spent Thursday morning working through a series of exercises that had been put together for me by one of the trainers at my gym who I used to do a small group training with. The workout included lunges, squats, leg press, chest press, bicep curls, rows, and planks. I proudly, proudly wore my Syracuse gear to the gym in the morning!!

In the evening, I moved my bike ride outdoors for my first outdoor weeknight ride of the year. We had some unseasonably warm weather with a 75 degree day, so I met with my friend Kristin at the Silver Comet Trail to do an hour long ride. We chatted throughout the bike ride and it was a great way to enjoy a nice evening. We ended up doing 17.36 miles in 1:02:55 for an average pace of 16.55 mph. One random thing that happened while on the ride was that a couple of older men at one point rode up really close behind us to draft off of us for a bit. This is common for cyclists, but for triathletes who are not allowed to draft, it is not a normal thing to practice and therefore something I am not used to. It made me so uncomfortable to have them riding so close behind me and as we came up to some walkers we all needed to go around, the men dinged their little bell, which caught me off guard and I almost rode off the road, not sure where to go.

I slowed down a bit to let the men get ahead of us because I was feeling really skirmish afterwards and didn't want to be riding closeby to anyone. I was happy to have gotten in time with my friend and a good workout in one evening. The pace I was happy about as well because it made me feel like maybe last Sunday's ride wasn't a complete fluke!

Friday, February 24 - 3200 M swim

I was the only person in the pool this morning and the actual workout plan ended at 2500 M. I decided to keep it going and did an extra set of the workout and an extra 200 cool down. Unlike Wednesday, I didn't feel like I could swim forever. After two days of doubles I was tired. I forced myself to do the extra work and get a little more in because I figured, why not?

Saturday, February 25 - 2:30 hour bike ride (42.06 miles at 16.69 mph)

I went out to Cartersville with the ITL group this morning again and was a little nervous because the weather was chillier than it has been lately and because I wanted to see if I could maintain the same speeds I had been riding. The first hour I felt good and my pace averaged 17.3 mph!!

But from there on the morning got tougher and I felt really tired and hard to pedal.

Apparently the wind picked up and that's what made it a lot harder, but man I struggled through the second half and was just so happy to be done! At the very end of the bike ride, there is an out-and-back portion that we do and it was so windy! I am never really sure if it wind or not that I am feeling, which may sound stupid. I usually just assume I am a weak rider, but there were cross winds that even the strongest people and coaches were complaining about. And at one point at the end I was riding downhill and felt like I was riding uphill the wind was blowing so hard. I was very happy to be done and very happy to see a pace in the high 16s!! Even with the wind!! At some points I felt like I was going so slow, so I was still really happy with that number!  I swear, if I ever see an average pace in the 18s, I would freak out.

After the bike ride on Saturday, I went from there right to do a few errands. I first went to a local triathlon store to try on some of their kits so I could learn what size I should order. I have SUCH a hard time trying to decide what sizes to get for these things. I know that you are supposed to order them tight but I just can't handle them tighter past a certain point. This year I decided that I want to race in the team tri kit for the group I have been training with for the first two months of the year. Even though it's only been 2 months, I already feel very much a part of the organization. I tested out some sizes before placing my order.

Sunday, February 26 - 1:30 hour trail run at Kennesaw Mountain (8.5 miles at 10:38 min/mile)

This morning I joined one of the group runs with the group I am now coaching with, ITL. Every Sunday they do their long runs as trail runs at Kennesaw Mountain. I have avoided going so far because I have never done a trail run and that intimidated me, and also because their Sunday runs are at 7:30 a.m. and with the winter temperatures, I haven't seen the need to get myself out of bed that early on a Sunday for a run yet! However, today I made it happen and joined the group.

Man. Nobody told me how hard these trail runs were. It really wore me out! I only was supposed to do a 75 minute run but ended up going 90 minutes because I was pushing to get through a hill before turning around. I was on an uphill climb when I was halfway through my allotted time and figured "Let me just get to the top and then I will turn around." But man, that top never seemed to come! I eventually hit a sign that served as my turnaround point and then the entire way back was brutal.

My whole body felt tired and that it was taking every ounce of energy to go every step. The smile I have in the picture above is my pain face smile. I ended up walking up a few of the hills when my body was moving so slow it was basically crawling and walking anyways. It was a tough run but I can see how doing it over and over will make you stronger. For me, at the end of this workout, all I wanted was to lay on my couch the rest of the day! The weather had dropped back down after the few warm days we had and I was cold, in need of food, and dead tired. Was proud of myself for getting over the fear and making my way out to the trail!

I celebrated with food with some of my training partners.

Monday, February 27 - 30 minute core power class + 40 minutes strength

I went to the gym after work and started by joining the 30 minute core power class that one of the trainers offers. I have been a couple times before and it is almost like a joke for me to go because I can barely accomplish anything that they do in the class. However, my 2017 goals are to do more of the things I don't like - which include this type of core work. And I am not going to get better at it if I don't keep working at it, right?  I spent way too many years of my life just saying "Oh I can't run."

So I did the 30 minutes of core class then went into the workout my coach had given me that included some burpees, lunges, planks, and a number of exercises to strengthen the muscles around my hip. He increased the number of lunges that he gave me to me from when he'd been giving me this type of work the past couple of weeks and I was cursing him while I was doing the workout!!  By the time I finished the lunges my legs were shaking.

As hard as this type of stuff is for me to force myself to do, I really do love it and I am happy that I am working this into my routine for training. I think it is going to make a lot of difference for me if I can continue it throughout all of my training. Moving forward, I may want to write a blog about all the "extra" stuff I've been doing and trying to focus on more lately.

The other most exciting part of my workout is that I had a new cute workout top. I have been wanting a top like this for forever, but never found one that I felt looked cute or had the right support. I picked this up from Target clearance a couple weeks ago and was excited to test it out and see if in addition to being cute, it was supportive and able to do its job during a workout. I fully loved everything about this top and it is my new favorite for non-running workouts!

I felt really strong and cute at the gym on Monday and felt so good about that. I posted a picture to Instagram even though it was a bit outside my comfort zone to post a pic just because I felt like I looked cute (and strong) but wanted to practice a bit more self love lately.

Tuesday, February 28 - ITL Track Tuesday (yay!) for 5.12 miles @ 9:01 average pace

Tuesday morning I returned back to the ITL Tuesday morning track workouts for the first time since the day I had really hurt my hip and had to stop! It was really, really nice to be back! I had used the analogy that I felt like when I was running/working out that I was doing it on "egg shells" and just trying to be careful not to hurt something. The few runs I did I held back a lot.

This morning was the first time I tried to put a little more power behind my run and did some intervals of 1200s where I pushed a bit harder the first 400 then eased into tempo pace. I felt good about my paces at the end of the workout.  For the 4 1200s I did they were at 8:10, 8:14, 8:06, 8:04 paces. I know it isn't where I need to be, but it is decent for me.  AND I DIDN'T HAVE ANY PAIN!

It felt good to be able to put a little oomph behind my runs and I was excited to be back at track. I can't wait to do more of this and see how it improves my running.

And that is February for you!! I hope you had a great month. I am entering into March feeling healthy and strong and hoping to give it my best. Hope you have a great start to your month!

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