Sunday, June 9, 2013

10 Things I Learned Today

1. A thirteen mile run is long. Even if you are in good shape (which I am currently not), those last few miles tend to not be so fun. Embrace the suck.

2. Hot peanut butter gu is nauseating. Or delicious. Honestly, I'm not sure.

3. If you go to the pool right after running, you will quickly learn everywhere you have chafing.

4. If you drink a ton of water on the way from your run to the pool, you will have to stop your swim multiple times to go to the bathroom. I guess this isn't as much an issue if you are open water swimming.

5. You might be able to fake bike fitness, possibly even run fitness. But swimming fitness is all honesty. And if you haven't been visiting the pool, it will sure give you a slap in the face when you do. I'll call today's swim workout "Water Re-acclimation" because that sounds nicer than "Resembled 3 yr olds First Swim Lesson." Lots of work to be done...

6. If standing on one leg to get your swim suit on hurts like whoa, you probably have something wrong with your SI joint.

7. Geese are fearless. They will let you get within inches of them.

8. If sweat is dripping in your eyes, and you squint, you might be ok. By try completely closing your eyes for a second, and you'll run right off the path.

9. The Forever Yogurt froyo truck at my turn around point is a very mean trick.

10. The bike shop unfortunately has other customers. They are unable to drop everything and just help you. Darn.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

60 miles down and 3 months to go!

"The one thing all famous authors, world class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things."  - Mike Dooley 

Today is 3 months from Ironman Wisconsin. In other words, it is time to get serious! I wonder why I'm so much more laid back than I've ever been in training. When I trained for my first Olympic Tri, my first marathon, my first half ironman, I followed the training plan to the letter. I looked down on anyone who talked of routinely skipping workouts. How would that get you anywhere? And now I am the queen of skipping workouts. Maybe its perspective from this year, all the challenges, that this is just a game. And being a game, yes, you sometimes have to get it done when you really would rather sleep, eat, do anything else, but I am not at the level where I will make myself repeatedly do something that is not bringing me joy. Looking back, I'd have to say that it wasn't bringing me joy from about January to May. I was in a bad place and very little was bringing me joy. Maybe I would've been better off if I had just pushed through, but I can't change that now. I am where I am. 20 lbs heavier than planned and slower than ever. But I have three months, and I have the fire again, and I know I can do this.
This morning I went for a 60 mile ride. It wasn't as fast as I would've liked, but it was wonderful. I went up Sheridan Road, up into the north burbs up to Great Lakes, IL. Beautiful scenery and a beautiful morning. I found the joy. That doesn't mean my butt wasn't hurting and I had moments of just being tired and a long stretch of really having to pee when there were no bathrooms around, but overall, it was just so enjoyable. Of course, I was suppose to swim this afternoon, but the constraints of life just aren't going to have that. I have a swim date with a friend tomorrow, so that will have to suffice. I did spend a lot of time today (yes, I probably could've swum during that time) watching youtube videos of IM Wisconsin and getting psyched up again.

So here is to the next three months, getting stronger mentally and physically. I know there will be days where I don't want to put in the time, but I hope to now be in a place where I can will myself to do it. That doesn't mean pushing through when my body is truly telling me otherwise, or prioritizing training over other more important things in life (yes, they exist), but just making sure I keep kindling the fire so on September 8, I'm ready to go!

If anyone else needs motivation:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Udderly Disappointing Day

That might be an exaggeration, but I couldn't help but use the pun! Last Sunday I did the Udder Century out in Union, IL.  There were multiple distance but I was planning on doing the 75 (or really 78) mile route.  That would be the longest I'd ever ridden in a single stretch by a few miles, and I thought I'd get a good confidence boost. Silly me.
The wind sucked. Yes, I'm a baby about wind and hills, and really prefer riding completely flat routes with not a lick of wind. And the weather hadn't really said to prepare to die from pedaling into the wind either, so mentally I wasn't ready. I don't think it was greater than 14 mph or so, but it just sapped me. Thankfully I heard other riders talking about it, so I know it wasn't just me. You would be riding into the wind just hoping for a turn in the route soon, and then you'd finally get one to find out that cross wind isn't much better than head wind. I just kept telling myself that eventually there would be a tailwind and all would be right with the world again.
So wind was factor one in making it a bad day. Tired legs was #2. I'd done my 12 mile run the day before, and was definitely feeling it. Absolutely no umph in my legs. Reason #3 was my bike computer decided to not work. I've had a Garmin 500 with a speed/cadence sensor for a month or so now and haven't had any issues, but that day it decided to start crapping out on me. It seemed to be any time I could pick up speed, I'd watch my mph climb and then it would start reading 0. That also meant the odometer wasn't reading, so I was doing a long ride with little knowledge of where I was progress-wise.
Around mile 10 I started toying with the idea of doing a shorter distance. At mile 25 I was 90% sure I'd cut out at 62, and at mile 42 I knew I couldn't do another 35 and not want to run myself over with my bike. This is suppose to be fun right? So I called it a day at 62.4. It's funny, riding that long should still be a huge accomplishment, but I'm bummed. I'm bummed that it didn't go according to plan, that I couldn't easily crank out 78 miles like a rockstar. I'm bummed that my mental training isn't on track to where I could not let the wind get the best of me. I'm bummed that even in my shorter ride, I average 14.8 mph. 14.8. What has happened to my speed?? I know I'm out of shape but that was a smack in the face. I tried to tell myself that I will race faster, but last year I was training at 17 mph, even on longer rides. It was upsetting to say the least, especially when the slow speed still was mad hard and I didn't go the full distance.
I need to move on from this. I really know I made the right call in cutting the distance, but I wish I could at least have the victory of mental toughness and pushing through. I always think it is those memories, those tough training days I overcame that I can look back on during the race and be inspired. But my Monday run was already hell, so I can only imagine what it would have felt like if I had pushed myself. I need to learn to trust my body. I think I am still thinking if I can overachieve, I will make up for the months of sub-par (and that is being generous) training. Maybe I'll get some vindication this weekend...

Eww, another blog.

That is generally my reaction when someone mentions they are starting a blog. I've always found blogs to be quite narcissistic- why would I have anything so important other people would want to read about it? Seemed like the ultimate egocentric thing- a place you can write about you (or whatever else) and expect others to care.  Then I started Ironman training. I started to search for blogs of other first timers to compare trainings, and see if what I was doing and feeling (physically and emotionally) was on track. I found reading training blogs to be quite motivating and helpful, so I would love for this to be helpful to someone else. Also, I've found myself wishing I could remember what I was feeling training for my first half ironman (or first 5k even!), so this will be a nice record.

I am in the midst of training for my first Ironman- Ironman Wisconsin on September 8. It seems my "IronWill" comes and goes (most recently it went last Sunday when I bailed on my 78 mile ride in favor of the 62 mile variety, but more on that in another post). My larger mission is my Iron Gut- raising money and awareness for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (more on that later but please hop on over and make a donation- 

So where am I at? I had a plan. About a year ago I was in my all time peak fitness. And then like any plan, it doesn't go according to plan. I've had a rather stressful year, and had difficulty fitting training in. A few missed sessions to end my streak of consistent training, and I found my motivation slipping away. Suddenly I was missing whole weeks at a time. I've looked back on my training records and this was the first time that I was ever so inconsistent. I was stress eating and not working out, which translated to packing on the pounds. Then I was out of shape and heavy, which does not lend itself to motivation when you go for an "easy" run, feel like dying, and run about 1 min/mi (or more) slower than you use to. And then to add to things, I've had some awful shin spints/tendonitis/possible stress fracture. Things have not been going according to plan...

My original goal for IM Wisconsin was sub 13 hrs, but really shooting for sub-12 hrs. I'd heard you can take your HIM time, multiply by 2 and add an hour to get a vague idea. My HIM time is 5:33, so I think I originally had a shot at 12 hrs. Now I am really just focused on getting back in my groove and finishing. I think sub-14 is doable, but we'll have to see. I am aware a first Ironman is a total learning experience, so maybe it is good that I have set my bar low and will be undertrained. I will definitely learn a ton to take on the the next one!