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train, tri life

Remembering to just.breathe.

This is hard.

Peak week is what makes you realize why you do an Ironman.  You work hard all year long and then there are a few weeks out of the year that REALLY test your limits; The big weeks show you what you are made of. When you think you can’t go any faster or any longer, you surprise yourself. You learn what you are capable of during peak week and most of all, you realize that you are READY.  Throughout the process, doubts are completely normal…. I have doubts all the time.  Sure, I am more confident than I was a year ago with this sport, but I’m still very nervous about race day.  Nerves are the body’s way of telling us that we are ready.

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We all know that triathlon is comprised of three sports , swim bike and run, but we often forget about the mental component, until it’s getting close to race day.  Before getting close to the start line, it’s easy to just get into a rhythm, a routine, sometimes forgetting what you are even working towards.  All year long I swim/bike/run so much, that it just becomes a part of my life, it basically is my life.  While doing all of this training, the BIG EVENT seems SO far away, almost like it will never get here.  Then all of a sudden you blink and it’s peak week …. less than four weeks before your Ironman. And it hits you like a ton of bricks.  You start to remember all of the feelings from the year before, you get flashbacks from race day that you had forgotten about… on top of all of this, it can bring on stress, for sure.

Like a lot people in this sport, I am ‘type A’ and have high expectations for myself.  Sure, I’m not a professional, but I train like one.  I take my training seriously and I plan to have a personal best.  I put pressure on myself to do well, and I don’t want to let myself down.  All of the TIME I put into this sport, I obviously want to do the best I can on race day.  It’s that pressure to not fail, to not disappoint that becomes even more stressful during peak training week.  I’m not racing IMMT just to finish, I have bigger dreams.

Over these next 3+ weeks, I need to remember to just breathe, to trust my training and the process. I must toss away those doubts in my head and remember the amazing progress I have made since last year and savor it.  To be honest, I’m sad already thinking about the race being over!

Breathe.

Just breathe.

train, tri life

it’s crunch time.

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Well…. it’s almost here.

Hard to believe but I’ll be racing my second Ironman in less than four weeks now.

Time is flying by…. add in Ironman training into the mix and time goes by REALLY fast.

Thought I would do a little training update today, since it’s PEAK training time right now and my volume is picking up!

SWIM

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Doing a lot of open water swimming these days! Last week I did my first hour long swim in a long time.  This week I have two hour long swims, with intervals.  Getting used to my wetsuit and being in the open water for a long period of time.  I also had a great swim a few weeks ago at the Mass State Triathlon, where I swam a 1:32 pace for (0.9 miles).  I actually swam 1600 yards according to my Garmin (clearly going off course, ha), and that equals 1:31 pace for that distance. Last year at IMMT my pace was 1:37/100 yards.  This year I would love to be able to swim a 1:35 pace or faster.

BIKE

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One word: STRONG.  I am hands down a different cyclist than I was one year ago.  To think I used to dread biking, that is just plain crazy! One thing that has made a HUGE difference this year is riding with others/teammates.  Training for IMMT a year ago, I was alone, all the time. I never rode with a single person. Now that I ride with friends, I literally can’t imagine riding alone.  Funny how things have changed (for the better!) Also, VOLUME and POWER are in a different place than they were a year ago.  My volume of riding is higher, as well as the intensity. Last year I mostly rode at Z1 – Z2 on the bike, this year has brought on hard intervals and hill repeats.  For example, I attend a hill repeat session with my team every Tuesday, where I do repeats on a STEEP hill for an hour. I have also been on at least five 100+ mile rides this year, when last year I only did ONE 100 mile ride. Not to mention, the 100 milers have been in New Hampshire and Vermont where the hills are out of control.  I have a feeling the IMMT bike course will seem easy in comparison.. but that’s the point, right? Training should always be harder than your race day!

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I even returned to Vermont this past weekend to do my longest ride yet, 111 miles with 8,000 + feet elevation gain

RUN

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Lately it’s been lots of short transition runs after bike rides and long runs on Sunday’s. During the week I attend a track session with my coach & team for an hour (lung burner!). Other runs during the week tend to be 30-40 minutes in length, all done at an easy-moderate pace.  I’m running frequently and easy (besides track), and it seems to be working. My long runs on Sunday’s tend to have easy pace mixed in with moderate- hard pace segments.  For example, this past Sunday I did a BRUTAL 14 miler in Killington, VT… lots of hills and no shade!! This weekend I have a 16 miler. Legs have been feeling strong and fast. The only thing that’s slowing me down is the damn HEAT around here. It’s been so hot and humid! I try not to get frustrated about the heat, but it’s annoying when I can’t go faster than an 8:00 min/mile because  my body feels like it’s on fire…

RACING

My most recent race was the Mass State Olympic Tri a few weeks ago! Max Performance puts on fantastic races every year in the Boston area. One of the most popular (and competitive) is the Mass State Tri.  It was a .9 mile swim, 22 mile bike and 6.2 mile run. I PR’d from last years time and had a personal best swim and bike on that course.  Since it was really hot, my run time was slower than I would have liked, but that’s ok!

I won my Age Group and was the 5th Overall Female (placed higher than some of the elite women!)

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LIFE

Enjoying summer through IM training.  My entire summer (just like last year) has been  consumed by training.  I’m not complaining though,  I LOVE this life.  This sport went from being my hobby years ago, to now being my lifestyle.  I have no regrets and I plan to compete as long as my body allows.  It feels good knowing that I have founds something I love and it makes me happy!

26 DAYS

I’m counting down to IMMT, but in a way, I don’t want it to be over! Bib numbers and swim waves have been posted already and this sh*t is getting real. I’m SO READY. Can’t wait!!!

train, tri life

my first-ever team training weekend!

If you have been following my blog for a little while now, you know that before this year, I mostly trained alone.  One of my 2015 goals was to be more of a ‘social athlete.’

Fast forward to now, I have joined team of amazing people and I couldn’t be happier with this decision.  The only regret I have is that I didn’t join this team sooner. Now that I have started to train with others, I’m looking back and wondering how I ever trained all alone.

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Some of my E3 Teammates!

I knew that in order to make some big gains this year, especially on the bike, I was going to need to start riding with people who are faster than me.  Sure you can get fast on  your own, but it also helps to have others challenge you and help you get out of your comfort zone.

To be honest, until this year, I was scared to ride with others. Scared to be the slow one, scared that my bike handling skills sucked too much to ride with others, scared of being dead weight in a pace line. So all last season, I trained alone on the bike 100% of the time. My four, five, six hour + bike rides ALL alone. While it is nice to ride alone at times, 4-6 hours is a lot of time to spend in your own head:)

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E3 Training Weekend was not only a blast, but it forced me to get out of my comfort zone.  I really enjoyed my first ever triathlon team training weekend!

For three days, I swam, biked (a TON) and ran in beautiful Waterville Valley New Hampshire. Honestly, if I could think of the perfect location to train for Ironman Mont-Tremblant, this would be it! The terrain is crazy similar to the terrain in Tremblant, lots of hills, country roads and mountain views:)

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train, tri life

InsideTracker and Ironman Training Progress

This week I joined the InsideTracker team! I am very excited for this career change, but even more excited about what InsideTracker is doing for my health and performance!

What is InsideTracker?

To summarize, InsideTracker provides specific recommendations based on analysis of hormone and nutrient biomarkers in your blood. The goal of the program is to help optimize these levels.

Before starting at InsideTracker, I had the opportunity to take one of their blood tests, the Ultimate Plan.

As someone who considers herself a health nut, I was very curious to see what the results would come up as. Most of the time, I eat extremely healthy and regimented.  While I do enjoy the occasional slice of pizza, I typically eat ‘real food’ that is non -processed and as close to ‘whole’ as possible.  What I didn’t realize, is how my sleep habits and my training can affect my blood and my overall health.  InsideTracker certainly proved to be a wake up call on a couple of things.  This was a little bit of a shock, since I always thought I was doing everything right when it came to my nutrition and my lifestyle.

I thought I would spend some time today talking about my InsideTracker biomarker findings and how these findings have impacted my Ironman Training.

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The most eye-opening results were my Cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a vital hormone involved in a multitude of our bodies’ most crucial functions. The many problems that result from chronically elevated cortisol can impact both physical and mental well-being.

It turns out, cortisol and I have a lot to work on…

My levels were in the ‘red zone’ of cortisol levels, significantly higher than the optimized zone… yikes!

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Cortisol is a steroid hormone that the body releases in response to stress. Called the “stress hormone,” cortisol performs other important functions such as providing quick spurts of energy; maintaining blood glucose levels; regulating blood pressure; aiding in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism; reducing sensitivity to pain; and regulating the immune system.

What have I been doing to help reduce my high cortisol levels:

trying to get more sleep.  I posted about this a few weeks ago… I’m working on it… but it’s not easy.

… adding InsideTracker’s food recommendations to my diet like avocado.  I am already eating enough walnuts and almonds, so hopefully adding avocados to my diet will help reduce cortisol levels.

 I look forward to retesting my Cortisol levels to see if they have changed with added sleep.  If not, it might be the case that my levels are chronically high. 

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train, tri, tri life

Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 21 Weeks {the season is around the corner}

The  Winter we had here in Alaska Massachusetts has left me feeling very confused.  It’s been so cold for SO long, that March has flown by without me even realizing it… and it’s actually SPRING. Who knew?!

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walking oliver just last week

The fact that April 1st is next week, has me feeling like triathlon season is just.around.the.corner. As I sit here writing this post, I’m on my patio, it’s 45 degrees outside and I’m staring at the giant snow bank in my yard that lies in front of me.  Trust me people, 45 degrees is HOT around this neck of the woods.  My first Triathlon isn’t until June 14th (Eagleman 70.3), but I have a funny feeling, it will be here before I know it.

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Training last week was awesome! Another all GREEN week in training peaks, yay!

My totals are looking pretty solid:

Swim: 9,300 yards

Bike: 89 miles

Run: 33.5 miles

Highlights: Power is increasing on the bike.. bring on the watts! And I’m running in the low 7’s per min/mile!

Here’s what I’ve been up to…

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