Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May Training Recap - The last stretch!

Well, here it is one. One of the final recaps of my workouts leading up to Chattanooga 70.3.  We're less than a week away from my goal race for the spring and the race that has been at the front of my mind in all of my workouts. Will do a sappy post about how I am feeling about the race later this week, but basically, the work is all here. Throughout the year all the swims, the bikes, the runs, the strength training, yoga, stretching, and rest days too - have all been logged!

This week the workouts are light and I'm not gaining any more fitness before Sunday. I've controlled what I can control and am now doing my best to just relax and not stress over what I can't control (the weather, ugh!) Let's recap the end of the workouts from May, which picked up right after the John Tanner Sprint Triathlon and Tough Mudder weekend.

Monday, May 1 - 3200 M swim + Yoga (post-Tough Mudder)

I know the day before I did a Tough Mudder and the day before that I placed 3rd in my age group at a sprint triathlon... but on THIS day, I felt like a badass. After that big weekend, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. like I have so many other Monday mornings and peeled myself out of bed to go swim. The main thing that got me there was knowing that my workouts on Monday mornings are usually longer, slower intensity stuff and I could just zone out and swim. Which is exactly what I did!

In the evening, I went to an amazing yoga class that was the perfect post Tough Mudder activity. Some of the poses were a bit difficult because my upper body was really sore from the race. But I loved the class and was happy I got it in.

Tuesday, May 2 - ITL Track Workout (5.1 miles)

Oh my gosh, I was so happy after this workout! I have been getting such a high after these track workouts where I see the paces that I am able to run when it is at shorter efforts. Today's workout was 3x1600 at tempo pace with 200 recovery in between. I never look at my pace while I am actually running, and then when I get to my car, I upload my data to my phone and I evaluate how I did. I was really, really happy today! My paces for the three miles were:

Mile 1: 7:36 pace
Mile 2: 7:27 pace
Mile 3: 7:22 pace

I was so surprised to see that I got faster each mile and actually realized that according to the times that I was given as "target" paces for tempo based on my mile test, I actually ran a bit faster. This workout made me really happy!

Wednesday, May 3 - 3000 M Swim + 17 Hill Repeats (!!!)

I started Wednesday with swim practice again, this week I wasn't as good at getting myself out of bed and I hit snooze a little too long which made me a little late. I finally got there and I definitely felt some tiredness in me but got in 3000 M in the pool. It wasn't the full workout which I hate when I have to cut something short, but it was my own fault for snoozing.

In the evening, I had hill repeats that I have been doing most Wednesday evenings. My coach had given me the instruction to "Go hard" at the repeats which I was excited and a little scared for. The most I had done at repeats was 12 times, so my plan was to try and get to 13. I was doing pretty well and definitely getting tired at around 11 or 12, but pushed to 13. As I finished up 13, I looked over to my coach and he didn't look like he was planning on having us wrap things up any time soon... so I went up for a 14th time. And then looked over.

Still nothing.

After the week before when I threw a fit and complained about only being allowed to do 8 hill repeats, there was no way I could complain this week about doing too many. So I kept going.

And going.

And going.

I ended up doing 17 hill repeats and I swear, I felt like I was going to fall over on my bike trying to get up the dang hill. I was so tired at the end and as soon as my coach called the time for the hill repeats, I was soooo glad to be done. My legs were SPENT.

Thursday, May 4 - 7 mile run at 9:21 minutes/mile average

After last night's 1000 million hill repeats, I couldn't force myself to get out of bed and run in the morning. It wasn't happening. Luckily I didn't have an evening workout, so I was able to sleep in and then do my 7 mile run for the day in the evening. It gave me the opportunity to join the running group in my neighborhood Pace This City. I did 3 miles on my own, 3 miles with the group, and then a 1 mile run back to my apartment. My mile splits were 9:07/9:00/9:29/8:53/9:28/9:47/9:37.

Friday, May 5 - 4200 Y swim at Emory

This Friday I decided to switch up my swim and I actually went to an ITL group swim at the Emory pool in Decatur. The pool where I normally swim is going to be having some construction done later this summer and this morning my swim coach was out of town, so I took the opportunity to try out a new swim.

It was different than what I usually do in a number of ways, first of all, I had to share a lane with others. Which is really not a problem since I have done that for most of my swimming career, but it pushed me in a different way this time. I felt a lot of pressure to swim fast after my performance at the sprint triathlon and was in the fastest lane. The workout was more non-stop than what I usually do at Windy Hill and I was wiped at the end of it but felt really accomplished. It was cool to try out a new pool and swim with different people, so it was a fun morning and will be a good option for when the pool is closed later this summer.

Saturday, May 6 - Chattanooga 3 State 3 Mountain 67 Mile Ride

Oh my gosh. What a day! I did a group bike ride that started and ended in Chattanooga that rode from Tennessee to Georgia and back and climbed one mountain in the process of a 67 mile ride. The mountain was about 10 miles in and had a 5 mile climb. It was my first ever doing a mountain like this and I was so proud afterwards! I kept waiting and waiting for the peak to come... it felt like it took forever because I was just grinding away in my lowest gear for a while.

It was definitely doable, but a challenge. Descending the mountain was thrilling with the downhill, but due to some freakishly cold weather in May, the downhill was FREEEEZING. I was nervous my legs weren't going to be able to pedal or my fingers would be too frozen and stiff to hit the breaks, but I finally made it to the bottom of the hill.

I struggled for the next few miles after that, feeling totally spent, but got a second wind at the end of the workout and was really happy with the last 20 miles of the route. My coach had told me to push hard at the end if I was feeling good (which he said, I would be) and I did. It warmed up and I had a really good day.

I also just enjoyed the company of the friends and group I rode with. I have found a little crew of friends who ride at my pace and really enjoy being out on the roads with them. We laughed a lot throughout the course of a tough 67 miles and there's not much more that I can ask for than that!

Sunday, May 7 - 10.5 mile trail run + 2 hour bike ride

This was a good day of workouts and I felt SO happy to be done with this. My "peak" weekend of training, two weeks out and I felt really good throughout. The trail run was one of my best trail runs yet, which I managed to get through without any pain and feeling strong. It was my longest trail run to date and one of my better felt ones and strongest paces. I ran at 10:46 min/mile, which is very good for me on the trails. I honestly just enjoyed it and had fun with the people I ran with, making it to the monument and back for the first time.

The only other time I attempted running to the monument was a day that my hip really bothered me and I ended up walking back in pain. I was very happy to have a better experience this time!

Following the trail run, I went over to the Silver Comet and did a 2 hour bike ride. It was tough to get myself to do 2 hours because I didn't have any company with me on this day, but I told myself - I haven't cut a workout short yet this training cycle, so I am not going to start today! I finished up practicing some left hand turns in the parking lot before calling it a wrap on the major weekend workouts of this training cycle!

Monday, May 8 - 3100 M Swim

I swam in the morning, struggling to get out of bed and debating if I should do the workout in the evening or not. I was happy I got up and the workout was an aerobic maintenance day with just lots of long sets. I zoned out a lot and started to begin to visualize myself on race day, trying to picture the transitions and how I would feel in the swim, etc.

Tuesday, May 9 - ITL Track Tuesday (5.31 miles total)

Track is becoming one of my favorite workouts every week.I love not knowing what to expect until I arrive there and challenging myself in this way. I push based on effort and I zone out for the most part trying to focus on what I am going to get done. Afterwards, I always have such a great feeling of accomplishment from completing these workouts and I am like an eager little kid to upload my data to my watch and check out my paces and HR rate and evaluate how I did.

This morning's workout scared the crap out of me when it was explained - a set of 3 x 2000 at tempo pace with only a 100 recovery in between each set. I'm sorry, what?

2000 is 5 laps around the track, which is a little bit of an odd distance. I usually tell myself "I can do anything for a mile" but this was longer than a mile - so no fair! I was scared, but set out to do the workout and put my best effort in. I felt a bit rushed and was not in the right mindset because I actually got a ticket for "running a stop sign" on my way to track - ugh! It was 5:20 in the morning and there was nobody around and a stop sign a couple blocks from my apartment that I drive through literally every morning and there are never cars on the road. On this day, there was a cop doing a stakeout of a place sitting with his lights off as if he was parked and I guess he got bored so he pulled me over (and by the way, NOBODY even came through the stop sign the whole time I sat there waiting for him to give me a ticket!)

ANYWAYS - back to the workout. My mind was a bit all over and after the first one I thought there was no way I could maintain that pace for the next two. However, I did them at 7:30/7:26/7:36 and I was really happy with that! Even with the recovery, I am pretty sure I ran a PR in the 5K this morning and had my usual high after track workout!

Wednesday, May 10 - 3100 M swim + 10 Hill Repeats

I had a great swim in the morning where we did lots of drill work which kept things interesting and fun. I really enjoyed it and felt good about how I did. But my evening workout of hill repeats could probably just be described as being tired. My coach had told me to do 8 hard and if I did any others, do them easy.

That made me a little unsure because what I wasn't confident about was that I had different approaches to getting up the hill. I didn't feel like I could go "hard" or "easy" in getting up the hill. For me it was more just "getting up" vs. "not getting up" - the whole thing is hard! I ended up doing 8 hard, really trying to push as much as I could at the bottom of the hill and I did start to feel a bit of a difference. However, I stopped at 10 hill repeats as I was wiped and it was a hot day. No complaining from me today!

Thursday, May 11 - 5 mile tempo run (8:06 min/mile average for 41:03... what?!)

Okay, so I was nervous about this workout all week. Aside from the track workouts, none of my running has included hard pushes and I haven't done any fast running outside of that controlled environment - all easy runs outside of Tuesdays. So to do a 5 mile tempo run on the roads with elevation and changes, I was really scared about. The coach at the track workout had given me a goal tempo pace of 7:45, and it seemed impossible for me to do 5 miles at that pace!

The night before I realized that the run included a 1 mile warm up and with that, I felt somewhat better that maybe it didn't feel so impossible.I mean, I had done essentially 3.75 miles of tempo running on Tuesday. But either way, I was really nervous and scared.

I ended up cutting my warmup a little short and at about .75 miles I started to pick up my pace and ease into tempo. Tempo I believe you are supposed to be able to talk comfortably, but I wasn't doing a lot of conversing at this pace. I ran at Brookhaven with the ITL group and one of the faster runners who I usually could never keep up with, stuck with me to pace me for the run. Having that support definitely helped me to continue to push in the last mile and through some of the hills. I was so happy to be done this workout and really proud of myself. Believe it or not, I did somewhat enjoy having that harder effort workout completed before work on a Thursday morning. My mile splits were 8:58 / 8:00 / 7:38 / 7:53 / 7:54. I didn't exactly nail the 7:45 pace, but for a hillier route, I was happy with the time. My coach asked me afterwards if I could maintain that for 8 more miles and the answer was a 100% absolutely not. My HR was very high at the end of this so it was a tough effort run for me. However, it is a good place to work from to try and improve!

This also makes me a little curious if I could run a 10K in under 50 minutes?

Friday, May 12 - 2500 M Swim

Although a shorter swim, distance wise, it was a challenging workout with a Super 400 of basically hard effort. After the tempo runs this week and the big weekend before, I was just tired of sustained, tougher effort workouts. I told myself it was just mental and to keep pushing my body to fight through, but I think I was tired a bit as well. I was ready for this whole taper thing to kick in and enjoyed spending a few minutes in the hot tub at the end of the swim!

Saturday, May 13 - 40 minute OWS + 2:00 Hour ride

I joined ITL for an open water swim at Red Top Mountain which was really fun and enjoyable. I have never done an open water swim with a big group there before and always just gone on my own so it was a bit of a different experience and good practice to swim with others around me. Usually in races though, I don't care who I am plowing into or feet I am tapping - I just am focused on GOING. Whereas in this environment where I knew everyone, I didn't want to be mean or rude so I was more aware of other people around me!

The bike ride started out a bit tough where I felt odd and couldn't get into a rhythm. Eventually, I got a second wind and I felt stronger at the end of the ride. We were trying to outbike some storms and it was a little bit of a chaotic ride, but I was happy that I was able to stick with it mentally and finish with a good speed and feeling strong.

Sunday, May 14 - 7 mile trail run + 1:30 easy bike ride

My "taper" week was starting to feel like I wasn't so much tapering when I showed up at the trail to run! In my head it felt like 7 miles was really long but it actually went by pretty fast and I enjoyed the run, feeling really strong.

Afterwards I met up with a friend at the Silver Comet for an easy bike ride that went by REALLY fast as we just rode and talked the whole way. Halfway through we met up with another one of my training buddies, so it was a great morning of just leisurely riding and talking on the Silver Comet.

Monday, May 15 - 2800 M Swim

This was one of my toughest mornings to get out of bed yet and I swear that's true even though I say that almost every Monday morning!  I forced myself to go swim and felt better once I did, completely zoning out in the water. I was probably still asleep for some of those laps and kept losing count!

Tuesday, May 16 - ITL Track Tuesday - final one!

This morning I finished off my final track Tuesday with ITL before the race.I thought it would be nice and leisurely but it actually included some tougher efforts. The workout was a 1600 at goal race pace, followed by 4 x 400 at 1 mile pace with a 400 recovery in between. So there was lots of recovery in there!

It was actually harder than I thought to run the 1600 at goal pace, but when I checked my watch afterwards I was right on target with an 8:44 mile. My 400s were around my mile time as well with 6:37/6:35/6:33/6:25 paces. I love that I was getting faster with each one as well!

With that, I am going to sign off from writing out my workouts. Tomorrow I have a swim and an easy spin on the trainer, a short run on Thursday, a short swim on Friday, and then we're into race weekend! Will be posting more so stay tuned and thank you for reading :)

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