Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Uncategorized

Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 29 Weeks // feeling the burn!

photo 3

Ok now I am starting to feel the burn! Which is sooo much better than feeling aches and pains. All of my rehab work must have done it’s job, because now I can struggle through enjoy my workouts without pain… focusing on the workout itself and the BURN that comes with it.  That VO2 max kind of burn when your insides feel like they are on fire… I love it!

Mantra of the week:

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Last week was a tough week! It’s interesting how things are put into perspective, depending on what point in the season we are in. If I were to do last weeks workouts (in July) I would think it was an easy week. But for right now, this is not the case. I have learned to live in the now and embrace the training as it comes:) and where I currently stand with my fitness and strength, last week was TOUGH, no doubt.

I have started to pick up more difficult bike workouts and my runs are getting longer. This has left my legs feeling heavy, like yesterday when I felt like I was sinking at Masters practice. I ended last week with a beautiful hike on Saturday in the White Mountains, which I will recap later… so much fun!

Here is what I was up to… and what caused that burning feeling…

WEEK 30 TOTALS:

  • 14.5 Total Hours
  • 15,000 yards swam (8.5 miles)
  • 3.5 hours biked
  • 16 miles ran

1/19

30 minute recovery run… easy peasy.

Physical therapy/ rehab exercises. My PT cleared me from having to go back and said I have made great process in my strength (hips + glutes) hooray!

1/20

photo 3 (3)
Swim drill day!

2,000 yards, kick drills, pull buoy, ankle band, swim smooth drills. I actually learned through one of my drills that I am not exhaling enough in the water. I always thought I was exhaling properly, until I read this about exhalation. You are supposed to exhale for the entire time your head is in the water (bubble, bubble, breathe). I was exhaling for maybe half the time. Oops! I also focused a lot on bilateral breathing during this workout.

photo 2 (3)

Bike- Anerobic sets (my favorite… seriously)

I turned up the heat in the basement and sweat it out for an hour… hurt so good! Since raising the saddle on my bike, my quads are getting less fatigued and my knees no longer ache during the ride, or post ride.  I also have noticed I’m incorporating my hamstrings a lot more than before.

WU: 20′ @ Z1, 5′ as 30′ @ Z4, 5′ @ Z2
MS: 4 x (3×20 sec @ all out, 40 sec @ Z1 or lower as recovery) – 3′ @ z1 as rest between sets
CD: 6′ @ Z1-Z2

1/21

Swim 3,100 yds at Masters Practice

Stretching and foam rolling + PT exercises (bridges with band, clamshells, single leg squats, squats with band, etc)

photo 1 (2)

40 min EASY run outside. I ran in the dark and it wasn’t too icy, which was a bonus! I kept a steady 8:20 min mile pace, and was happy to see my pace in the ‘low’ 8’s… it’s been a while! Side note: working on finding a better headlamp, because I’m currently using my camping headlamp, which does not stay on my head. Can anyone recommend a good one?

At the end of my run, I was scheduled to do 3 x 10 second hill sprints! I found a moderate hill at the end of my route and did some sprints for the first time since probably July! It felt amazing.

photo 2 (2)

1/22

Swim drills! 2,050 yards

photo 3 (2)
Lots of ankle band and paddles work. I love using paddles in the pool. I find now that my technique has improved, I am actually using paddles properly and not overusing my shoulders.

Pilates class during lunch for one hour.  This class seriously kicked my booty. The instructor had use the Pilates ‘ring i.e. evil torture device.  I was really feeling the burn! If you have never seen it before, it’s literally a ring that you squeeze with your arms or legs while doing core work, think of it as extra isometric work while doing abs:)

1:00 bike ride, VO2 MAX work (using the RPE scale and watching my heart rate)
WU: 25′ @ z1-z2, 5′ ON/OFF as 10 sec @ z4/ 50 sec @ z1, 5 ‘ @ z2
MS: 10×30″ (30″ z1 rest) @ z5
10′ @ z2
CD: 5’ @ z1-z2

I was a sweaty mess after this one….

photo 4 (2)

I was tiiiired by the end of this workout… especially after swimming AND Pilates earlier in the day. My legs felt heavy and the sprints totally crushed me.

1/23

photo 1
40 min easy run outside… took it nice.and.slow.

Looking at my pace in the 8:30’s can be a little frustrating, but I need to remind myself that I am GETTING there.  Once day I’ll be back to my old self… one day I’ll be running in the 7’s again.  I just need to be patient…

1/24

Hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Cannon Mountain 6.2 miles round trip (2,350 ft elevation gain!).  This hike marked out 37th 4,000 footer in New Hampshire (out of 48). I can’t believe how close we are getting to the finish!

Coach gave me the thumbs up to hike instead of bike, so I was happy! Weather conditions were optimal and this was certainly a great workout… super steep. More to come about this hike, including lots of photos!!

photo 5

1/25

Masters swim practice! 1.5 hours, 4,100 yards

Again, loving Sunday swim practice lately. It starts at 7:00 AM every Sunday and it’s a great way to get the day started.  It can be hard to wake up at 6:30 on a weekend day, but I am always happy when I go.
One set at practice was 2 x 400 pull (descending pace for the 2nd one) holy arms!

How is your training going?

Any tips for being patient after an injury? 

 

Uncategorized

to run, or not to run?

The Boston Marathon. That is the question.

Is racing on April 20th a good idea? I’m just.not.sure.

IMG_0184

As of now I am registered for the  2015 Boston Marathon. Well it was so damn easy to hit the ‘register’ button this fall. Since I qualified at last year’s race and it’s local to where I live, it seemed like a no-brainer. At the time, I assumed it would be a great idea.  After all, I raced Boston last year AND IMMT four months later. And I survived didn’t I?  I should also mention that I ran Boston injured last year, when I was told it wasn’t a good idea.  As a result Plantar Fasciitis plagued me ALL of last summer.

So, if I’m feeling better this time around, you might ask, why wouldn’t I run Boston?

The truth is, my goals are different this year.  I’m not trying to finish, just to finish at Ironman Mont-Tremblant, I’m trying to PR at Ironman Mont-Tremblant… and potentially get a ticket to the Big Island. Oh and not to mention, I’m injury prone. Womp womp. If in fact I qualify for Kona (that’s a BIG IF), that would mean running three Marathons in 2015 (counting the marathons in each Ironman + Boston). That’s a lot of load on these little legs.

photo 5-4

The truth is…

I need to be honest with myself and accept the fact that I am injury prone.  Instead of getting all pissed off that my friends (and people on social media) can do more training and racing than me and not get injured, I need to accept my body for what it is. Comparison is the thief of joy, right?

I’ve had a knee surgery, I have motor control issues and imbalances. I have a very small frame and I’m quite petite. I’m trying to get stronger, but I have always been somewhat breakable. I can only handle so much volume without getting hurt, it’s the honest truth, and it sucks. It can be BEYOND frustrating that something is ‘always’ wrong, but I have kind of learned to accept it. I hope this doesn’t come off as whining, but I’m trying to be realistic. Perhaps I’m getting wiser with age:) Realizing that I just can’t do it all. 

I go through periods of denial where I think: I’ll be fine no matter what, but this is not the case. This whole ‘knee thing’ over the past six weeks got me thinking about my body and accepting reality. Sure there are plenty of triathletes who can do Marathon after Marathon, Ironman after Ironman, and come out unscathed… but I am not one of those athletes.  After all these years, I’m finally getting it, I need extra time to heal. Even with an arsenal of chiropractors, PT’s, and massage therapists, I still need extra time! Probably more than the average triathlete.  Where I get into trouble is, when I don’t give myself time to recover, I get injured, or just barely get by.

There is always risk when training for a Marathon, but now there is more risk.

Since I am just getting over knee pain, training and racing Boston is risky. I know I am capable of running Boston (I’ve done it twice now), but I also know how much that course BEATS you up. I firmly believe that a stand alone Boston Marathon beats your legs up more than an Ironman. Last year I had ONE week of rest in between Boston and ramping up training for IMMT.  I felt like I never had a break, considering peak training for IMMT is just 2-3 months after Boston.

I have a gut feeling that Boston isn’t the smartest idea.  Last year I was fired up because of the tragic events in 2013.  I wanted to be with everyone in 2014, proving to the world how strong we all were. This time around, I’m sort of like… ‘what’s the point?’ ‘I have nothing to prove.’

IRONMAN 301

What’s the plan as of now?

Coach (Jorge) and I have Boston on the calendar, but it’s more ‘penciled in’ than with permanent ink. We are going to pick up my mileage starting next week and see how I respond. If I continue to respond well, maybe, just maybe, I will run Boston.  If there is any indication of injury, I am probably not going to run the race. We are just taking it day by day right now.  The nice thing is, I don’t feel any pressure and it feels awesome:) Who knows, I might just run Boston AND still qualify for Kona… only time will tell.

What if I don’t run Boston this year?

I will defer to next year… luckily the BAA allows you to do this. Instead, I’ll race either a Half Marathon or (70.3) Half Ironman in the early spring (March/April). The problem with a 70.3 in the early spring is, I would have to travel via airplane to get to any of those (warmer) 70.3 destination races.  Due to cost, this would mean probably doing a local half marathon instead.

Stay tuned………..

c63837b9576a7bca3b8ef7e5806636f6

Would love to hear your thoughts on racing Boston and IMMT in the same year, since I am horrible with making decisions!

Uncategorized

Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 30 Weeks + getting my groove back!

Jan 20 209

Last week was a great week of workouts, where I finally found my groove again! I’m at the point where I feel as though I am actually training for something, not just doing off-season work.  To put things in perspective, it’s now been six weeks since my knee was actually in pain.  I’ve been running and biking pain free and I must say, it’s an awesome feeling!

Mantra this week:

“Nothing worth having comes easy. Do work.”

Week 30 Totals:

  • 14:38 total hours of training
  • 15,000 yards swimming (8.5 miles)
  • 3 hours 37 mins on the bike
  • 16 miles of running

Here’s a recap of what I was up to last week

Monday 1/12

Masters Swim Practice! 3,200 yards. This workout include a set that was a 1,650 (1 mile) without stopping. I was honored when my lane-mates nominated me to lead the group. I doubted myself at first and worried I wouldn’t be able to lead without people having to pass me. I proved myself wrong in the end, when I started lapping my lane-mates. I finished 50 yards before the rest of the group finished. I left practice that day feeling very proud. Proud of how far I’ve come, especially leading a full mile for a group of people that I used to be in the back of, yay!

That evening I had a 30 minute easy run outside. I decided to take this run outside, despite the rain and black ice on the roads. The weather has been really tricky lately.. in the 40’s one minute, 20’s the next. This means the roads have been very unpredictable. What I thought would be wet sidewalks turned into black ice sidewalks. I wore my head lamp, reflective, gear etc.. and was happy to make it home in one piece. Is it Daylight Savings yet?

Jan 20 073

Tuesday 1/13

Swim drills! 2,000 yards, including lots of balance drills. I did a combination of ankle band sets, side kick drills, all working on rotation and breathing. Practice makes perfect!

Jan 20 080

After my swim I rushed home to get on my bike before work. I biked for 1 hour, which was a total sweat-fest. I also caught up on Downton Abby! While watching Downton, I did a series of 20 sec sprints in the workout below. This was the first time in a while I felt like I was actually TRAINING again.

I wore my NEW Coeur shorts… love, love, love!!

Jan 20 090

WU: 15′ @ z1
MS: alternate 40′ as 4:40min @ z2 and 20 sec all out effort – repeat
CD: 5′ @ z1

Wednesday 1/14

Masters swim practice! 3,000 total yards, mix of freestyle and stroke swimming. I was asked to lead sets again during the workout and it felt good! People on my team are noticing I’m getting faster and are telling me to keep up the good work.

That evening I ran for 35 minutes, SLOW on the treadmill. After the black ice on Monday, I wasn’t taking any chances. I am lucky to have a treadmill in my basement/pain cave, so it makes it very convenient!

Thursday 1/15

Thursday was exhausting (in a good way)

Swim drill day. 2,500 yards swimming with a lane to myself (oh the little joys in life). My swim workout include once again, balance drills! Worked on swimming with and without the pull buoy, kicking on one side and rotation drills. I also did a set of all – out sprints (4 x 125’s with the 1st 25 all-out). This workout was mentally tough and I wasn’t having as much fun as I typically do in the water. I think probably because I was starting to ‘burn’ out from swim overload. It’s frustrating when you are doing a workout and your head just isn’t in the game… I could not focus! I just wanted the swim session to be over and this frustrated me. Oh well, not every workout can be perfect or fun. I made the best of it and still got it done.

Pilates class during lunch! My work offers Pilates class once a week in our fitness center. I’ve been going every Thursday for the past couple of months and I love it! I am noticing that I’m getting stronger at each class, but it still totally kicks my butt (literally). The burning feeling you get in your abs after a tough core workout is the best! Class is an hour long and it can be killer.

During the evening I rode my bike for 1 hour w/ intervals. Lucky for me I had a spike in energy and I was able to get it done! The workout felt amazing and it was my most difficult bike ride in a long time. My heart rate actually got over 170 bpm and I haven’t seen that number in a while! It felt SO good to be working hard again and with no knee pain.

Jan 20 134

WU: 20′ @ z1, 5′ @ z4, 5′ @ z2
MS: 3 x (3×20 sec @ all out, 20 sec @ z1 or lower as recovery) – 3′ @ z2 as rest between sets
9 min @ Z2
CD: 10′ @ z1

Friday 1/16

Jan 20 154
36 minutes of running in the morning at an easy pace. It had snowed a little bit the night before, so the sidewalks had a light coating.. it was quite beautiful. It was 22 degrees outside which as crazy as it sounds, felt really warm. The snow felt soft on my legs and I was just so happy! 4 miles total before the work day.

Jan 20 148

Saturday 1/17

Took my workout down to the pain cave for 1.5 hours of riding. It was another sweat-fest, that’s for sure!  I have actually been using RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) on the bike, until I re-test my HR zones. Coach was waiting until my knee got to 100% before re-testing. We will test soon! I listened to music for this one, since it wasn’t too long of a ride. I’ve been liking the BEATS App since you can make your own playlists.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0565.

WU: 30′ @ z1
MS: Do the follow progression:
10 min as 6 min @ z2, 4 min @ z3
10 min as 7min @ z2, 3 min @ z4
10 min as 8min @ z2, 2 min @ high z4
10 min as 9min @ z2, 1 min @ z5
10 min as 9:30min @ z2, 30 sec @ all out
CD: 10′ @ 60-65% CP (critical power)

My goal this week it to actually try virtual power via TrainerRoad or VirtualTraining. I’ve heard good things about using Virtual Power and it will save me time before actually buying a power meter. Virtual power uses your  bike trainer and your ant+ speed/cadence sensor to give you a measure of power (watts). You have to have a trainer that’s compatible with TrainerRoad or VirtualTraining to be able to use it (I have a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine). Have you used virtual power before? 

After my ride, we went to a delicious brunch! There’s nothing better after a good workout on a Saturday. My meal was a veggie scramble with potatoes and toast… mmmm.

Jan 20 176

Later that afternoon I met with my NEW coach!!

Yes, I signed up with a new 1 x 1 coach which is VERY exciting! This will be my first time having a one-on-one tri coach, which should make a HUGE difference for me. I took this decision very seriously and I researched lots of coaches (and prices). Selecting a coach is not an easy process, as you have to be sure it’s the right fit for YOU. I am pleased to say I’m happy with my decision and I look forward to making progress with my new coach.

Last season (and the previous one) I didn’t actually have a coach who I could call, text, email with questions. I received my program and could ask questions via a forum, but that was it.  While this was a great first step into being coached, I knew this year that I wanted more. I am looking for an edge in 2015, not just a program. My new coach is local which was a huge deciding factor in picking a coach for the 2015 season. On Saturday afternoon I met with him in person for 3 hours and we did everything from a running gait analysis, bike analysis, body fat analysis… etc… lots of exciting stuff! Needless to say, I really like him and our session got me very excited for 2015! He sees lots of potential!

Sunday 1/18

Masters Swim practice, 4,300 yards! I have been really liking Sunday practice lately. Sunday practices are longer than during the week (1.5 hours) and it’s a different coach so it switches things up a bit!

During practice I also fueled with Osmo Nutrition for the first time and LOVED it! Really enjoyed the flavor and the fact that it kept me going during the extra long practice.

Jan 20 187

In the afternoon I ran for 40 minutes with Todd outside. It was a beautiful run (temps in the 40’s!) with a light rain… which soon turned into a heavy rain. Todd has been running 2-3 times a week and he has made great progress, I’m so proud of him! He’s not a crazy athlete like myself, so this makes me so happy:)

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0574.

In addition to my workouts, I worked on physical therapy exercises every night. I had a follow up PT appointment yesterday and I was cleared to stop going to PT, and to just continue my rehab at home. My PT re-tested my hip and glute strength and said I have made great progress… yay!! It definitely paid off doing all of those boring exercises;)

 

Here’s to a great week ahead!

 

Uncategorized

Roasted Chickpeas – a healthy snack for athletes!

Truth be told, I’m ALWAYS hungry and therefore I’m always snacking.  Especially on the days that I swim, I’m hungry all.day.long. To prevent myself from turning hangry (hungry + angry), I eat something every 2-3 hours.  My snacks are always focused on real foods and not processed junk.

210a421aa2810f9a8514a40f063110fc

Similar to getting into a breakfast rut, I also tend to get in ‘snack ruts’, always snacking on the same old things (apples, almonds and kale chips are some of my favorites). I was on a mission to find another healthy snack to add to my snack repertoire.

Luckily, while making meals during the holidays, I came across this fantastic salad recipe from Oh She Glows (one of my favorite food bloggers).  When making the chickpea croutons for the salad, I could not stop eating them straight off the cookie sheet. Literally, so addicting!!  I’ve always been a huge hummus lover, but never thought to eat chickpeas like this… until now:) I couldn’t help but think how perfect the chickpeas would be on their own, as a snack! Also, through trial and error, I found a way to get the chickpeas to actually stay crunchy long after you bake them.

Here’s how I made my roasted chickpeas:

chickpeas

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-oz) or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas. I HIGHLY recommend getting boxed chickpeas from Whole Foods (or anywhere else you can find them). I tried canned chickpeas and they got mushy after roasting in the oven.  For whatever reason, these chickpeas stay crispy well after roasting! The only ingredient added to the chickpeas is water, no preservatives and no bpa:)
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (I use 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
best-in-beans

Buy chickpeas like this!

 

Directions (from Oh She Glows):

Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a tea towel and rub dry (it’s ok if some skins fall off). Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on oil and roll around to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder and salt and toss to coat. You can add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy. Roast for 20 minutes at 400F, then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet, then roast for another 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.

Since Chickpeas are so versatile, you can add all sorts of different spices to your recipe… have fun with it!

Here is why chickpeas make the perfect snack for athletes(and non-athletes alike):

The legume that is used to make hummus is often forgotten as a quality source of carbohydrates. Chickpeas not only provide a generous 22g of carbs in one ½ cup, but also a whopping 6g of fiber and 7g of protein. Fiber helps to keep you feeling full, maintains steady blood sugar levels, and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (from the USAT website as one of the ‘5 BEST Carbs’)

 What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Uncategorized

Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 31 Weeks

unnamed

Last week I finally started feeling like I’m training for an Ironman. Working on all three sports (not just swim and bike) makes me feel whole again:) Looking forward to the weeks to come, as I see my progress build, especially with the running! Sticking with my PT exercises daily and making sure to stretch and foam roll consistently!

Here are my Week 32 totals

Swim: 17,400 yards (no, this isn’t a typo)

jan 2

I’m pretty sure I’m turning into a fish! Not to mention, my skin has a perma chlorine stench.

Last week’s focus was once again on swimming! I attended Master’s practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  I worked on my drills and technique on Tuesday and Thursday. What’s amazing is, my shoulders used to bother me when I would swim a lot.  Now that I have corrected my form, just my muscles are getting tired (i.e. my lats, triceps, etc). Love knowing that I’m working the RIGHT muscles and not hurting my joints! Goodbye shoulder pain, hello toned back and arms!

Bike: 52 miles

jan 3

Nothing super eventful on the bike front last week.  A few hour long rides (on the trainer of course) and then a 1:30 ride over the weekend.

My favorite ride last week looked like this:

1:00 Hour Z2 HR Ride

WU: 15′ @ z1
MS: alternate 35′ as 4:50min @ z2 and 10 sec all out effort – repeat
CD: 10′ @ z1

Love doing sprint work on the bike and look forward to doing more of it this week! Again, my mission is to get BIKE STRONG in 2015!

Interestingly enough, my knee bothered me after my bike ride on Saturday, which has me thinking… maybe the bike is the knee pain trigger and not the run?  I am going to have my bike fit reassessed and will have my coach take a look at saddle position. Something just doesn’t feel right and I’m determined to figure it out.

Run: 11 miles

jan 4Run update:  Still taking ‘baby steps’ to prevent any flare ups or step backs with the knee.  So far so good! I have been running 3-4 times/week, 30 minutes at a time. It’s realllly hard when you start feeling better to stop yourself from going extra far. Definitely takes self discipline and a BIG reminder that I’m not safe yet;)

This week the plan is to run a few 35 minute runs and even a 40 minute run.. woo hoo! Each week I will continue to bump the runs by 5 minute increments, until we (coach and I)  know I am totally pain free.

Here’s to a happy and healthy week ahead:)