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?!


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.


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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my life, tri life

kristin, you have asthma.

wait.. so you’re telling me it’s not exercise-induced asthma… it’s ASTHMA Asthma?! Like the type of asthma I could potentially have for the rest of my life?

I wanted to cry in the doctor’s office.  I never thought I would actually be diagnosed with asthma. The truth is, I’ve been in denial for about a year now, thinking that my lungs weren’t that bad.

Let me back up a bit here…

Last june I had a scary breathing episode at the Patriot Half Ironman.  I was on my way to setting a PR and going under 5 hours, when I got to the run and literally could not inhale (what the doctor called bronchospasms). I had to slow down, walk a bit… almost stopped entirely.  I got it together somehow, worked through the spasms in my lungs and finished, still placing 2nd AG.  When I crossed that finish line, it was a scary couple minutes before I got an inhaler. I was more frustrated that I didn’t PR and I didn’t even think something was seriously wrong with me.

Kristin's iPhone 6.16.14 389

At Ironman Mont-Tremblant, during the run, the same episode happened again! Prior to the race I received a new type of inhaler, thinking it would help me. I was feeling great on the run (my legs at least) but my lungs could not inhale. I was wheezing and coughing the entire marathon of IMMT. How frustrating!! I think I could have had a better run, had I not had the breathing issues. I wanted to cry out of frustration during the marathon, I was so pissed off at my lungs and even said a few times ‘F you lungs, my legs trained hard for this race!’ The wheezing was horrendous, even WITH my inhaler. I recall taking it, and taking it again, it did nothing.  It also didn’t help that it was a chilly day in Tremblant that day. When I crossed the Ironman finish line, I couldn’t inhale and was wheezing beyond belief.. it was awful.

Mom Camera IRONMAN 146

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train, tri life

Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 22 Weeks {the hustle}

“Hustle and Heart will set you apart.”


The quote above is something that might just become the motto of my 2015 season.  And lately, it’s all about the hustle! I am working hard and seeing improvements in all things

Last week was another ALL GREEN week in training peaks (3rd week in a row!).

Week Totals:

Swim: 12,300 yards {yes I’m still swimming a lot!}

Bike: 81.6 miles

Run: 35.8 miles

Milestone: Longest run since Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2014 (18 miles!)

Monday 3/9


Easy Recovery Swim

2,000 yards

Strength exercises and stretching/foam rolling

Monday’s have been my recovery days lately.  Since I’m doing my long runs on Sunday’s, I’ve been doing ‘active recovery’ on Monday’s.  This means a verrry slow swim and lots of stretching and foam rolling.

Tuesday 3/10

Bike: Intervals!

WU: 10′ @ z1, 5′ on/off as 30″ @ z4/ 30″ @ z1
MS: 4x (4′ @ high z4, 2 min @ z1, 1 min @ z5, 3 min @ z1
CD: 5 min @ z1



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my life

Misson: Get More Sleep

I’m on a mission… to get more SLEEP.

Sleep has never been my friend and I’m on a mission to make a change!

While training for IMMT last year, I averaged 6 hours of sleep a night…. sometimes 5.5 or less. Not kidding. A typical day would look like this: Wake up at 5:00 (or earlier), train, go to work all day, train, go to sleep at 10:30/11, wake up at 5:00 the next day.


The truth is … sleep has always been a struggle for me

According to my mom, I never slept much as baby

As a young child (around age 5) I was taken by my parents to a SLEEP DOCTOR because I would NOT sleep… like ever. Needless to say that therapy did nothing.

I remember being in Elementary school and telling my friends that I didn’t sleep at night (partially due to worrying about EVERYTHING… ha, what’s changed?!)

In college I struggled going to sleep especially living in a shoe box of a dorm room and having a loud roomate.

I am a night owl and a morning person.  I like to stay up late and wake up early.  I don’t require a lot of rest… or at least I thought…

I’m a light sleeper, to the extreme.. this might come in handy when we possibly have a child one day… but it sucks right now. Good thing my husband doesn’t snore.

Up until recently, I didn’t think sleep was that big of a deal.  I always had the mentality ‘You’ll sleep when your dead.’

Well this kind of mentality isn’t the smartest thing to have when training as much as I do… the thing is, I NEED sleep to recover!

f6861b0b9bc058186896f28e2baa61f8From the Sleep Foundation:

Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone, cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game

Speaking of cortisol

About a month ago, I had my blood tested via the Ultimate Panel from InsideTracker (my new employer!). One of the biomarkers included on the blood test is Cortisol.  I will continue to write about my other results after today, but this was the most concerning.

Why is cortisol an important biomarker to measure?

Your cortisol levels can be a direct reflection of how much or how little you’re sleeping….

Chronic lack of sleep is now regarded as a health hazard and has been associated with several possible health consequences. These include lowered immunity with increased susceptibility to infections, impaired glucose tolerance, low morning cortisol levels, and increased carbohydrate cravings.* Lack of sleep can also elevate circulating estrogen levels, upset hormonal balance, and slow healing and prolong the recovery period.* These are in addition to the decreased alertness and concentration that most people experience when missing an inordinate amount of sleep. {source}

A few weeks ago, my InsideTracker results showed that my CORTISOL levels were high… very high in fact… yikes.

As you can see from the below image, my levels are in the RED zone i.e. HIGH


When I saw the results, I sort of freaked out… but then I realized I’m not alone. 

I did some research after getting my test results and it turns out, high cortisol is a common problem among endurance athletes (I had no idea).

There can be too much of any good thing. Just as cortisol turns from good to bad when chronically produced in excess, endurance training turns from healthful to unhealthful when an athlete over-trains. In the over-trained athlete, high cortisol levels may have negative health effects, but even then high cortisol levels are just one of many imbalances seen in endurance athletes who work too hard and don’t rest enough. {source}

Does this mean I’m over trained? Not necessarily. But I am training A LOT and I’m probably not sleeping enough.

So, how do I plan to ‘fix’ my issue with sleep and decrease my cortisol levels?


By working on the following:

Currently, I can’t seem to get to bed before 10:00 PM. I’m trying to change that to 9:30/9:45

Turning off TV, iPhone, iPad, Computer well before 10:00 PM

Reading before bed? (but I don’t really like reading…)

Listening to relaxing music before bed?

I struggle with going to bed before Todd, since I am a light sleeper and I don’t want to get woken up… I need to get over this!

Trying meditation? yoga? before bed

Oliver sleeps with us, which does disrupt my sleep at times, but I’m not kicking him out of the bed:) #crazydogmom

Eat more avocado, as this can help decrease cortisol levels (piece of cake for this avo lover)

Retest with InsideTracker in a few months, after I’ve been getting more rest (after all, I could have chronically high cortisol levels…)


Are you a good sleeper?

Any tips on getting 8+ hours of sleep?




train, tri, tri life

Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant 23 Weeks {my legs are back!}

t-minus twenty three weeks until IMMT.  

t-minus six weeks until the boston marathon (still a *maybe* race)


I am {very} happy to report that my LEGS are back! That feeling when everything clicks and feels easy? I’m feeling that right now. I’m finally running in the 7’s again, with ease, and this makes me a #happygirl! It’s been months since running in the 7’s was this easy and I have found my groove again.  I have been going crazy patient, feeling like a lioness in a cage. Going through rehab exercises, running short, running slow… now this lioness is out of her cage and it ready to attack:)

For example, a 7:30 min/mile pace is super comfortable… even 7:15 min/mile pace is comfortable and that’s while holding it. I have been enjoying my runs and getting that Runner’s High feeling again.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I feel great. Actually, I feel the best I’ve felt in YEARS. As an injury-prone runner, I feel very nervous saying I’m pain free… but I’m actually pain free right now (swim, bike AND run). Not only that, but I am feeling very strong and my endurance is through the roof.  I don’t really know how to explain it, but I just feel different, something has clicked recently and my mind and body are in a very good spot.

Last week was my second week in a row where Training Peaks was ALL GREEN! Meaning I did every single one of my training sessions, strength workouts and stretching/foam rolling!

14:30 Total Hours Trained

11,000 yards swam

73.2 miles biked

27.25 miles ran


In addition to completing all of my sessions, I even trained with others, not once, but twice! One of my goals of 2015 is to be more of a ‘social athlete.’ Having trained both weekend days with friends and new teammates is a serious milestone for me.


Monday 3/2

Easy Recovery Swim

I swam an easy 2,000 yards on my own.  It was very relaxing with a combination of freestyle swim and pull.  An easy recovery swim is the perfect way to recovery after a tough weekend of workouts.

Strength and rehab exercises + core work in the evening.  Still focusing on glutes, hammies, adductors, abductors = key stabilizers!


 Oliver loves to help me with my core work!



Tuesday 3/3

Easy 40 minutes on the treadmill, running at my easy pace.

Tough Trainer session in the evening! This was a BIG workout!

For the ride I did a series of warm up sets, followed by 5 minutes TIME TRIAL ALL – OUT, going as fast as I possibly could, while still being able to hold the effort. The goal of the test was to ride as fast as possible but at a pace which allowed me to complete the entire test. The average HR from the test will  be used to calculate my HR Lactate Threshold and my HR zones. Total ride time = 1:00 hour.

I was told by coach… It is very important that you should finish knowing you gave it everything you had.  Let’s just say I thought I was going to puke when it was over… I think I gave it all that I had:)

Results of test: Average heart rate = 166 bpm 

Well what does this all mean?

The secret or goal with lactate threshold training is to raise your threshold point to as close as possible to your maximum heart rate, and improve your ability to withstand that discomfort (if it was easy everyone would do it). If you never do harder workouts, then your lactate threshold will always remain below your possible maximum lactate threshold. 

Raising your lactate threshold point, for the most part, will bring your steady aerobic threshold point up with it (as the 20 bpm relationship is fairly constant).

So if you’re training for an Ironman, from a specificity standpoint you want to train that steady aerobic threshold because that is more or less your race pace. But you should include some LT training as well to raise that point a bit higher.



Wednesday 3/4

Masters Swim.  This practice included a bunch of 150 yard free sets. 1500’s are a hard distance because they aren’t really a sprint, but they aren’t distance either… it’s that tricky in between distance that can get really uncomfortable.. .gets me every time! 3,000 yards.

35 min run OUTSIDE.

35 min as 4:40 min E pace and 20 sec near all out sprints and repeat

It was a ‘warm’ day in the 40’s and I thought I would be fine running outside.  It ended up being a slushy, icy mess, but it was still fun! The icy conditions made it hard to do my sprints, they were more like moderate accelerations:) Thank goodness I had my microspikes to throw on my sneakers!



Thursday 3/5

Bike training session: another tough set of intervals!

WU: 15′ @z1, 5′ as 20 sec @high z4/ 40 sec @ z1, 5 ‘ @z2
MS: 30sec @ z5 (30sec @ z1)
1 min @ z5 (30sec @ z1)
1:30min @ z5 (60sec @ z1)
2 min @ z5 (60sec @ z1)
10 min @ z2
5×10 sec @ all out, z1 as recovery
CD: 7’ @z1

Pilates Class during lunch! Still loving pilates.  I am slightly ‘core’ strength obsessed:)



Friday 3/6

Masters Swim Practice 3,000 yards

Immediately following practice, I decided to do my run session.  I had a chiropractor appointment later that morning and I didn’t want to train after my appointment.

On the treadmill, I did the following:

WU: 20′ @ very Easy pace, 5×20″ @ Threshold pace, (R: 40″ @ Easy pace
5′ of dyamic stretching
MS: 3200 (2 miles) run as fast as you can
400 very easy jog as recovery
2 min rest, drink some water.
CD: 10′ @ Easy pace

The previous week I had tested my 1 mile ALL OUT time, which I wasn’t too happy with.  I didn’t think it was an accurate time (6:27).  The two mile test proved this since it was significantly faster than my 1 mile pace.  I ran on the gym treadmill (new and fancy vs my old home treadmill).

2 mile time trial = 12 minutes 15 seconds (6:07 avg pace).  My second mile was 5:50! I know it’s the treadmill, so this was kind of ‘cheating’ but I’m still happy with the results!! Now for the REAL test when I can run outside on a track… TBD.
10990573_519618898178695_1705062772_nSaturday 3/7

Group Trainer ride with E3 Training!

2:15 minute ride: Coach posted a workout for the group, but I followed my scheduled workout:)

1st hour 4 x 10 min @ z2 + 5 min z3
2nd hour 5 x 11 min @ z2 + 4 min @ low z4

It was such a nice change of pace riding with others.  It really made the time go by!! I met some new teammates who I will hopefully get to train outside with soon! Looking forward to a great season with this group:) Including the very speedy Czech Chick, Jana Richtrova!




Swim 3,000 Yards in the afternoon

I was tired from the morning bike session, but I pulled it together:) Once I got in the water, I was fine! Mix of paddles and pulling.



Sunday 3/8

12 mile run with my friend Marisa! Marisa and I used to work at lululemon together years ago:) We finally got together for a run!

We met in Newton, at the start of Heartbreak hill and did a 12 mile loop.  Loved running on the Boston Marathon course for the second week in a row.

Our average pace was 7:50 for 12 miles. For the final 4 miles (9-12) I averaged 7:15 pace!

Awesome weather day too, with temps in the high 30’s:) Time goes by so much faster running with a friend!