Ironwoman Wednesday: Recovery

Today I’m back with another Ironwoman Wednesday with Jamie at From Couch to Ironwoman, Michelle at IronwomanStrong and Gabi at Lean Green Island Girl!  These girls are all training for Ironman Louisville, which is just 4 1/2 weeks away, and I’m training for Ironman Mont Tremblant which is 3 ½ weeks away (holy smokes batman!).   Needless to say, we can all relate to each other with all of the crazy training we’ve been doing.

Today’s top is RECOVERY. Which is all very fitting, since I recently realized that I need to spend a lot more time with self-massage… daily! My glutes and hamstrings are so tight that things are getting aggravated going from bike to run, oops. To be honest, self- massage was taking a back burner and now it’s come back to bite me! I’m not in a lot of pain or anything, just uncomfortable… this needs to get fixed stat! As I get into my last few weeks of heavy training, recovery is going to play a critical role.

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The ironic thing is, when I first started blogging this year, I wrote a post about how I hate rest day. A few of my blogger friends responded to the post and said I will start to appreciate rest day with Ironman Training, and they were right! Now that I am in the middle of my PEAK training, I love my rest days or even my ‘step back’ days. I don’t always have a rest day in a training week, but I will typically have one ‘easy’ training day, on Monday’s for example, after a long weekend of workouts. My coach has me taking an actual FULL rest day every 3 weeks and boy do I treasure these rest days! Funny how things change when you start training 15-20 hours a week!  I also have what I call ‘step back weeks’ where I will train for only 9-10 hours during a week. During my step back weeks, I’m able to spend even more time on recovery!

Here are my key players for recovery:

  • Self-Myofascial Release. Finding trigger points mean everything in self-massage/myofascial release. It has been speculated that trigger points may lead to a variety of  injuries. The theory is that trigger points compromise the tissue structure in which they are located, placing a greater strain on other tissues that must compensate for its weakness. These in turn can break down and so the spiral continues (source). Little did I know that I have all of these knots a.k.a trigger points in my Gluteus Maximus, ouch! Now that I have figured out how to help these areas of pain, I will be working on them daily until August 17th. I like to use my Trigger Point kit and lacrosse balls for myofascial release!
  • Warm Epsom Salt Baths. I have mentioned this on the blog before, but I have really found relief in taking Epsom Salt baths during Ironman training. The combination of the warm water and the salt (magnesium) helps to loosen your muscles and accelerates the healing process after a tough workout. I love this brand for it’s soothing lavender scent!
  • Seeing a {good} massage therapist… often. Before training for an Ironman, I would only get a massage after a long race i.e. the Boston Marathon. Getting a massage post-race is nice, but massage is even more critical pre-race (who knew!), think of it as preventative maintenance. My little secret weapon is I get massages every two weeks, and boy does this help big time. I also notice I am way less sore after a race if I’ve gotten a deep tissue massage in the days prior to competition.
  • Fueling properly. I mentioned post race fueling in a post last thursday, but this is key for recovery. Drinking something for recovery within a 30 minute window post workout is SO crucial!  This will begin the repair process with muscles that have been broken down during training… and will take away the ‘hangry’ feeling.
  • Getting enough sleep. I am the first to admit that I don’t always get enough sleep.  I have gotten better at it (7 hours versus 6 hours a night), but my sleep habits could improve. One thing that’s great about IM training, is I am exhausted by the time I get to bed and there’s no tossing and turning like there used to be… out like a light!  Sleep is essential for muscle recovery (and mental recovery too!)

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How do you recover after a tough training week or race?



Tri Talk Tuesday – Support Crew

Today’s Tri Talk Tuesday topic is very important and relevant to me, especially right now: The Race Support Crew. The topic is hosted by the lovely Courtney from Tri Girl Chronicles and Cynthia from You Signed Up for What


I honestly would not be able to do all of this crazy training and racing without my support crew. Now that I’m just four weeks shy of my First Ironman, my ‘support team’ is more critical to my success than ever before.

My Husband, Todd.

I know I have mentioned this countless times before, but this man is a SAINT and I am so GRATEFUL for him. Honestly, I would not be able to race and do what I do without him. Todd has not missed a single race of mine since we have been together (that’s 8 years!). I have competed in probably 30+ triathlons (I’ve lost count now) and he’s been at every single one. He drives me to my races so I can relax and eat my breakfast, helps me with my bike, keeps me organized, calms my nerves and cheers me on… oh and he serves as my official race photographer:) Todd is not an athlete himself and at times he thinks I’m a little crazy, but he is always there to support me 100%… and he NEVER complains, he’s pretty amazing.


My Family

My parents live close by and are always VERY supportive of me at my races.  I know how proud they are of me and what I’ve accomplished.  The best part is when I win an Age Group Award, I can just see they are so proud! It means the world to me that they will be cheering for me at IMMT and are making the trip up to Canada to support me. My brother and sister are also very supportive. My brother lives in Chicago and when I did the Chicago Marathon with his girlfriend, him and Todd had a blast supporting us from the sidelines!


Oliver, our dog

It might seem a little silly that I consider our dog to be part of my support crew, but to me, he’s basically a human!  We bring Oliver to every race where dogs are allowed and he loves it!  It’s the best thing ever when I’m flying by on my bike or during the run and he’s sitting there with Todd. I know he can’t cheer for me, but having him there is so great.


My friends, near and far

I don’t have a ton of friends near by, but the few that live close are very supportive of me! I also have girlfriends from college who may not be here in person to cheer me on me, but are always sending texts/calling to wish me good luck or say congratulations!


The blogging community!

I may not know you girls and guys in person, but your support on my blog through your comments, means the world to me! I love connecting with those of you who are also training for a race.  I feel like I have made blogging friends since starting this journey and I love it!


What does your support crew look like?






IMMT Training Recap – 4 Weeks!

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IMMT is on the horizon…. 26 days and counting

It's on the horizon.    so keep your head up, keep your heart strong.    ^^

It’s hard to believe how far I’ve come in this Ironman Journey… just when I thought it seemed so far away… this is no longer the case.

My monster week last week included a whopping EIGHTEEN and a HALF HOURS of training! This was my highest volume week to date and I am proud to say I completed every single workout as prescribed.  It was definitely intimidating seeing all of the workouts at the beginning of the week, especially knowing that I had a lot going on in my personal/work life at the same time.

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Of course one of my biggest training weeks just happened to fall on one my my busiest work weeks! Last week was very busy at work, with a big meeting in town AND after work events on a few nights (the WORST.. I don’t want to eat crappy food and drink after work, ugh).  I had to work around my evening event on Thursday, by waking up extra early and doing back to back sessions (I was determined!).  If there’s one thing I’ve realized during this process is that you have to make it work, no matter what.  Since I am very ‘type A’ and a perfectionist this works well for me, ha! If I were to go through this past year and my training program, I can probably count on one hand, or a few fingers, the amount of workouts I’ve missed throughout this entire process. Hopefully this pays off at IMMT!

My weekend training was a huge success and I lucked out with low humidity, 70 degree temperatures and cloudy skies.  This made for some great bike riding and running, without having to worry about losing tons of electrolytes! I also had the roads to myself it seemed on Saturday, not complaining about that!

How am I feeling?

Mentally: At this point, I am feeling READY and PREPARED.  This week is going to be my biggest week yet, 20 hours of training, and then I start to back things down a little but, before the official taper.  I am also starting to get very emotional about the whole process.  When I think about all I have done to prepare for this race and all that I’ve sacrificed, I get very emotional! I can only imagine how I’m going to feel during race week!

(This photo was taken during my run on Sunday… the light really IS at the end of the tunnel!)

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Physically: For the most part, my body feels really good (all things considered!). I honestly can’t believe how good my body feels right now, knock on wood!  The foot pain I had during my Boston Marathon training, that lingered into the spring, has miraculously started to go away.. on it’s own.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but it’s MUCH better than it was.  My only other complaint is the deep ache I get in my low back after a long bike ride (i.e. 80 miles +).  I have struggled with back pain for a while… thanks to playing field hockey for 10+ years and it flares up after long bike rides.  I am considering getting my bike adjusted to see if that can help.  The last thing I want is for my back to hurt during the Marathon at IMMT. Thankfully, I have a great chiropractor and that helps me manage the back pain.

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Total Hours last week: 18.5

Weekend totals: 9 hours

Weeks Until IMMT: <4

Swim: 30 min Drill Set, sets of 100’s focusing on pulling

Bike: Speed work 2:00 hours on the trainer
Run: T- Run 30 min Z2 + Z1 HR

Swim: 3,800 yds, sets of 200’s getting faster in each set
Bike: Recovery ride 1:00 hour
TRX Strength Full Routine, Upper and Lower Body

Bike: 1:40 on the trainer
Tempo Ride, Warm Up then Zone 2 with 2 X 25 minutes at Z2 and 70rpm with 5 min @Z1 and 90rpm between each set, remainder of the ride @ Z1

Run: Speed work (back to back with my bike intervals, since I had an event after work, yikes!)
Had to do this one on my dreadmill since I was pressed for time:
15 minute warm up
Main Set:
2 X (1 mile repeats, with 3 minute recovery between each)
2 X (1/2 mile repeats, with 2.5 minute recovery between each)
Cool down run until I reached 55 minutes

Swim: 2,800 yards- speed set intervals at Masters Practice
Run: 20 Minute recovery run with the hubby

Saturday: Monster Day # 1

(longest bike ride yet!)

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Bike: 4:37 (was supposed to be 4:20, but I went over a little bit;) 82 Total Miles on some beautiful roads! I was instructed to do the following workout: Bike 169 minutes at Z1, then 91 minutes @ Z2. Descend the pace throughout the ride and finish toward the top of Z2. I am proud to say I accomplished it for the most part. It’s hard to keep a specific heart rate when riding outdoors (thanks to all the hills) but I came pretty close! Since I had to keep my HR at Zone 1 for almost 3 hours of the ride, I rode at a slower pace and then picked it up at the end. I am finally learning that it’s good to hold back and not push myself like crazy when I’m not supposed to (i.e. over-training!). This is why my average pace was approx. 18 mph.

Run: 35 Minute Brick Run at Z1 HR effort.

Swim: 26 minute recovery swim 2 x 600 Pull Buoy at recovery pace, 30 seconds rest between sets. 100 easy kick

Sunday: Monster Day # 2

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1st Run: 1 hour 20 minutes at Z1 HR, 10 miles
I ran this first run on my favorite trails in the Minuteman National Park. It was a cloudy morning and the park was not very crowded, so great! My back was sore from the previous Saturday’s workout and this affected my run a bit. I had to keep my HR at zone 1, which meant a slower pace for me ~ 8:00 min/mile. At times I get frustrated with having to go at an ‘easier’ pace, but I know it’s for a good reason!

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Bike ride: 1 hour, recovery ride + 10 sets of 30 second sprints (all-out) in the middle, then more recovery riding until I reached the hour mark

2nd Run: 1 hour brick run at Z1 HR (within 10 minutes after my bike ride)
I actually felt better during the 2nd run versus the first, maybe because my body was more warmed up at this point. I ran around my other favorite running spot, the pond and trails near my house! By this point, it was afternoon and the sun was finally out! I also took this run at just under an 8:00 min/mile pace average, since it was a Z1 HR run. Oh and my legs were toast by the end….

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How is your training going? 



My {Seven Wants} in life.

Continuing with the “YOU” Challenge, today I’m talking about Seven Wants in my life.  It’s hard for me  to narrow down all the things I want in life, because I am a dreamer. 




I believe that anything is possible and no dream is too small.  This being said, my wants align with my dreams… I want big things out of life.

1. To always be of optimal health and fitness levels.

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2. To always be able to race.  I love racing and competing!  I don’t ever want to give up racing.  I know I don’t have kids yet, but I will be one of those mom’s (maybe one day) that has my OWN goals in life and doesn’t just live through their children.

3.To wake up one day when I’m 85 years old and say, damn I’ve lived a good life.

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4. To be financially secure.  I know money is NOT everything, but I want to be at a place where I don’t have to WORRY about paying for the small stuff. I don’t need to live like a princess, but I want security.

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5. To be an inspiration to others.

 6. To be at peace with myself and have more self-confidence. I’m getting better at this, but I’m not quite there yet.


7. To follow my dreams and find a career that doesn’t feel like work.

DNA Connexions: New Thought! Friday, July 6, 2012 "Three Simple Rules"


What are your wants in life?


30 Days

I had to pinch myself this morning when I saw today is July 17th, 2014.  I have exactly 30 days until IMMT, is this really happening?!

30 Days from right now, I will be somewhere on the course, most likely the bike, hammering away at the mountains in Tremblant Quebec.  If all goes well, 30 days from today I will be an IRONMAN!

Seven years ago, when I finished my first triathlon (a sprint tri in my hometown), I never thought I would do an Ironman.  I was brand new to the sport and I thought you had to be a superhuman/genetic freak to do an Ironman.  Fast forward to now, I am one of those superhumans and I am damn proud of it.  To say I am obsessed with this sport is an understatement.

I feel like I am made for this. 

Here is a quote I’m loving today, that’s getting me pumped up for these next 30 days!

“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.”

-Mia Hamm


Have a great Thursday!!