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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How is it going?

I bought a TV (I do not believe that every hour of TVwatched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer's life expectancy by 21.8minutes. One study in England claims so). As we were sitting on my sister’s couchover holidays and squinting (is that a word?) our eyes to be able to seesomething on her 19” TV I told her that if she wanted a bigger one I will buythis one from her. (At the time I did not know that she paid for this one withmy parent’s credit card and the little businessman is making profit on thisdeal). So I bought it and got Roku and now I do not need to watch Netflix movieson my 12" netbook screen. But I didn't really cared about it, I was more concerned with that thing crashing anytime soon because it already did once and I don't have a computer.
How awesome would that be if TdF or Giro started inWashington? They will probably never pull it off though.

Anyone knows how to file a claim for tax refund in Germanyand Slovakia? I can do the US one myself. Oh, joys of filling tax returns…

One wardrobe purchase I committed to yesterday got methinking about what the most expensive piece of clothing I owe is. And it isLouis Garneau tri shorts for around $90. Although it is a lot of money forshorts and I would prefer spending it on cake food I LOVE those shorts.Seriously. I can do 3+ h trainer ride in aero in those shorts and I have noproblem what so ever. They are so comfy, and I do not use any anti-chafe cream andthey are still so comfy.

My bank account in France is still not closed! It has been 6months since the date I went there and asked them to close it. I already yelledat them over phone and sent them a nasty letter but nothing helped. Thoseinefficient French. If anyone plans on going to Paris area in a near future letme know, I will ask you to go to my bank and yell at them for me.

I have figured out how to get rid of those dreams involvingpolar bears. No, not by turning on heating. I am using my 0F sleeping bag. Socozy.

Bring on NHL!

I am 99% sure that I will do Wiesbaden 70.3 in summer 2014.I would like to visit my fam in Europe and I have unfinished business with Germanbeer glasses.

I need to start staring at the wall in front of me when I amon a trainer instead of staring at my handlebars stem. I think that it isimportant because I must look in front of me when I am biking outside and I donot want to get used to staring down.

I wish it was June 30th already! That’s whenBuffalo Springs 70.3 is happening.

So I won that $25 certificate to a running store in Tulsaand told my sister to go buy something for herself. She responded that no thankyou unless they have “couch potatoe” car stickers. She knows her flaws.

It is interestingly irrational how I am (relatively) ok withspending $700 on a set of wheels and at the same time I am always reluctant tospend $50 on a massage therapist. It is probably because I can see the wheelsbut I cannot see … (you see, there is nothing to see for those $50, exceptbruises of course). Also because I, likethe rest of us, hope that equipment will make me so much faster whereas massagedoes not really have a “tangible” effect. But I am constantly reminding myself notto be an idiot because if I do not pay for the massage I will not even be ableto use the bike and wheels. (That being said I just called my PT and set up anappointment for tomorrow)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pains this weekend

“Mixed” feelings about this weekend. I had a great bike ride but at the same time it sucked. I had a horrible run but at the same time it was awesome.

Starting with the bike ride. Aerobic 2h20min on a trainer. I was keeping my HR at 150 the whole time and was just checking what my average power for that HR. I was doing rides like this one every weekend in fall/winter 2011 (when I was training for that Ironman in 2012 that I never did) to help me developed some aerobic capacity and stop being such a hummingbird. What I wanted to see was HR 150, power 170+. I was somehow improving because when I started I think my power for HR 150 was like 140watts. By the end of the year it was around 150 watts. So not that great. And yesterday I was constantly at 174W for almost 2hours! How great is that? No idea what led to this improvement. And it was not a fluke because I did a similar ride a couple weeks ago and I too was at 170+W but back then I thought it was a fluke. I guess that the improvement came from my rides in spring/summer. I did not ride much but when I did it was almost always aerobic long rides (you know, those with my German buddy when I was on that stupid Walmart bike sucking air trying to stay with him and he complaining about how slow we were going and bugging me about not having a husband.) And then when I started really training again and doing a lot of big gear and max 5’ intervals it all came together and voila, I push 170w at HR150. Sweet.

So that’s a good part. Bad part is that I had this excruciating pain in my upper inner thighs (I cannot describe the location of the pain any better), both of them and it is muscular pain. I never had it in 2011, the in January 2012 I had it maybe 2-3 times when I was pushing 1.5h in aero into the headwind. And now I occasionally have it during cool-down but never had it during intervals of any kind. And it is really not bad. But Saturday was bad. It started around 50min in and it was getting worse and worse. If I sit up for even a second it would immediately go away but after 2-3min in aero it came back. Then I decided to push through it. The pain was accumulating and accumulating to the point that it hurt really badly (I mean really badly, like biting my lips and wanted to scream badly) and then it released and I was fine. But when I shifted in the saddle or sit up for a second, within 10sec I get to aero again pain started to accumulate and accumulated for around 20sec, reached its peak and then I was fine again for as long as I did not shift my position. It was kind of like contractions (at least what I imagine them to be). And it was pretty bad. After I got off the bike it hurt a lot, so I stretched it a little bit and I went running. I felt it for like 50m and then it did not bother me at all on my run (easy 45min at 7:45ish pace in case you are wondering). Then today when I went swimming it was really sore and hurt when I did flip turns (when I bend the knees to my chest and then pushed of the wall. So basically the same position as when I was in aerobar). 

Does anyone know what the heck is it? I am doing an easy ride today again and I shall see how that goes.

Then I made yummy although undercooked chilli and ate 1.5 bowls of it until I remembered that raw beans can be poisonous to you. I consulted google whether it is true or not and then decided not to cook it for little bit longer. But the damage was done. I woke up on Sunday not feeling stellar and my stomach making funny noices, and I spent the morning trying to decide whether I should wait until I throw up or whether I should induce it myself. I did not throw up and started to feel better around noon so I went running. But 15min in I again got nauseous and contemplated sticking my fingers into my throat to finally get over it. But I did not do it and decided to let my stomach deal with it. So I cut my long run short and called it quits after around 55min. Now I know how those poor souls in Ironman must feel when they have GI issues. And they have to run a marathon. Blah. I am never doing Ironman because it must suck. 

So that’s a bad part. Good part is that a lifeguard at the pool told me about a lake just outside the town where one can go running on grass. It is not perfect because it is not a path per say (and I think that she is the only one that runs there) but it is not so rough that I will sprain my glass-like ankles either. I am so glad she told me about it and now I can do some of my runs there instead of on road!

So here you have it. Main lesson learnt: do not eat uncooked beans. And when you start feeling better do not eat trail mix because nuts seem to be hard to digest and it will not make you any good.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Swim test #3

Another swim test today. This was the third one in two months. In scy pool.
50: 43" Basically the same as before. (43, 42, 43)
200: 2:43 Also the same as before.
(2:47, 2:43, 2:43)
1000: 14:57 It's a PR!!! My previous fastest 1000 was 15:05ish from winter 2011. And today was much better than past tests, plus I felt great swimming that 1000 today.
(15:50, 16:07, 14:57)

My weekly swim lessons and swimming thousands of yards with paddles each week seems to be finally paying off:)

5' bike intervals #4

Here is how it went for all 4 tries:
Average power, cadence, HR
Jan 3
257, 87, 173
243, 85, 173
232, 84, 168
228, 86, 165 I started shutting it down here.
220, 86, 162 This was a complete melt down.
Dec 18
261, 85, 170 I had the instructions to stay at 260 for the first one
270, 86, 176
271, 87, 178
269, 87, 179
269, 86, 178
Dec  12 (epic fail)
252, 84, 165
246, 83, 167
240, 83, 168
236, 84, 169
231, 84, 167
Dec 6 (had only 4x5’)
261, 85, 164
257, 84, 166
261, 92, 172
260, 85, 173
So clearly another epic fail today. It was even worse than 3 weeks ago...
Here is what I think is going on. I went to gym on Dec 10 and was still sore and not recovered when I did the workout on Dec 12. I did 15x30sec bursts at ~260 yesterday and it must have trashed me.
I do not know whether everybody has the same problem or it is just me not being in good enough bike shape. It is probably just me, I guess that I do not have enough aerobic fitness to be able to do harder workouts day in and out.

I do not have anything else to say about it. I am done with these workouts for some time but will do them again in a few weeks so then we will have a larger "sample" to investigate the patterns.

How has having another bad workout affected me? Well, I have had more bad workouts in the last 3 months than I have had in the last 3 years. And I was able to come up with a reasonable explanation for all of them. I do not know whether those are really explanations or just excuses, but I am going with explanations. Actually, it is just one explanation: I am in a bad biking shape, thus have horrible run workouts and horrible bike workouts. Anyway, I thought for a few minutes that I am really the most arrogant person ever saying that I want to qualify to Vegas while not being able to have decent bike workouts. But then I started thinking that I do not even know what it takes to qualify to Vegas and maybe my workouts are ok and that I should still hope in qualifying. Ok, I do realize that my logic is slightly flawed. I do not know what it takes to qualify but I still want to qualify and I am using that ignorance to my advantage convincing myself that maybe I am fast enough to qualify. I really need to try to find out "what it takes" (whatever than means) because I would rather be prepared for a failure in advance than being surprised by an unpleasant awakening on a qualifying race day that I do not have "what it takes". If someone know "what it takes" let me know! So basically I am not affected by it at all because I am able to talk myself into believing that my pathetic workouts are either still good enough (because they are bad by my standards but not by general standards) or if they are not good enough then it is still not a problem because those pathetic workouts were just a bad day/tired legs or I will just get better with practice.
And therefore my life is all roses and sunshine because I am pretty much always able to talk myself into seeing the bright side and look into better future. Lucky me, right?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fun is over, start working on those 2013 goals

This is my first time going back to work after vacation. It sucks (but you know this already, don't you). But it sucks less than going back to school after vacation.

I had a great holiday week:

I ate way too much food (receipes we had from our mom and grandmom were for 4+ people and two of us still ate it all),
I biked in sub-20 degrees weather (ok, not that enjoyable but I still have all my ties and fingets so it counts as a success),
I wore a wedding dress (don't worry, still single. Or worry because I am still single? You decide. My sister is apparently worried, she gave me a month subscription to me up),
I ran a midnight race (and did not roll an ankle or ran into a tree),
I ate out more that week than I did in past two years combined,
I let a real live dog sleep in my lap (and did not even wear a bodyarmour for protection).

Now life goes back to normal. Work,eat, sleep, train. I just informed super awesome coach Michelle that I want to qualify for the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas. She is in and we have a lot of work to do.

Race into the new year (5k RR)

Yes, it is 1:28am but I am all hyper now and cannot sleep.

Ist'n it great to be able to combine your last race of the old year and the first race of the new year?

The race was totally unplanned and it was all my sistet's fault, she told me last week that I should do a New Years Eve race. She soon regretted that she suggested it:)

I did not have great expectations because racing at midnight, after one week of face stuffing is just not real racing. Plus they had champagne at the "water" stations and fireworks as we ran that staryed at exactly midnight. So not a PR race:)

It was one of those fun races that I do not like doing. Thus I was still hoping to run under 20min but since I did not wear a watch and I totally zoned out and enjoyed the fireworks when they started I ran 20:20 or something like that. I felt great the whole time, nicely controlled. I "powered" through that run with my hip flexors/glutes, which is exactly what I need to do to keep my ITB in check.

I have never ran at midnight. And I love trying new things. So it was fun!

And I was the third woman and won awesome New Years party hat and $25. So my sister is somehow satisfied:)

Ok, I am going to bed now. I tried to take nap this afternoon but I could not fall asleep so I am a zombie now. I am going to sleep till noon tomorrow. I mean today.