Sunday, October 6, 2013

Is it time to start training again?

So my two weeks of eating and doing nothing are over and I have been training for the last 2 weeks. I was surprised that starting training again was not as bad as I expected. Because those two weeks that I took off I had my bike or swimming suit in a car every single day but I never used it because when I got to the intersection and I had to make decision "pool" or "home" I always chose chocolate, uh, I mean home.

So I did some swims (and managed to injure my shoulder last Wednesday. Hopefully it is already gone and I can swim again) and those swims felt very good. I was not fast but I felt fast, and smooth and efficient.

I did a few bike rides. They were effort based, I am too scared to use my powermeter (plus it is out of batteries). Some rides were on a trainer and I was kind of treading them at first. But it turned out that I just totally forgot how much I like trainer workouts. So it is all good.

And runs. I did two track workouts this week! Awesome. I am pretty sure that the last time I did something faster than 8min pace was in early July. On Tuesday I did 8x400m with 2min rest. I started at 1:38 pace. Wow. But I did not cry:) I did 1:38s, then 1:36, 1:35, 1:30, 1:30. I do not know how I did it:)
And today...I did a workout off the bike. 3k sub-tempo (I did 4:24, 4:19, 4:15, nothing extraordinary but better than expected!!!), 5min rest and 4x800. Those were horrible. 3:05, 3:08, 3:09, 3:15 (but still better than expected). The rest was only 90sec and it was not enough. At the start of each one I was still huffing and puffing from the previous one. And I totally died on the last one.
It can get only better from here, right?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ironman 70.3 World Champs RR

I must say that I am glad I did not bail out and went to Vegas after all. It was a good experience and I like Nevada and it gave me a chance to take some time off work. So really no complains!

I finally got off work at 11pm on Wednesday, went home and started packing….Got couple hours of sleep and off to the airport to catch an early morning flight. My cousin was coming with me and my sister was arriving later in the evening.

Michelle rented a super nice house in Henderson where me and a few other of her athletes were staying. Michelle has been helping me with my training since 2011 but I have not met her yet and I finally got to meet her when she picked me up at the airport!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were pretty much resting, eating and some shake-out workouts (I biked, ran and swam in those three days more than I have in 2 weeks preceding this race but it did not really matter at that point).

We talked with Michelle about my race strategy and we agreed that I have two options: I go and just finish it (hopefully without crying), or I take a risk and see what happens (and hopefully it does not deter me completely from doing another half-ironman).I think that we both knew that I was going for the second option.

So the race.

I got up at around 3:45, ate a huge French chocolate brioche (yummy!), drank some water and we drove to the race side.

We were all mentally preparing for 100+ degrees so when it was raining when we woke up race morning it was quite unexpected. I did not think about it at all, it is only rain and I am not made of sugar so I won’t melt, right?

I put my two bottles on a bike, checked whether tires are ok and then we waited and waited and waited since transition was closing at 6am and my wave did not start until 7:42. It was still raining but it was not cold at all and we found a nice cozy carpeted and roofed place to sit down while waiting. Waiting was quite nerve-wracking and I was anxious to get started and get it over with and enjoy my post-race MilkDuds.

Since they did not allow us to warm up in the water I jogged a little bit, stretched to warm up little bit.
I do not know how it is supposed to work but I did not join my wave until a few minutes before they let us into water. Was I supposed to wait and stand there the whole time?

Swim. I started pretty well, I did not get kicked or hit at all and I even found feet to draft off. I had no idea where we were going since I was not able to preview the course because it was not set up in the day before when we did our practice swim and I did not wear glasses or contacts on a race day so I did not see the bouys that well. I just followed people in front of me. I think I swam pretty well but then somewhere around turnaround we kind of merged together and caught some slower swimmers from previous waves and I got hit, I almost swam over someone, lost the feet I was following, drank some lake water, and the lack of training started showing. I wanted to cry a little towards the end since I started thinking about what is still ahead of me (13.1 run, scary scary scary) but then I almost got hit by a huge guy from a wave that started after me and that “woke” me up and I forgot those negative thoughts.

I swam 37 high, which is truly horrible but thankfully I did not know it at the time because I forgot to start my watch at the start, so I thought that I did alright.

Transition was uneventful, it was little muddy with all the rain and 2000 athletes running through it before me, but I did not wipe out or take anyone out trying to put my feet into my shoes (You know how they say you should not try anything new on a race day? It is probably true but that did not stop me from using a new speedsuit, new tri top and new tri bike shoes that I clipped into the pedals, which I have never done before. I had nothing to lose, just to gain.)

Bike. One of Michelle’s super talented athlete Kimberly passed me after the first mile or two of the bike and that’s when I decided that it was a taking-risk time. Just stay with her, keep her in sights. I knew that I was riding well over my fitness level and there were moments when I was thinking that maybe I should just let her go because my legs were screaming. But as I said I had nothing to lose, only to gain. I thought we were doing pretty well because we were passing a lot of people. Some men of course passed me but not many women. We were full aero and pedaling hard even on downhills eventhough it was still raining. My legs finally gave out when we got back into town and the last 2-3 miles were very very slow. 2:48 something bike.

The ride was not ideal both because I rode too hard and because I feel it was not steady at all with lots of spikes. Should be fun run...

Volunteers took my bike, gave me my run gear bag and I ran into the changing tent (sweet, I have never done a race before when volunteers took my bike or gave me my bag. I actually never did a race when I had a gear bag!)

Run...It was slow and pathetic but so much better than Buffalo Springs Lake. I was going very slow but I was still passing people so it means that they were even more done than I was. I did not walk as much as in Texas but I started walking aid stations the last lap. I actually liked the run course a lot! It was just 2 miles dragging ass up and then cruising downhill for 2 miles. And repeat 3 times. So it was easy to break it down mentally which worked well for me. My ITB got tight around mile 11 but it was better than in Texas, which I was pretty surprised because downhills are the worst for my ITB. Speaking of downhills, I never (never!) run downhills in training (because of my ITB) so you can imagine what my quads went through after pretty much running 6 miles downhill. Major soreness. Total time 1:46.
My sister and cousin were on the run course which was kind of nice and they took some pictures and videos but I have not seen those.

I finished the swim in the 45th place, biked myself into the 18th place, and also finished the run in the 18th place in my age group, total time 5:18 something. Which I guess it alright considering everything leading to that race. But I was quite disappointed after the race because I thought that we were killing the bike with Kimberly and I was positive that almost nobody passed me on a run, so I was thinking that the placing will be better. I had no idea that my swim was that bad and that I was that far back after the swim. And we were not really killing the bike, it was just me killing myself on that bike and there is a difference between the two:) Which is maybe a good thing because since I was thinking that I was killing it I was super positive and I did not want to cry. The only crying moment was during the swim and then it was only happy thoughts afterwards:)

I felt so much better physically after this race than I felt after the Buffalo Springs Lake. I honestly did not want to do this ever again after BSL, I was that miserable. But Vegas race was not that bad and my first thoughts were not „Ï am never doing this again!“. I think that it was the heat in Texas that made the whole experience so hard. Or maybe the second half-ironman is just easier than the first one. 

Lessons learned:
70.3 is not that awful after all
My long runs must be longer than 11 miles because my legs do not have enough endurance to run 13 miles. Eventhough my ITB hurt a lot after the race  it seems ok so I will try to do longer runs in the future.
You can run and pee at the same time
I am never ever doing a full Ironman

I said that I will decide what’s next after Vegas. So I signed up for Mallorca 70.3 next year. I would like to go visit my family so I will do that at the same time.

And what have I been doing for the last two weeks? Nothing. The last two weeks were my doing nothing getting fat weeks! And it was awesome. That's also why it took me two weeks to write this race report. I had zero motivation to do anything (I did Tough Mudder last weekend  and I ran a couple timesbut that was only fun, no stress). I had my swim gear in my car every single day but every single day I decided that I prefer going home, sit on my butt and eat peanut butter out of the jar using Hershey’s chocolate as a spoon.
I needed a break. Mostly mental break. It feels so good to not have anything looming over my head (race, training) and causing a lot of stress.
I woke up yesterday, went coaching a youth soccer game (do not ask), ran 8 miles because I felt like it and then came home and watched stupid comedy TV series eating chocolate and watermelon until 1am. It was wonderful!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Race week is here

Ok, it is 11pm, I just came home from work and I should be sleeping but I cannot fall asleep yet because there is so much on my mind. Maybe putting it down on "paper" will help.

I do not have much positive to say. I have been working 73hours/week on average in the last ~6 week culminating with 85-hour week two weeks ago that included being at work from 6:30am Thursday to 9:30pm Friday....
So I did not train much and most of my training was happening at 4am after 6hours of sleep. I really tried to make peace with not being able to train like I want to, and some days I was successful, some not so much.
Last week and this week so far have been the worst and a lot of tears were shed.
I am super stressed from race and work and I am not even packed yet and my car broke down today and now I do not know how I am going to get to airport since the only friend I have here cannot give me a ride.
Deep breaths, deep breaths......I can do this.

I am a realist but I guess that each of us has that unrealistic part, and that small part of me was still hoping that I can pull it off, that I can have a good race. But then something happened today (I am not going into details here but someone told me something) and that little hope was crushed. So now I am going into the race without any hope and totally scared.I am 99% certain that I will cry at the start line.

I know it is horrible attitude and therefore my goal for this weekend is to behave in such a way that my negativity wont affect anyone. And another goal is not to cry at the start line...crying into goggles sucks, I have done that twice in the last week.

I really want it to be over and then I will start thinking about what to do next because I am not going to have another summer like this. It was awfull!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bullet points

I spent the weekend at Lake Michigan with some friends. My friend has a house there, right on a beach and it was awesome!

I ran 12 miles on a beach on Sunday and I wish I could do it every day.  It was amazing.

I went there mostly to cheer on friends racing Steelhead and as I did it I had zero desire to race myself. You know how my original plan was 1, to race Steelhead to try to qualify to Vegas if I do not qualify at BSL, 2, to race Steelhead to get more experience for Vegas if I qualify at BSL. Well, all that went out the window after I actually experienced what it is like to race halfironman. No thank you.

It was great to spend time with similarly minded friends. Since I do not have any friends here and even less someone to train with having people to chat and laugh and bike with was a real highlight of a trip.

I need training partners. It is so much easier to get motivated when someone is with you. Training always alone is starting to get non-motivational. Unfortunatelly closest bigger city that has a club is an hour drive so that's not gonna happen.

I was at work for 12+ hours yesterday, 12 hours today and will be back tomorrow at 5am. I told my boss I cannot and will not stay really late tomorrow to which he responded "wanna bet?"....

I will probably go home for a week in November, which will be fun. I am preparing a list of my favorite meals that my grandma is going to cook for me:)

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Not giving up on triathlon, just having fun.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

And now what?

Do not worry, I am going to do Vegas. I just bought flights tickets 2 minutes ago. (My cousin and my sister are coming because eventhough neither of them wanted to go to Texas with me, when I said I am racing in Vegas they both suddenly got exciting about my racing...)

The week after Buffalo Springs Lake was super recovery. Pretty much sitting on my butt for 5 days. Both because I had zero motivation to do something and because I was at work from dusk to dawn every day including 12h on July 4!
Michelle said that sitting on my butt for 5 days might kill me but I like taking risks:)

ITB is good. It hurt evening after the race and during the night but I made sure not to bend my knee unless necessary and that helped I think and it felt good again on Tuesday already.

So Vegas.....I am not excited for the race. It seems that I was either excited by the idea of qualifying but not actually racing it, or I am not excited because I am scared. Like really scared. By the run.

But I was running today (another horrible run) and I have made a decision to try an experiment. And a huge weight lifted of my chest. Here is what I want to do. I am a decent runner. I can run ~42 10k in an Olympic distance triathlon without too much training. But as I was training for the half-marathon something happened. Pretty much every run workout in the two months leading to BSL ended in frustration and occasional tears. And it continues. I do not know whether it is because of the HM training but in my mind it is. So what I would like to do is to train as if I was training for a 10k (no half-marathon effort thrown in a middle of a long run and stuff like that) but with one looong run (well, loooong meaning 10-11miles). And then see whether I can pull of a half-marathon.
I of course need to run this idea by PPC first but you would not believe how relieved I was immediately after I thought of this.

Maybe it will not work out and I will die slow and painful death in Vegas but at least I hope I will not go through the run training I went through in May and June and it will be better for my confidence and stress levels.
I am excited by the idea!

I will make a decision whether I will continue with halfs after Vegas. I will definitely let you know!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 RR (my 1st half-ironman)

I am alive people! But it was really a close call.
And now I know that I am never (NEVER) going to do a full Ironman because it must be at least twice as
horrible as a half-ironman.

To sum it up: It was hard! I did not really enjoy it that much and I am scared to do another one. But I get to do it all over again in September…. I hope that by then I will forget about the misery I went through on Sunday and it will be all good.

So the race. We (my cousin and I) drove 7h to Tulsa on Thursday, spent the night and then drove 7h to Lubbock. It was pretty good, we did not fight too much and he almost convinced me to buy a Camaro.
Got to the hotel, registered, jogged for 7min around the parking lot and went to sleep.

Saturday was supposed to be shake out bike and swim but we had a pretty big storm with lightning and everything so I did not swim and I biked for around 15min just to check that my new wheel actually turn.
I also went to a store and bough Vittoria Pit Stop that I forgot in a car where it exploded once it got 100+
degrees in a car and went through the plastic that cover a door and got stuck there.

Sunday I woke up at 3:30, ate two blueberry bagels and one caramel Milka chocolate and drank some
I set up my transition, kept it very simple, jogged for a bit, put on my wetsuit (Amanda Stevens was right to me putting her wetsuit on. Good omen.), said bye to my cousin, swam for around 200m. Then I got quite nervous and started wondering how in the world a few months ago could I have thought that doing a HIM was a good idea.

And soon we were off. It was a beach start so I sprinted, then did 2 dolphin dives (or something like
that since I have never practices it) and start swimming. I think that I had a pretty good start. I decided to gamble and did not wear contacts which pretty much means that there was a possibility that I might not be able to see the buoys very well. But I did see them and I was following people so no issue. I found some feet to draft off but then lost them soon and then I spend most of the swim trying to catch those feet. So swim went by quite fast. I was working pretty hard because I was panting. And although water was 74degrees I was not overheated. I slowed down towards the end though because I was getting tired.

I got out water, checked my watch (30:06 official time – means swim was short), got my bike, put on socks, shoes, helmet and biked out.

Bike was very windy, but mostly flat with 7 hills, the first one being right from the transition. I took the
hills very easy, just spinning because I was terrified by the run to come and did not want to kill my poor legs. I yelled once at one guy to get off my wheel, other than that it was good. Bunch of men passed me, plus
2 women but I was mostly passing people. I did not wear a bike computer or powermeter so I just went
by feel trying to go strong. I think that I went quite hard but my time was only 2:43 so I am blaming a challenging course for that slow time. I ate 3 gels and drank 1.5 bottles of Gatorade (or Powerade, dang it, I never know which one I buy, they are the same), took water at each aid station, drank some and poured some over me. I knew that I was at the pointy end of the race because I did not see a lot of women on the out and back sections (but that might have been because I did not have contacts or glasses so I could not really see that much) but I did not know which position I was. There were some rougher roads at miles 30ish to 45ish and I did not enjoy that at all and wanted to get off that stupid bike. But then I remembered that I have to run 13.1 miles so I changed my mind and did not want to get off the bike anymore.

Run….my longest run since November 7 2009! If you can call it a run. But woo-hoo anyway! Course is
pretty much flat with 3 quite long and steep hills. And I walked every single one of those hills. I also
walked every single aid station. And I am not exaggerating. I walked every single hill, seriously! My poor
legs were not in shape to run 13 miles and there are no hills around here. It was a shuffle from the beginning. I did not wear Garmin so I do not know my exact paces but I ran 7:30ish pace for the first 3 (flat) miles (including walking through the aid stations), then the hills started and with all that walking my pace for middle 6 miles was 8:30, and then 7:40ish for the last 3 miles. It
was horrible. Two women passed me but they were not in my age group and I passed a few. I saw some
women behind me at the turn around but I was confident enough that if they try to pass me I am not going to let them. I just had zero mental power to try to catch someone in front of me. The last 2 miles were struggle. I was still passing some people but I was dying. I passed one guy at aid station 12, but then I walked the aid station, so he re-passed me and it took me half a mile to pass him again. And as I passed him he told me that that in front of us is a girl and I should go get her. I know it is mean to pass a person with 200m to go in a 70.3 mile race but well….I passed her.
 I drank some water, coke, Gatorade at aid stations (it was hot and they had ice in everything and I hate ice in drinks, even when it is 100 degrees out so I did not enjoy it that much), dump ice down my shorts and my bra to stay cool. I did not eat any gels because I did not feel like I was bonking, I had all the energy I needed, I just did not have leg power to keep moving. I was just going from one aid station to another looking forward to being able to walk and I did take my sweet time there. I finished in 1:46:41, which is embarrassingly slow but well, I should not have walked up those hills and aid stations.

Total time 5:04:32. (Oh well, that challenging bike and my dillydallying on a run killed my hopes to go under 5h. Even that short swim did not help).

As soon as I met with my cousin (who by the way took 1 (ONE!) picture of me racing (at the beginning of a bike) but we have dozens of pictures of cacti and different rocks because as he told me I was too slow and he got bored waiting for me and went hiking in a canyon.
What a supportive friend he is.) the first thing I told him was that I was not doing this again because it was awful!

But I somehow won my age group, which is really what I went there for. So I decided to suck it up and took the Vegas slot. Good thing I won because there was only one for my AG.

5:04:32, 1AG, 19th women (incl pros)

Final thoughts:

I am never doing an Ironman.

I need to run more. Especially longer runs. But cannot. So I guess HIM will always be a misery.

My ITB started to hurt at around mile 10 and I started praying. It hurt afterwards, but I taped it, rolled it and did my best not to bend that knee for the rest of the day. I felt it during the night a few times, not it was ok on Monday and it is ok now so I hope it has calmed down. But I am not going to run at least until Thursday to make sure it is ok.

I need to find a hill and do my runs up and down that sucker to get ready for Vegas.

I am never doing a full ironman.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Island Lake Triathlon RR

It is the same tri I did as my first tri two years ago. I was pretty excited about doing this tri to see my progress.

It did not go as planned. I know I am a better swimmer and much stronger on a bike now than I was before, and run, I do not think that I have improved.
I do not know what was wrong today, maybe that I was at work for 14h on Th, then drove 8+ hours yesterday from IL to MI, maybe because of cold weather, maybe because I have zero fire in me.

Ok, so the race.

The day started with scrapping frost of my car windshield. Good, isn't it?

Swim: 26:18 Hell yeah!!! They postponed the start by ~20' which gave me time to warm up, which was good I think. I felt strong, smooth, efficient. Just great! I swam alone for most of the swim. I was trying to draft off one gal but I kept loosing her feet and then we ran inti men from previous wave and sprint race waves and it become a mayhem. But anyway, I am very hapoy about the swim.

T1: I have not tried a flying mount since September and I chickened out. Embarassing.

Bike: 1:11 Which is time I rode in that first tri on a road bike in running shoes...I felt good at first but I think that I must have gotten too cold. Or maybe I need to ride the TT bike outside more (well, today was the second time I rode it outside since October) because my position is different outside and I felt uncomfortable.
By the end of the ride my hands and feet were so cold that I had hard time shifting. And I drank one small sip of gatorade the whole race because I just could not hold a bottle in my frozen hands or open a gel.

T2: Had trouble unbuckling the helmet because of the frozen fingers and had hard time putting the shoes on for the same reason.

Run: High 41  Embarassing but I am progressing. I think that I can run  close to 40 off the bike by this fall if I can run.
I had no idea what position I was in I saw some women on an out and back section and I passed the last one with 1.5 miles to go.
I felt good the whole time, except for two miles that are run on a grass (that was not cut!!!) and I was tripping over my own legs. But my running just sucks. Plain and simple.

Total time: 2:23 (I went 2:27 and 2:21 on this course before)

I am disappointed because I know I can ride and run better but I do not know why I did not. Geez, I need to get over this by June 30!!!

I was pretty confident I won but then I saw the results and I was second. So I drove 8+ hours to be second?!? Grrr. However after the initial disappointment when I was able to think clearly I realized something was not right. According to the results the first women swam 30, rode 59, ran 40. And she was 44. If there is a gal who can TT 40km (this course is accurate) under 60' AND run 40' 10k afterwards I want to see her. Is it possible? Even female TT specialists cannot easily ride 40k under an hour. So I  went back to check what the first man rode to compare. And then I saw that they updated the results and I was first. So I feel better now:)
Oh, and I got a parking ticket at the race. What a stupid day!

Any advice how to get my fire back?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Running around

I keep thinking that I will either get pretty good or that I will get injured. One of the two. The reason is that I pretty much do all my runs on tired legs, I do hard days back to back, I do track workouts off the bike and I know that I do not recover properly between training and work and I do not know how sustainable it is.

Common sense tells me that I should not do that but it is hard to fit all the workouts in and then I end up never running on fresh legs. But of course on the other hand it is good I guess because I will get used to pushing through the fatique.

This is the first time I am training for a half-marathon. Well, I already trained once for a HM, in 2010, but I think that that lasted 2 weeks and then my ITB has flared up. So it is kind of new to me. All those long workouts, wow. Totally something I have not really done before.

For example I did 7x1k @ 10k pace w/ 2min jog recovery today. It was easy-peasy but sooo long. 7x1k is a lot for me. It went pretty well, I was not sure how fast to run it so I started conservatively and then see how it goes. 4:04, 4:04, 4:02, 4:00, 3:58, :58, 3:56.
I kind of feel that I am not running my intervals fast enough. I do not know.

I also do long runs with running at HM pace embedded in them. Like for example 2x15min, or 25min. That is also completely new to me. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it does not. I kind of arbitrary chose my HM pace to be somewhere around 4:25 pace (4:25/km, not mile....but I wish:)) but how fast I run really depends on a day. For example two weeks ago I ran 25min at 4:13 pace because I felt good, but this week I tried but my legs just would not go.

I also have this one workout that I do every two weeks so I can kind of gauge my progress (1k @5k, mile @10k, 3k @HM, mile @10k, 1k @5k). Problem is that sometimes I do it after work, sometimes in the morning and last time I did it off the bike so I cannot really compare. The one off the bike was interesting.I normally do 1k in 3:50-4:00, miles @ 4:05-10, 3k @ 4:20-25. But last Sunday I did a 3h30min bike and then then did this workout. I felt awesome at the beginning and ran 1k in 3:55, mile @ 4:04 pace and 3k @ 4:14 pace, which I knew might have been little too fast but I decided to see whether I can pull it off. Turns out I could not because then I ran mile @ 4:10 pace and 1k in 4:15 or something like that. Wheels came off and I think that I might have bonked too.

I do 3-4 runs a week (depends on my work schedule): 2 interval runs (one long intervals, one short intervals), 1 long run and 1 easy short run if I do 4 runs. Overall the running is going well. ITB seems to be doing fine, it does not bother me at all. I still go to the PT every 3 weeks and I tried to run with a good form that I know helps to prevent ITB flare ups. So hopefully it will all be good. Although I can tell that it is not 100%, I can feel that there is something wrong in that right ITB in the knee area.

I am doing an Oly tri on May 25 in Michigan and it is the one I did in 2011 as my first triathlon. It is the same course and everything and I think that it will be super cool to see how I have improved in last two years. I do not expect any improvement on my run because I have not trained enough in those two years but swim should have improved and so should have my bike.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


And the struggle continues...

You know what the last thing I want to do when I get home after getting up at 5am, doing a workout, and then going go!go!go! 12 hours at work is? It is biking.
Actually all I want to do is do nothing, just sit and give my brain a rest, get a mental break. I am a vegetable by the time I get home from work and my poor brain is fried but I can usually force myself into running or swimming, but biking....not so much. You see, my bike workouts are hard and they require a lot of focus and concentration. (Swim and run are also hard but they do not require that much concentration and thus are not as mentally taxing as bike is for me) and I just do not have energy to focus.

I have had a little meltdown 3 weeks ago. I skipped 2 bikes, 1 swim and 1 run that week. It was the same week my boss told me I cannot have vacation in August to go to Hawaii for training camp and that we shall see about vacation in September for Vegas.... NOT a coincidence.  (Ok, I have not qualified for Vegas yet but you must believe in yourself)

I somehow recovered, did a few "do not care about pace/time/power" workouts and I have been alright for the last 2 weeks but I know that the tension is building again and in a couple weeks I will have another meltdown if I have to continue working 10-12hours a day.

I also have no fire in me any more. I was excited for Buffalo Springs Lake but not anymore. I am not excited for anything. I only go through motions.

I will do my best to manage everything until June 30 and try not to blow up before that.

I originally wanted to write more about my training in the last two weeks because there were some good days but I do not want to do it anymore. Zero motivation.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

5x1k repeats

This workout is a staple. And a good benchmark by which I can judge how I am doing. And I kind of like it.

I am writing about it so I can come back to this later and compare when I was and where I am.

But firstly, I did an 80 mile relay race on Saturday. One team lost a runner, somebody saw me by a pool with a bike on a car, they tracked me down and voila, I was doing a race. 8 people, each doing 3 legs, thus each of us ran around 10miles (my legs were 3.8, 2.5, 3.8) It was a great fun BUT once you were done with your leg you had no time to cool down or stretch. You hoped into a van to ride to the next switch point. And this constant hard running, sitting for ~3h, hard running, sitting etc killed my legs. I tried to walk as much as possible during those three hours while waiting till it was my turn again but it didn't help much. I felt my legs getting tighter and tighter. I was super sore on Sunday (and my 3.5h bike ride did not really help things) and I did a harder bike ride yesterday and an easy run and ouch! That run hurt.
I am still sore today but now I can at least walk down the stairs almost normally.

So the workout. At first the warm up was ok but then my legs, mostly right calf and right quad, started protesting to the point that I started contemplating not doing the workout because I might injure myself. But then decided to give it a try, take it easy and if I feel that it is too much I stop. Turns out that my muscles hurt only when I run slowly and I do not feel any pain when I run faster, intetesting.
5x1k at 5k pace with 2' jog. Yes, I jogged, transition period is over, real running beggings.
3:54, 3:54, 3:52, 3:50, 3:48. And it was easy-peasy. Ok, the last 200 was faster because I went through 800 in 3:05 and I wanted to get under 3:50. But the rest was effortless.
If 3:50-55 is my taking it easier, effortless pace on sore legs I will take it, no complains:)

I stopped after the last interval to take a sip of water and as I started running again to cool down those first steps were horrible. Ouch. My poor legs. And I am back to not being able to walk down the stairs normally. So it was probably quite stupid to do the workout but I am just so happy to be able to run that I don't want not to run.

PS: I might or might not have eaten half a cheesecake today. So I was high on sugar and that's probably one of reasons why the workout was ok. I always have a great run when I eat cookies/cake/other junk for lunch.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend smashfest and other ....

I used to be able to run in whatever shoes and not get injured. But it seems like I am not 20 anymore and I need to start paying more attention to what I run in otherwise something starts acting up. I did my first real interval workout 10 days ago and although everything was ok during the run both of my knees started to hurt after the workout. Left knee - just above the knee, right knee- just below the knee. I suspected that it might be because of the shoes I was wearing (I have ran in them for one year exactly, but since my mileage is not that high and I rotate two pairs I kept running in them) so I have done all my runs since then in newer shoes. But just to confirm my "theory" I did an interval workout on Friday again in that older pair and sure enough my right knee was not happy. So ok, theory confirmed, I cannot run in that pair anymore.

I started using hair conditioner on Wednesday. I am one of those people who do not care one bit about what I look like as long as I feel good. But I was in a store and they had "swim something" conditioner that is supposed to help treat chlorine-damaged hair on sale so I bought it and maybe now my hair will not look like wet slaw all the time. My sister would be so proud of me for that.

I usually walk to grocery store on Sat and Sun because it is not too far and I am European and we walk to places. I was never offered a ride but today was high 70s and I was wearing shorts and sure enough I was asked by some guys whether I needed a ride. Men...

I finally did my taxes on Friday. Need to mail it tomorrow. (US taxes that is. I still need to do my German and Slovak ones.) And for the first time I calculated that I owe a few dollars. Wow. That means that I am actually earning real money now not just little peanuts. At least that's what I am telling myself.

So the smashfest. Running smashfest that is. If I can avoid it I do not run two days in a row. But this week things worked out that I had to run three days in a row. And all of them hard. Bliss of having so many coaches as I do:)
So Friday was long intervals on trails (1k, mile, 3k, mile, 1k in 3:52, 6:40ish, 11:53, 6:40, 3:58 w/ 2min jog between) using Garmin. Followed by a swim, of course.
Then Saturday was hard interval swim, followed by a semi-hard 2.5h ride, followed by a 20min run at strong pace. I took off and ran 20min at 6:32 pace, which is 5k in 20:20. (And yes, I stopped at 20min and did not continue for those extra 20sec to get a full 5k in because I am not OCD like that). I felt great and I think that it is because I was super warmed up from the bike. Plus I like running off the bike. Wow, I did my own little triathlon on Saturday.
Today was an easy 90min ride that I cut short at 80min because something is not right with my right thigh (I hope it is nothing serious and goes away by itself), followed by 800s on a track. 7x800 @5k pace with 2min rest (SEVEN 800s! That's a lot. It must be part of my half-marathon training or something like that because I repeat, seven is a lot.). I knew it was going to be ugly but I was also interested to see what my poor legs say to that. Turns out that although I could definitely feel that my legs were not as springy as they normally are, they were not the limiting factor today. Wind was. I was occasionally blown from lane 1 to lane 2 (and I am not light! I weight 140 pounds but I felt like a rag doll. Btw, my resolution of getting down to 130lb is not working that great. Damn you donuts!) and I was tripping over my own feet because one foot was blown into the way of my other foot (makes sense?). So 3:09, 3:10, 3:04, 3:01, 3:06, 3:08, 3:09. My times were all over the place depending on how much I was being blown from side to side by wind gusts. And then the last two were pretty much a crawl to the finish line. I think that I might have start crying a little on the last one as I hit the wall of wind at 300m mark. I also "cheated" and walked 2min rest between those intervals, instead of jogging. Physiologically it probably does not make a huge difference but mentally it does, because I was able to tell myself that I got more rest than I would normally have and my brain bought it.
By the way, those of you who believe that Yasso 800s can predict your marathon time might reconsider what you believe in. Does anyone think that I can run a 3:07 marathon right now???...Yeah, I did not think so.

Ok, off to bed now so I can get up at 5am and take on the world (hm, I mean go to work) once again!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

5k prediction workout

I did a real running workout today! With a stop watch! On a track! Woo-hoo!

Real running is starting again. No more dillydallying around. Just the way I like it.

So the workout. I think that the reason for this 5k prediction workout being the first workout in like forever is to give us an idea where I stand so no guessing in the future workouts. (By the way, I think that it was pretty mean to make me do it without any "warning".)
I have decided to do it on a track for accuracy but I will try to do my workouts on trails.
3x1500 with 2min rest. I walked those 2min, didnt jogged. I need to ease into things:)
I felt horribly! My arms hurt. And it felt like I had zero coordination, like my legs were not connected to my brain. It is all that easy slogging I have been doing for the past 3 months. Legs were ok. Except for the last 150m, that was not very enjoyable.

Other than that it was an ok workout. It went better than I expected because I was not even sure whether I would be able to run 6min.

So what 5k time would that predict???

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2 in 1 (race reports)

So I did this little experiment - race a 10k running race at 8am, drive an hour, race a 58 mile bike race at 11:45am.
I should have just listened to my reason and my friend. We both knew that the bike race will suck because even if I run quite easily it will still impact my legs, and then 3h between events will just make it worse.

Let's start with the run. It was pretty good, I felt pretty good, strong. I did not really race, it was like a tempo run, I just went fast enough to win:) I did wear a watch but forgot to stop it so I do not have a precise time but it was around 43min. Pathetic, I know but what can I do?
I don't really know why I did the race since I had no goals, no expectations, no plan. I guess I just did it because the whole idea sounded totally batshitcrazy and I loved it.

Now the interesting part. The bike. So I knew that the combination of me training like a triathlete and not a bike racer (no peak power), 10k race in the morning (eventhough I ran pretty slowly it still had an impact) and racing in women cat 1/2/3 (those cat 1/2 women are f* beasts) would mean that I will suffer big time.
The race was two 28mile loops, around 30-40 women and I immediately knew that I am totally out of my place there. I had no idea what orange line rule meant, or why people started yelling on a girl when she started to pass. I did not understand what was going on around me so I decided to stay at the back of the peloton because I guess I was a danger to everyone.
Bike races are weird. Slow, fast, slow, fast, crashes (only one small one), yelling, f*bombs. So different than running. My friend Mad, who used to be a runner too and now switched to biking said "it's like you don't have control over the tempo, like you do with running. it is very difficult." Exactly!

So I pretty much wanted to drop out after the first 15 miles. (To be honest the only reason I did not drop out was that one of my male friends knew that I was doing the race and he told me that I was an idiot for doing both run and bike but he still said he would check how I did and he sent me a good luck text in the morning so I decided to finish that damn thing. Just because of him. I kid you not!) I was miserable. But then my quads have loosened up a little bit so it got better.  But it still sucked.

I was getting dropped every time someone attacked and then clawed my way back in. Every single time! There was a pretty big hill at the end of the loop and a lot of people got dropped there, including me. I knew it was too soon to be all alone so I stared working hard to catch the main pack again. I eventually did and actually most of us did because pro men were passing us and we were ordered to pull over and wait for them to pass (wth?). The a few miles later something happened again and a lot of us got dropped. Fortunately I managed to get together with 4 other women and we took short hard pulls to catch the main pack again. It took us around 10 miles to catch them but we did. Actually I got dropped from that group too towards the end but I again just went hard steady pace (like a good triathlete) and caught the main peloton. Phew. But then with 5miles to go I got dropped for good. It was into a headwind section and I was pretty much spend.
So I rolled in around 2min40sec after the main peloton. I was not last, which makes me happy, because during those first 15 miles I was 100% sure that unless I don't drop out I will finish last that stupid race.

Let me tell you, I did not enjoy it. As I said I had no idea what I was doing and I do not like those fast/slow/fast/slow "tricks". I does not make any sense to me. But I think that I can do much better (by much better I mean not get dropped every time someone attacks and not get dropped at the end) if I raced on fresher legs.
Therefore I hope that next year, these two races and not on the same day. Because I want to break a course record (it is 41:something, which asks to be broken) and I want to race this bike race fresh.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I feel like a runner again

It has been a while! But there is nothing exciting going on and nobody wants to hear me complaining about being at work 12+ a day, now would you?

So yeah, I feel like a runner again. At least today. I did my usual long run on a road and my legs hurt. Like runner's legs would hurt. Like my own legs used to hurt. Part of it just plain fatique caused by running, other part is cause by constant pounding on a hard surface for 10miles. So part of it is good, part of it not so good but it does not matter because I feel like a runner today and that's all that counts.
The last ~7min of the run were torture because my ankles hurt and my right hip and ITB were starting to get tight and my quads are trashed. I love it! Although I was seriously worried about my ITB. But all is good.
All the aches are normal because I have not run this far and on a road for 2 years so of course everything is going to hurt until I adjust. And I am getting there. 1h is no problem, 1h15min is allright but anything longer and my body still protests slightly. As of now I cannot really imagine running 13.1 miles on a road but I have 3.5 months to get used to it.

As far as other training goes it is going allright.
Biking is good. I am able to hold 240W average for 20' at the end of a decently paced 1h ride. So that's good.

Running is allright I guess. I run 3-4 times a week, all easy but 1x faster stuff. I do not wear watch for easy stuff because I have my routes and I know approximately how long they take me to run. I really do not care whether I run 58min or 63min instead of 60min. I am still in the run-whatever-just-keep-building-your-base mindset but I wear Garmin for faster stuff now because otherwise I would be slacking completely. I did a 25min tempo on Wednesday at 4:22 pace which was not that great but I did that 1h ride with 20min at 240W at the end plus 50min off the bike run Tuesday night so maybe that's why I ran that tempo so slowly. I am looking forward to doing some real timed workouts that actually feel like workouts instead of just faster stuff to keep me from becoming a one-gear runner because that's what intervals/tempos now feel like.

Swimming is a struggle as usual. One day I can swim 400s at 1:30 pace no problem, a few days later my fast pace for 200s is 1:35. I learnt to not let it bother me too much otherwise I would go crazy, and I live on faith that the race day will fall on "a good swim day". 

I might be racing next Saturday. 10k and/or a 56mile bike race. All depends on whether I receive my UCI licence on time or not. If I do I can race a 10k at 8am, then drive an hour and race a 56 miles at 11am and spend the rest of the day sleeping in my bed (well, on that mattress of mine. I still do not have a bed. I am still working on that). If I do not get the licence is either a 10k or 28 mile bike race in cat 4. And since racing in cat 4 is a huge waste of time in my opinion because honestly, riding a bike for 28 miles with other 5 women ( because that's what I anticipate in bike races in these parts) with no reward at the end does not make any sense to me. So I will probably do a 10k, which is totally scary and I have no idea what I can run for a 10k.

Ok, I am off to bed so I get up at 5am to go to work....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

FTP test

Just a quick post. It is 4am and it seems to be the only time of the day when I am free these days. Not that I get up at 4am to write blog posts but I had to call my bank in France and since I am up I am writing. Btw, you know that bank account that I was trying to close since July? I was in the bank, I called them, I sent them letters... They finally closed it at the end of January. It only took them 6 months! French....

So FTP test. 2x20min with 10min spin between.

240W, cad 78, HR 174
240W, cad 78, HR 178
weight ~140lb

Can we say a major improvement?
My very first FTP test in Oct 2011 was 236W for 1x20min at 150lb, HR 181, cad 85. I did one more test afterwards in Dec but that one was around 225W.
And the one I did this past Nov...I do not know what the hell it was but my average power was 206 and 195 so let's forget that one.

So basically now I am able to hold slightly higher power for TWO 20' segments than I was able for only one 20' before. And I am ~10 pounds lighter now. And my HR is lower now.
But cadence is lower two, maybe if I pedaled faster my power would have been slightly lower since I would have to be in easier gear I guess.

I went conservatively on the first one, meaning I did not try to kill myself in the last 5min because that would have definitely killed me before the second interval. (I was at 237W at 10')
Then I went pretty steady on the second one for the first half and started building it more aggressively in the last 5-7min with the all-out the last minute at my avg power ended up being the same as for the first interval (at 234W at 10').

I am not sure how exactly you are supposed to do this. Held back the first one so you do not die completely on the second one. Or go all out the first one and just hang on for the second one?
But I guess that I might have been little too conservative on the first one since it would make sense to produce lower power on the second one if first one is done hard too. Right? I do not know.

Ok, it is 4:30am so I guess I am going to try to sleep for an hour before I have to get up again to go to work.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ignorance (a gift and a curse)

My motivation to train is almost back. I do not have to kick myself out of the door before every single workout. I guess that I am tired thus also my motivation is down, right?

But that's not what I want to write about.
I love having a quantitative measure for all my hard workouts. I wear a stopwatch on track, look at power on a bike and pace clock is always on when I am in a pool.
Now I am in the running build phase and I do not feel like obsessing about my pace. I run all faster runs on trail now and I wore Garmin for some tempo runs and a longer intervals in the past but in the last month I just run tempos/intervals by feel mostly because I always forget to charge the Garmin, plus I hate it, plus I do not really want to know my pace.
You see, I know I am running slowly, I just know it! But I do not have a real proof other than how I feel so I am happy and I don't stress it.
Can I run faster? Yes. Do I want to run faster? I am not sure. And that's the problem. On one hand I want to run mile repeats in 6:20 because running them in 7:20 (I think it is a true story, I am 99% sure that I ran 4xmile at 7:20 pace two weeks ago) won't make me faster runner. But on the other hand it is February, my A-race is June 30 so it feels like too early to put all that you-must-run-fast pressure on myself. I feel I still have time for that. But I know that I am running too slowly when I am not wearing a watch to keep me accountable.
So I am trying to decide what to do. Keep this haphazardous but very freeing and fun running for another month or put my sh*t together and start real mindful running and try to hit my prescribed paces instead of pretending I am hitting them although I know I am not.

On a different note. That MAF running training I wanted to do went pretty much out the window after two weeks because I don't like wearing that stupid Garmin for my easy runs and thus I always "forget" to charge it. But it does not matter since I do my easy runs easy.

I did a 3h40m ride yesterday wearing my ski gloves, jacket and winter boots. I used to do that in Michigan all the time but I have become a real cyclist since then (aka brainwashed) and those do not do that so I was suffering either frostbite or back to back 3h trainer rides. But screw that. There is nothing wrong with biking in winter boots and wearing ski goggles instead of sunglasses.

Pool lifeguard gave me a swimsuit because it does not fit her. Nice!

I was thinking about racing a half-marathon before that half-ironman in June but I don't think I will do that. If my ITB can't handle 95min of road pounding I would rather find out during that HIM than in April and then don't be able to do that HIM. So my first real half-marathon race will be as part of half-ironman.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


This week has been and well, still is, such a pain in the a$$.
I guess it all started already last weekend because I was excessively bitchy about those two 3h trainer rides.
Then I couldn't go to my swim lesson on Tuesday morning because I had a meeting at work at 7:30am.
In the evening I quit my bike workout 4min into the first 5' interval because I just couldn't do it.
I was planning to try again on Wednesday but I did not get out of work until 9pm.
I woke up at around 2:30am and could not fall back to sleep. So I did a 2h trainer fun ride. At 3am...

My workout schedule is totally messed up, I didnt do some workouts, I did some extra ones. I am taking over work of two of my collegues who are leaving, on top of my work until they hire someone new, plus I dont know what I am doing half the time. Thus I spend 12h a day at work. I am writting this in my car because my attempt to take a powernap before I go swimming hasnt worked out. Guy I have crash on is getting married soon, so there go my hopes. What a f**** mess!

I am reseting starting tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Training update

Phew, this is so unlike me! I am still super busy at work and I do not expect it to calm down any time soon. Working life is not all sunshine:)

Some highlights from the past week:

Ok, this actually happened last Saturday already and I wanted to blog about it but I did not. I did another MAF run, this time I chose HR 160 and it seems that 160 is more reasonable than 155 because I ran 80min at 5:12 pace as opposed to 5:56 pace one weeks prior to that. And 5:12 is exactly in the middle of the range that PPC calculated for me. So 160 it is.

I went skiing on Sunday. Skiing in Midwest sucks. It was not as bad as skiing in Detroit area but I still would not call it skiing. I met one guy and we started skiing together after we met at the lift 4th time. I do not know what it is but I always seem to attract people who are twice my age. Seriously, ever since I was a kid I always ended up doing stuff with guys twice my age. And believe me I would rather be hit on by a 20 year old (or maybe 30 years old?) that being an adoptive daughter for a day. Those older guys do not try to hit on me or anything, they just "father" me. Oh well, I do not know what it is about me.

I did a 3h ride on a trainer yesterday. And I did another today. Let me tell you, the last 2h59min of today's ride sucked!:) Also Saturday was not very exciting but at least I had something to look forward to once I was done: it was 9pm, I had nothing else to do and I could go to sleep. Today I still had long run off the bike to tackle so nothing to look foward to really. Ok, I did 1h easy which was so-so, then some intervals/moderate pace for next hour and I liked those but when it was time for easy 1h at the end I was not happy. It was the plain stubborness what made me going. I was getting sick of staring at that little stem screw. Although the biggest part of it was that I was starting to get really uncomfortable because riding in aero on a trainer without using chamois cream starts sucking after several hours. Let's just say that it involved some blood and if I had a boyfriend he probably would not be the "luckiest" guy in the world.
Then I did 76min easy run and I felt surprisingly very good, legs were springy. I did not wear HRM or Garmin, I just went as I felt. I estimate 8:10-15 pace. I wanted to do 80min but at minute 76 I got a shooting pain going from my hip alongside my ITB to my knee so I stopped immediately and walked the remaining half a mile. It was not anything serious but I am not doing anything stupid that might cause me bang my head on a wall later.

My powermeter is either broken or hard gear intervals are magic because I am seeing some very good high numbers.

5x5min max intervals start again next week. Michelle asked me whether I was excited. NO!!!! I want to cry! Those intervals are one of the hardest workout I have ever done, of course I am not excited.

I made calzones today. They are yummy. But do not ask me what I put in them because I do not know. I and a coworker bought a produce basket and split it and I used some green vegetables from it to stuff those calzones. And I do not know what it was. I also used cabbage, mushroom and tuna. And I finally caved in and bought salt and pepper to put in them. They are sooooo good!

I am off to bed because I am super tired and my legs do not feel that springy anymore.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

11 months!!!

I have zero motivation to blog. I do not know why. Maybe because I am super busy at work and the last think I want to do in my spare time is to stare at my computer screen again, maybe because there is nothing exciting going on, just regular sbr.

Thus the bullet points.

I have had problems sleeping this past week. Well, not sleeping really but I woke up in the early morning and then could not fall back into sleep. Except Wednesday, Wednesday I slept until 7.
Being an early morning riser was not necessarily a bad thing this week though because I had to get up at 4am on Monday to fit a 2h ride before work and 5am yesterday to fit yet again a ride before work.

I had a pretty good tempo run yesterday. 25min at 4:17/km pace and it felt effortless. Ok, that pace should feel effortless but since this is early February and I am in a base phase and my other faster runs felt like crawling I think that it went rather well. Must have been those hard gear intervals I did at 5am that woke my legs up:)

I was able to run consistently for 11 months!!! Ever since my ITB started bothering me in Feb 2009 the longest I went without a major flare up was ~7 months (August 2010-February 2011), the rest was usually 2-3 months on, 1month off, "on" periods getting progressive shorter while "off" progressively longer culminating in 2 weeks on and 4 months off throughout 2011. So yeah, that's exciting and I have a feeling that I will be celebrating a one year running anniversary in a month because my ITB feels great.

I was thinking about going to watch XC nationals in St Louis today but I do not have motivation. Also don't have time if I want to fit in a swim and a run and a bike today, and weather is not good. I will rather go skiing tomorrow and don't want to drive to StL area twice. I know....skiing in mid-west....hopefully the hill is more than just a molehill. I will find out tomorrow.

Also my weight loss update. I was thinking about it but have not been doing anything about it. I still eat cheesecake for breakfast. But I weighted myself in mornings on Wed, Th and Fr (to have a bigger sample) and I consistently weighted 138-139 pounds. I was at 144-145 the last time I weighted myself which was in October I think. Some of those 6 pounds is probably because of loss of water (I weighted myself the first thing in the morning after sleeping for ~7 hours and not drinking anything) but some must be a fat loss, right? Since I have not changed my eating habbits (yet. More on that later) it was solely an increase in exercise that helped that. So now if I combine exercise with better eating I should be able to get to ~135 before June.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Going long at MAF

Today was my longest run since February 2011. 1hour 20minutes.

It was not the longest run distance wise (that happened last Sunday when I ran 14.5km in 1h10m) because I only covered 13km today.

That's because I have decided to give that MAF training a chance. I do not know what it stands for and am too lazy to look it up but basically you run at your MAF rate and it is supposed to help you become an aerobic machine. Apparently that's important if I want to become an endurance athlete.

I did not have a chance to try it until now because in the last two years I was either not running at all or running fast intervals. Those were the only two options that did not irritate my ITB. Now my ITB seems to be doing alright and I can do longer slow runs (although that's what I thought in February 2011 too and it let to my worst ITB problem so far) so MAF it is.

I chose it to be around 155 bpm and I am trying not to let my HR go over it too much.

I ran 1h yesterday and ended up running 5:58/km pace. (that's around 1min slower than my usual easy pace).
Today I ran 1h20m at 6:07 pace. I had to walk 4 or 5 times to get HR under 160 because I ran on a road and there are some hills, it is not as flat as the trail I ran on yesterday. Thus slower pace.

Some observations:
1h20m run would normally mean a 10-miler...
When I put the HRM on my HR was around 80, as I started tying my shoes it went to 90s.
When I stopped paying attention and stopped holding back my HR would immediatelly go up up up.
Then I slowed down it went to high 140s and it was hard to pick up the pace to get it to 155. It basically confirms what I already knew, it is hard for me to pick up a pace when I am settled into an easy pace. But it is more of a mental thing because if I did not think about it I would speed up unconsciously to my usual pace.
I can imagine how hard this might be if there are other runners around and people who you can normaly pass running backwards pass you. But since I seem to be the only runner in this town I do not have such a problem.
I know I sound like a broken record but I am worried about my ITB. Also in February 2011 there were no signs that something is wrong so I did a few long runs and then suddenly bam!.
I am not thrilled that I need to remember charging Garmin and running with it on these runs. I honestly hate that gadget. Do not know why but I hate it. I love running with a stopwatch though.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sample training week

Because I really enjoy reading about other people's training, what they do and how they do it I figured that it might be interesting to post a sample training week.

So here is what I did this past week.

1h30m aerobic ride - I might or might not have been slightly late to work because of this.
45m easy run on trail - Pheasant hunting season is over and trails are open again. Yes!!! Now I just need more daylight so I do not run in dark through woods. It is scary.
1h swim - a lot of 200s at different paces, nothing interesting about it

~45min swim lesson - I am "swim challenged" and need someone to look at me and tell me how to do it right. So far I do not know whether it is working or not.
1h ride w/ 10x1' max - this workout is harder than it appears but I can suck it up for 1 minute. My home trainer tire is dead. I got 3 flats in the last 2 weeks and when I took it down and examined I see the wires starting to stick out of it. I need to get a new one but I am going to wait until racing season starts and see whether I get lucky and get some tires for free.
+ yoga and some strengthening exercises

1h run w/ 4x2k at harder than tempo pace- I adjusted this to "harder than tempo pace" after I was not able to hold the pace I originally wanted to hold. Thus I consider this a minor fail but I ran it on some xc style trails and it was fun! These were some of the longest intervals I have ever done in training so doing something new was fun too. However I had only 50min before it got pitch dark thus I did the first intervals after only 10min warm up and it sucked. Yeah, yeah, I know. I am not 20 anymore and need a longer warm up. But it was interesting. For the first 2 intervals my legs would not respond when I wanted to speed up, they just went their steady stubborn pace. Then suddenly during the 3rd interval they woke up and I was able to run much faster.
1h swim with some 100s @ 1:30 - now this was a major fail because I was not able to hit my intervals at all. I called it quits a few intervals early and went to cry in a locker room. (Just kidding, I did not cry)

Not a real workout but still. I helped a friend to move furniture from her apartment to her car. I am sure her neighbors were thrilled with us since we did this at 6 in the morning. But there was no other way. Now I have 2 chairs in my apartment. She also gave me a lot of food so my fridge is full. I like that! Unfortunately no sweets though:(
1h20min ride with 8x4' hard efforts in hard gear - this type of workout (pushing big gear) hurts my ITB if I am not careful and careful means going easier than I am supposed to. But this ride was ok, I went hard and no ITB problem.

I wanted to go to the gym but instead of getting up before 6am I slept for 9 hours.
45m easy run on trails
1h "flog yourself swim" - I confused words "flog" and "flop" and I have thought the whole week that I had an easy swim on Friday. Then when I read the actual workout on Friday morning I got confused because that was not easy! But Michelle explained to me what the word "flog" means. Definitely not the same as "flop". So "flog yourself swim" with some 100s @ 1:30. I did it this time, but barely.
+ some core strengthening exercises

AM/PM (swim/bike brick)
1h20min swim - Now that I added that new expression (see above) to my vocabulary I think that this one should also be called "flog yourself swim" but instead it was only called "4000 aerobic". There were some 100s @ 1:30 again and again I did it. Barely. But I did it and did not want to cry like on Wednesday:)
3h bike ride - just regular aerobic. Weather cooperated (low 50s and sunny) so I was able to do it outside. Was chased by dogs only once (but by two dogs simultaneously). I drank and ate 800 calories during this ride and it was not as much fun as eating 2000 calories in chocolate... I rode by Rend Lake and they have a huge flashing board at the visitors center that read this yesterday: Outside temp 55, Water temp 33, Dress appropriately for water temperature!I do not think that there are actually people who go swimming now, that "warning" (or suggestion or whatever you call it) is there probably all year long.

AM/PM (bike/run brick)
1h30m ride w/ 30' time trail in the middle - I know. WTF? I could smell an influence of BatShitCrazierThanMichelle coach on her and this has confirmed it. No kids gloves. Just the way I like! But that TT sucked and so did I. I need to work on being comfortable being uncomfortable for extended periods of time. I can handle 5' of hurt but anything longer not so much. Thus need to work on that.
1h10min easy run - The longest run on a road since summer 2010. I was scared, but so far so good. I also wore Garmin and heart rate monitor (I know, unheard of me. I only wear Garmin for tempo runs outside track. I do not like wearing it on easy runs because I do not care how fast or how far I run. Over the last 4 years my priorities shifted from running 10 miles at 7:15 pace as an easy run to being able to run at all) to get some data. I ended up running 14.5k at 7:56 pace with average HR of 170. HR is too high, I need to start implementing the MAF method. My calves and quads also did not like running on road, they are spoiled. I was originally mad that I have to do this on a road (nobody forced me but I had to due to logistics) but as I was running I have realized that I need to do this. When I run on a trail it is pretty much pancake flat the whole time and this road is not, there are some hills that were killing me. I need to get used to running on terrain that is not flat. By the way, I was really hungry as I was running.
+ yoga and strengthening exercises.

So that was my week. Some of the workouts sucked, some were great. I wish all were great but will have to suck it up.
I am craving chocolate but I do not have any. I might walk to the store to get some but I cannot decide whether to do it or not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My newest bike gadget

I mean the lamp (in case you are not sure what I am talking about)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mile/3000m double RR

What a fun ( and interesting) experience!

Definitely an experience:)

Mile was first. I said that I would do whatever everyone around me does. If we go out at 5:10 pace I will be there. If we go out at 6:00 pace I will be there. Based on seeding times in my heat I expected that we will go out in 38sec/200m, then little under 3:30/1000m and then I will cruise the remaining 600 to 5:40ish mile. That would be a great workout!

What actually happened is this: We went out in 45sec. As the guy called out that split we all panicked and everyone (me including) made a mad dash to pass the girl who led us out at that pace. It was pretty hilarious. Although it did not work out since we all moved to the side to lane 2 and 3, so noone moved forward and the traffic jam continued. Lot of elbowing, spiking, slowing down and accelerating. That's what happens when you let 14 women "off the leash" on an indoor track for a fast and furious mile race:)Wow, I am not used to that. Then we went through 1000m in 3:36 and finished in 5:50. Hm, I guess that's what you get you are 7sec behind after only 200 meters:) It was still a good workout.

Just to further illustrate what a slow start can do to you: I went through 1000m in 3:30 and through the mile in 5:45 in 3000m race in December.

I also realized that it is very hard for me to pick up the pace after I start running. It was impossible to get down to 40s after that first 45. Blah.

Then I jogged for a few minutes (maybe 8), sneaked into a pool for a 10min flop and then I sat on my butt watching other events. Around 35min before 3k I jogged for 10min, did few stretches, 2 strides. My legs were definitely not as springy as usually.

3000m: Phew. It started ok, first 1000m in 3:41, then 3:58, and closed in 3:56 for 11:35. I did not know that one measly mile could take so much out of me. Interesting.

I wonder whether it would have been better if there was not ~2.5h break between the mile and 3k because I guess that my legs were more sore after 2.5h than they would have been after let's say an hour. I do not know. It feels that way.

So all in all it was a great fun again. Track races are so much fun. Way better than road racing. (Stop having such thoughts! Immediately! You are on a right track to become a road distance runner!) I am done with indoor track races for now. Maybe next year I will try to do some more 3000m specific workouts and race it again. And I will try to hit a certain time and not go just whatever depending on what people around me do.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pathetically slow

You know how I always mourn about not being fast enough although I won some races, and then you think what an undercomitting-to-feel-good-after-the-race a$$hole I am?  I just read an interview with Kennedy Kithuka (he won NCAA XC nationals in Louisville and looked great doing it) and he says “you know, I was not that good” about running 15:20 5k as a HS junior. Then he runs 13:43 around two years later (according to my calculations) and says “I knew I still was not that good”.  I think that most people would be ecstatic if they ran sub-14min 5k. Heck most people would be ecstatic if they ran sub-20min 5k. But I get why he thought he was slow.   

What you think about your performances is usually relative to what you want to achieve because you are looking at a bigger picture. When there are people who have never raced anything but small local races or maybe people who have never won a race and that’s their goal then this attitude  of ”I won this race yet I am so slow” might seem very …(I lack a word here, sorry).  

If I podium in a competitive state triathlon race, I can say that I am fast. But only compared to those people in a state. And being a state champion is not my ultimate goal, my goal is being a regional champ. And I know that being competitive in the region means that I need to be faster. So actually I am not fast, I am slow for what I want to achieve.  

Matters get more complicated when you have never raced a state or regional championship and you are just guessing “what it takes” to win the race. Then you rather overestimate how fast you need to be, because if your estimate is too low you are not going to train hard enough to win. So give yourself a cushion and overestimate. And since you overestimate you will inevitably end up complaining all the time about how truly pathetic your speed/pace/watts are.
Let’s pretend I want to qualify to Rio as a “new flag” competitor. Holding 270W for five 5min intervals won’t freaking cut it, now would it? Or let’s pretend I want to qualify to Vegas and I “estimate” that I need to be able to run sub-1:30 off a bike in 90 degree weather.  Running a 19min stand-alone 5k won’t cut it, now would it? 

Makes sense?

On a different note, I am doing that mile/3000 double tomorrow. I do not even remember when I did a double last time. Must have been a looong time ago. I am sure I did more of them but I remember only one. Vividly. I was maybe 10-11 and it was 300/600 double at the regions. I raced 300 to warm up for that 600 where I was supposed to rip it to get a shiny new PR of something around 1:45. I ran 300 and remember that I totally lost my form in the last 100m because it was so hard. Then they put me into the 2nd heat in 600 and we went really slowly. I won that heat in final 50m in 2min flat. My coach was disappointed that they put me into the second heat and that I did not run faster. I was just happy that I won my heat:) So that was one double I remember. It looks like that badly executed race is still haunting me since I still remember it. Ha. I also remember that I threw up right before 600. I think that I just put so much pressure on myself. So after I threw up for this first time I kept throwing up before every single race for the next year or two. How weird is that? My mom said I was nuts and could not understand how could I care so much for something as stupid as running. And then as suddenly as I threw up that first time, I did not throw up one time and my throwing up streak was over.
Back to tomorrow. I have a strategy in my mind, but since it is just racing for fun/experience I will probably just do what everyone around me does. If we go out in 5:10 pace I will be there. If we go out in 6min pace, I will be there. Let’s hope I do not throw up.